Ten Tips For People Who Get Nervous At Job Interviews
Via Forbes : Ten Tips For People Who Get Nervous At Job Interviews
Virtually everyone gets nervous at a job interview sometimes.
A job interview is an artificial situation. Everything in it is artificial. In real life, we don’t laugh heartily at other people’s lame jokes. We don’t act deferential to strangers in real life, either.
In a job interview, you walk into a strange building to meet strange people and try to make sense of their situation.
That’s a lot to ask of a job-seeker! You have to answer questions and make a good impression while at the same time, trying to collect enough information to decide whether you want the job or not.
A job interview requires you to wear a costume, play a character who’s kind of like you but also different, and to wear a costume. It’s a theatrical experience. You have to be “on,” and that’s stressful. Of course you get nervous!
Even seasoned performers experience stage fright.
Here are ten ways to calm your nerves before and during a job interview — but first, here’s a word of caution.
Be sure you don’t react to interview jitters by criticizing yourself for being nervous.
Sometimes we get nervous and start beating up on ourselves, saying “What’s wrong with you? Why do you get so nervous! Chill out! It’s only a job interview!”
Ease up on the self-criticism. It can’t help you. It will only make the situation worse.
Imagine that your job-interview jitters are a physical object — specifically, a beach ball.
When you take a beach ball out into the surf and try to squash it under the water, it bounces back twice as hard as you push it down. The more you try to squash down the beach ball, the harder it bounces back and hits you in the face.
Your best bet is to stop trying to squash down your nerves, and get used to them instead. Just let the beach ball bob on the water near you. Let your jitters be. They can’t hurt you unless you fight them.
Tell yourself “You might be a little nervous walking into this job interview, and that’s fine. The interviewers expect that. It would be bad if you were so casual and unconcerned that you didn’t feel any jitters at all.”
Here are ten tips to ease your job interview discomfort:
1. Over-prepare for the interview
Read, read, read and read some more in the days before your interview. Read the company’s website and read what bloggers have to say about the organization and its plans and challenges. Don’t be freaked out if you encounter unfamiliar terms and jargon — business people love their jargon! Look up the unfamiliar terms and soon you will feel more comfortable.
Prepare a list of questions you plan to ask the interviewer — questions about the role, the company, the work schedule and anything else you want to learn more about.
2. Lay out your supplies and clothes the night before
You’re going to bring a leather or vegan leather portfolio with a full notepad in it, a good pen and a few of your paper resumes to the interview. On the pad, you will have pre-written the questions you plan to ask. Tucked inside the portfolio will also be a map to the location (what if your phone gives out?), your contact person’s name and phone number and a few of your personal business cards.
Lay out these materials plus your interview outfit (sharp-looking formal business or business-casual attire depending on the company) the night before.
Do everything you can the night before. If you’re planning to trim your beard, shave your legs or deep-condition your hair before the interview, do it the night before.
Take away as much stress as you can!
3. Get your plan in order
Sit down and plan out the interview logistics as carefully as you would plan an expedition to the South Pole. As every traveler knows, your careful planning will massively reduce your stress level on the day of the trip!
Make a timeline from the minute you wake up in the morning through your post-interview celebration back at home. Overestimate travel time. Make a to-do list for the interview day including minute items like “Turn off my phone when I get to the interview facility.” Plan every detail in advance — you’ll be grateful you did!
4. Take a test drive
Drive to the interview location a day or two before or take the bus or train there to make sure you know where it is and how long it takes to get there. If you’re driving, know where you will park. Don’t leave anything to chance — it’s last-minute hassles that can make job interviewing so stressful!
5. Get there early to settle in
Get to the interview facility fifteen to twenty minutes early to look around and make sure you are in the right place. There’s nothing as discouraging for a job-seeker as to walk into a building on time for their interview only to hear the reception person say “You’re supposed to be at our other building, five miles away.”
Don’t take that chance!
If you arrive really early you can tell the receptionist “I’m here for a two p.m. interview but I’m very early. I don’t want to bother Alyssa Smith so far ahead of the hour. If you like, I’ll remind you when it’s closer to two p.m. so you can contact Alyssa then.”
Arriving early will give you time and space to notice the employees, vendors and/or customers in the lobby. Notice how they interact with one another. Is this company a happy, sunny place or a fearful, dark place? It matters!
6. Focus on observation
A great way to ease your interview jitters is to notice as many details as you can during the interview. Notice the landscaping, the construction of the building and the ornamental details in the elevator. Make a mental note of everything you see, hear and experience.
Notice how the reception person greets you and how the interviewer starts your conversation.
Focusing on observation will help you tune out and muffle the self-destructive voice that may be telling you to stand up straight, give smarter answers to the interviewer’s questions and stop crossing and uncrossing your legs.
The more closely you pay attention to the things going on around you, the less time and energy you’ll have left over to get down on yourself.
7. Get winded
If you feel adrenaline shooting through your veins as you step into a building for a job interview — and if you have still have a few moments of time to spare — step outside again and get physical.
Walk quickly around the block two times, or quickly descend the staircase to the subway and quickly come back up.
Your goal is to wind yourself, to take your focus out of your mind and into your body. This does wonders for your nerves, but you really have to get active — right on the edge of getting sweaty.
8. Take notes
Your notepad is great for taking notes, and lots of people find that note-taking is great for their interview nerves, too. You can jot down questions that occur to you as the interviewer is speaking (or even as you are speaking) and take note of other thoughts and observations you make while the interview is going on.
Some of the notes won’t make any sense to you when you re-read them tonight at home, but that’s okay.
Note-taking has a purpose apart from jogging your memory later on. It helps you stay focused on the conversation rather than getting outside yourself and judging your “performance.”
9. Stay in your body
Every performer knows how it kills their authenticity to float around the room evaluating their own performance when they should be firmly in their bodies, living in the moment.
It is tempting to leave the interview room in your mind and carry on a silent conversation with yourself, like this:
You, speaking aloud: So, that’s how I got to Angry Chocolates. It’s been a great job, but it’s time for me to move on.
Critical Voice in Your Brain, silently: Did you just say “It’s time for me to move on.”? You sound like a character from a bad western! Look at Sally, the interviewer. She’s totally thinking “What a dork this candidate is!” You sound like an idiot. You’re not getting this job.
You, silently: I knew you were going to say that. Sally and I are having a great conversation. She doesn’t care what you think, and neither do I.
You, speaking aloud: What’s that, Sally? I know exactly what you mean. Sometimes you can just tell that you need a bigger challenge. That’s what happened to you, too? I’d love to hear the story!
End of Script
10. Don’t be afraid to laugh at yourself
Athletes go the Olympics to compete and they say “It’s a huge thing, it’s incredible to compete at the Olympics. I’m so excited to be here, but it’s also just one day in my life. I was having a great life before I got to the Olympics.”
No job interview is the Olympics. The truth is that only the people who can see past your jitters deserve to be your future colleagues. Your trusty gut knows it’s true. Whatever happens at the interview was supposed to happen just the way it did.
You can laugh if something amusing happens. You can laugh at yourself. You can let down your guard, and I hope you will. A job interview is an artificial situation, but your power comes through most strongly when the amazing, brilliant, real you shines forth.
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