|Are you biting your nails before job interviews?|
With so much at stake, it’s no wonder that many job candidates get nervous before job interviews. Although some anxiety is good because it can help you be alert, too much fretting and worry can hurt your appearance and presentation.
Here are 10 ways to soothe job interview stress:
- Make time to plan and prepare. Nothing can make you feel more at ease than good preparation before a job interview. Whether your job interview is tomorrow morning or two weeks away, take the time to get ready. Set aside an hour or two to plan your clothing, gather your materials, research the organization, write down questions, rehearse interview answers, and do other preparation as detailed in the rest of this post.
- Do research. Learn as much about the organization as you can. Look at its website, products, marketing, news articles, annual reports, blog, and social media. Also learn about your interviewer or interviewers via LinkedIn, blogs, and the organization’s website. The worst question to ask in a job interview is “What do you do here?” Have good knowledge about the organization so you can ask informed questions about its future and explain how you fit in and can help.
- Look good. Dress up for the job interview, even if you won’t need to dress as well on the job itself. Steer toward practical, clean, and conservative clothes, jewelry, accessories, and grooming. Most employers are traditional, so you won’t go wrong with a traditional appearance at the job interview. For creative jobs and employers, you may be able to show artistry and individuality with a bit of color or one bright, attractive accessory, but avoid overdoing it.
- Rehearse your answers to common and odd job interview questions. Why do you want to leave your current job? Why do you want to work here? Tell us about a time when you faced a work dilemma and how you handled it. If you could be any animal, what would it be? What are your favorite books and movies? What are your salary requirements? What is your long-term career plan? Be prepared for any and all questions, from serious to wacky. Chances are good that you will be thrown a question curve. For such questions, try to understand what the interviewer is really asking and mention your key job skills or strong personal traits in your answer.
- Take the right tools. I have interviewed people who came to interviews empty-handed or juggling a phone, a big cup of coffee, keys, shopping bags, and even kids. Instead, bring a notebook, pens, extra resumes, a list of references, portfolio items if appropriate, and questions you want to ask. Put everything in a folder or professional-looking bag to keep your hands as free as possible to open doors and shake hands.
- Write down questions to ask. Be prepared to ask about your potential job, daily tasks, challenges, what the employer is looking for, and how you can most help. Not asking questions has always seemed lazy to me. Show you are engaged and interested enough to ask questions.
- List the points you want to make. You want to stand out in job interviews, so be sure to emphasize the key experience, background, education, and skills that make you right for the job. Jot them down so you will remember to stress these points to interviewers. If you fear getting tongue-tied in the interview, this list will be especially helpful.
- Arrive early. Plan to arrive early for the job interview. Know exactly where you need to go, including the building and office number. Allow time for traffic, parking, public transportation problems, building security, weather issues, slow elevators, and a restroom stop. It is not good to call a potential employer and say you are running late, because organizations want workers who show up on time. Being late is a sure way to increase your jitters.
- Try to relax.Take deep breaths, walk around the block, reassure yourself that you are prepared. Do whatever it takes to calm down your racing heart and enter the interview as a confident, self-assured professional.
- Smile and be friendly. Although you may be feeling nervous and want to withdraw, remember to smile, say hello to everyone, shake hands, and engage in small talk. Turn off your phone and put it away. You want to create a good first impression, and such actions go a long way in making you look like a potential fit.
Anything can happen in job interviews, but with preparation and planning, you can tamp down much of the nervousness and anxiety that can hinder your success.