You can feel the butterflies in your stomach, your mind is racing a mile a minute, you’ve read your resume 15 times over…does this sound familiar?
We all get interview nerves. In some ways they are good, they keep us prepared and focused. But, it’s when we allow those nerves to overwhelm us, that we can end up self-sabotaging the interview.
Inevitably you’re going to be nervous, you’re trying to sell yourself to an organization and sum up years of hard work and experience into 30 minutes. So while there is no magic switch we can flip to be entirely confident and relaxed...there are a few ways that we can reduce our anxiety and center ourselves for the big day!
Here are 4 tips to get you prepared to nail your interview:
Tip 1: Research
One of the biggest mistakes candidates make that will reduce their chances of getting hired tremendously, is not researching the company they’re interviewing for. This does not mean glancing at the job description. This means that you take the time to research the company and it’s industry.
Yes, you should also understand every job requirement, duty, and qualification listed in the job description. But, it’s also important to learn what the organization stands for. You should identify the company values, goals, and mission statement so that you can speak on how your goals and values align with the company.
While you should know as much as you can about the organization itself, it is incredibly important to understand the industry the organization is in. Research the current market, potential or current competitors, practices that competitors are adopting. Familiarize yourself with the lingo of the industry so that you will easily follow along in the interview. While you research you may discover questions or ideas that you might not have thought about before.
During the interview, make sure to bring up the parts of your research that interests you or projects that you would like to be involved in. You can even go the extra mile and politely suggest how the organization can expand or improve their current practices. This gives you the opportunity to bring up your skills and experience that would help them achieve your suggestion.
By taking the time to fully research, you will easily stand out in an interview. You will be able to have a discussion and talk in detail about aspects of the business that you would need to know as opposed to vaguely answering questions. This will show the interviewers that you take an interest in their goals as a whole and your eagerness to contribute to the success of the organization. You become a valuable addition to their team.
Tip 2: Use the STAR method
It’s an interview, so you can imagine that you will be asked a lot of questions. Many are generic, or open ended allowing you to speak on your knowledge and experience. But, what many do not prepare for is the behavioral or situational questions.
Organizations want to know how you will fit in with their team. They want to know how you react in conflict or stress, if you can think on your feet, and have the ability to get things done efficiently. In the interview you will be given scenarios or asked questions about different situations you experienced. They want to know how you handled it. This is where STAR comes in.
The best way to answer these questions effectively and clearly is to:
State the Situation
List your Task or role
Explain the Action you took
Share the Result of your decision.
Tip 3: Practice
There are so many great resources out there that teach you how to answer interview questions effectively, but if you don’t spend time actually answering the questions out loud you may find yourself stumbling through your interview.
The day before take an hour to research some common interview questions for the position you’re applying for. Write your answers out then practice your response in the mirror. Then ask a friend or family member to “interview” you. Make sure to note your posture, eye contact, and hand gestures. Your body language will immediately give away your nerves. Take some deep breaths and practice naturally answering the questions.
This will get you in the right mindset for the interview day and allow you to feel confident in your responses. While this is a great practice, it is also important that you don’t memorize your responses, you want to come across as genuine and natural in the interview. They don’t expect you to say everything perfectly, they just want to get a gauge for who you really are.
Tip 4: Prepare and Relax
The days leading up to the interview we tend to overthink and work ourselves up. Sometimes we are so anxious that we may forget small details that will make us run late the next day. The night before the big day, spend some time to prepare all of the documents or portfolios that you need to bring with you and set them in an easy place to grab as you leave. Pick out your outfit beforehand and make sure everything is ironed and ready to go.
Then take some time to do something relaxing. Take a bath, meditate, or watch your favorite show. Try to take your mind off the interview and recenter your thoughts. Lastly, turn in early. Let your brain get the rest it needs so that you are at your best the next day!
The most important thing to remember is that any organizations would be lucky to have an AMBITIONISTA like you. You are intelligent and worthy of a position. Your nerves are a sign of your passion for what you are doing and the interviewers are most likely just as nervous as you.
So take a deep breath and nail that interview, girl!