You’ve landed an interview. Congratulations! Soon enough, that creeping feeling of nervousness starts making its way into your psyche.
It is not uncommon for job candidates to feel nervous, hesitant or even deterred by the interview process. Some of the most skilled professionals get bouts of tension before interviewing. “Interviewing reminds me of that one public speaking class we all had to take. Suddenly, you feel like you forgot how to speak,” says Haley, a pre-Kindergarten teacher. The good news is, if you are feeling worried or even completely terrified of the interview process, you are not alone. Luckily, we have some tips and statistics to help guide you in the process of securing the job.
According to Whattobecome.com, a career advice website, first impressions are made within 7 seconds. While this might feel rather quick (and it is), it is entirely possible to present yourself in a calm, cool and collected manner.
Firstly, research the company and know which type of environment you will be entering. Once that knowledge is secured, you will be able to choose apparel appropriate for the position. There is a quote that states, “dress for the job you want…” There is definite truth behind this statement. Of course, remain authentic to yourself and your personal style, while still embracing the work environment. In an office space, a nice pair of pants, a skirt with a nice blouse or work-appropriate dresses are almost always guaranteed to look clean, fresh and professional.
Pro tip: Looking to go the extra mile? Check out the psychology of color meanings, or cater your outfit to the company’s colors.
Next, body language is key. While nobody feels 100% confident every second of the day, an interview is the perfect place to practice. Posture, attentiveness and subtle movements can assist your qualifications in scoring the job. For instance, keeping your arms unfolded signifies openness and security, while crossed arms can subconsciously signal hesitation and nervousness. Nodding your head in a “yes” motion ensures you are listening and understanding the information being relayed. Just as the interviewer wants to learn about you, it’s helpful to show genuine interest in the company and the interviewer themself. After all, it is human nature to create connections, and most companies are searching for candidates who not only meet skill requirements, but also connect with the company.
Pro tip: Look up “Interview Power Poses” on your search engine. Did you know there are stances that actually alter your body chemistry and confidence?
Speaking of connecting with the company, the next tip is knowing the mission statement and/or history of a company. While it isn’t necessary to memorize every little detail about a company, it can be beneficial to have an overview. This way, authentic engagement can blossom and genuine excitement can be expressed. Getting to know the professional conducting the interview creates a two-way connection, making it more likely for the person to remember you. Jeremy, a Payroll Specialist says, “Once in an interview, I asked the boss if he was originally from the area. Conversation lead us to realizing our grandparents went to school together.” There may not always be a major connection between yourself and the interviewer, but similarities and even small connections can develop from asking simple questions.
Pro tip: After researching the company, create some questions on paper or in your head. This way, you have some engaging questions stored if the opportunity arises.
Finally, remember that whoever is conducting your interview is human, too. In fact, the interviewer might even be nervous! An interview is a conversation between two people, but you were chosen for the interview for a reason. Nerves are common, and it can be easy to spiral into doubt; however, your resume was selected because your skillset spoke to the company. Try to remind yourself of the hard work and effort you’ve made to find a career, and that one interview is fabulous practice for others that are sure to come your way.