They happen at every job and every level.
You apply to a role you’re interested in. In fact, you think you’re perfect for the job. You apply and you wait. You hope. You pray. You get a call for a phone screen. You scream in excitement! It’s my shot. I have a chance!
You nail the phone screen. They schedule you for an interview with the hiring manager. You’re a bunch of nerves. You can’t calm down. You’re already picturing the office and your coworkers. You want this job so bad you can taste it.
So what do you do? How do you prepare for an interview that can possibly change your life?
You calm down
Going into an interview over excited and nervous won’t help. You need to be, or at least seem, calm and collected. The night before the interview, engage in an activity that will calm you down — maybe the gym or yoga. Sleep early and have a good nights rest. Rest is important.
The day of the interview, give yourself extra time to commute. I have a friend that does a test drive the day before. He says it helps calm nerves due to finding the location. I build in an extra hour and once I find the location, go to a nearby coffee place for last minute preparation.
Knowing about the company you are interviewing with is critical. Know what the company does and who you will interact with. If you’ve been in the industry a while, look the people at the company up on LinkedIn. See if you have any mutual connections. If you feel it will help, you can reach out to the connections. I don’t tend to do this but I do keep their names in my back pocket and bring them up during the interview.
If you haven’t been in the industry a while, you should still look up your hiring manager. You may have a mutual connection. If not, knowing the background of your manager will result in you asking more pointed questions.
Show the hiring manager you did your research. Ask questions about the company and your role. Take the time to prepare so that you have a well thought out answer to standard interview questions.
You are proactive
Depending on the position you are interviewing for, try to guess the questions you will be asked. Maybe about resolving conflict, or how you handled a difficult situation, or how you presented a solution to an angry customer. Have concrete examples of resolutions for each scenario.
Think about why certain questions are asked and ensure your response addresses the need for the question. Many interviewers ask you to walk them through their background and experience. The interviewer has received your resume already. While she may not have had the chance to review it, you may be asked this question to see how you tell a story. Are you direct? Do you go off on tangents? Are you articulate? Are you entertaining? Your response will help the interviewer decide if you are a good fit for the role.
Knowing this, take the time to prepare answers to questions.
You believe in yourself
There is no amount of preparation that can substitute for not believing in yourself. You got the interview for a reason. Trust in yourself. If you want the job and know you can do it, have confidence in yourself and your ability. You are this far in your career for a reason. You’ve put in the time and the work to get here.
The secret of acing a job interview is to stop believing in luck and start believing in yourself.
Interviewing is daunting but with the right mindset and outlook, you shouldn’t fear it. If you are calm, prepared, proactive and confident, you’ll be able to be your best self. If after this, you still don’t get the job, don’t feel rejected. You did your best. There could always be someone that is more qualified.
Walk in with confidence and walk out with confidence. If you can manage that, you will have conquered the jitters and the interview.