Believe it or not, interview jitters are normal and potentially helpful reaction. Nervousness can make you sharp, eager and assertive. In contrast, your nervousness can make you listless, confused and ineffective. The following pre-interview guide will help you control your nerves and execute a powerful and persuasive interview.
Setting Up Your Interview
As you receive information on your interview, write down all pertinent information. Include the employer’s name, title and record the names of other individuals and departments you may meet. Knowing these facts will help you research the company and give you a head start on post interview thank you letters. If the employer’s secretary contacts you, get her/his name as well. It is critical to know who, what, where and when.
The Day Before
Take time to familiarize yourself with the location of the interview. Underestimating your travel time is not an acceptable excuse. Know your transportation mode, exact directions and approximate travel distance. Double-check the time you scheduled for your interview. Arrange to be at the interview office alone and no more than ten minutes prior to the appointment. Clear your schedule for your interview day to avoid unexpected delays that may add unnerving stress.
Review any materials mailed to you along with the information you researched. Give yourself enough time to review this material so you feel knowledgeable about the employer. Practice questions in your head and aloud. Have all possible questions and responses resolved with your best answers. Make several copies of your resume and other additional information. Place these materials in a briefcase or other appropriate professional carrying case.
Decide your attire. Plan to dress professionally. Make sure your clothes are neat, coordinated and pressed. Your clothes project an image. If you look professional you will act professional.
Use positive mental reinforcement. Remind yourself of your strengths and capabilities. Think through all the reasons you would be a perfect fit for this position. Boost your confidence level as much as you can. Staying and feeling positive will only help project a positive and upbeat candidate.
Get a good night’s sleep. Feeling rested will help you be vibrant and energized. Lack of proper sleep will make you nervous and less capable of thinking clearly. Do not wait to cram all your interview preparations late into the night. Being organized for an interview can take longer than expected.
The Day of the Interview
Wake up with a smile on your face, and keep it there. You have a variety of reasons to smile, but largely you have made it this far and you should be proud of yourself. A smile on your face will elevate your mood and maintain an energetic and positive attitude throughout the day. By interview time, you will not need to remind yourself to smile when conversing with the employer, it will just appear — solid and sincere. In addition, smiling encourages others to perceive you as personable and likable.
Give yourself a brief practice time prior to the interview to boost your confidence. Being able to quickly recall and reiterate your answers will help you appear assured and proficient. Practice projecting your voice with conviction and certainty. Picture in your head how you will conduct yourself when you first meet the interviewer. Think posture, composure and demeanor. In your head, walk yourself through your initial introduction. Smile with confidence, look your interviewer in the eye, articulate your greeting and shake hands firmly.
Eat something. The last thing you need is your stomach reminding the interviewer it is nearly lunch time. Try to select foods that are not too filling and cause you to feel sluggish. Avoid too much sugar or caffeine; you do not want the rush to wear off in the middle of your interview.
Allow yourself enough time before the interview to not think about the interview. The break will help calm you and reduce apprehension. Talk to someone or read something that you find inspiring. Listen to music that refreshes and invigorates. Read or find something that makes you laugh. Simply try to enjoy this time.
On your way to the interview fill your head with positive affirmations. If you have not been practicing up to this point, not to worry, any dose will do. If you find your mind wandering to negative thoughts, tell yourself to stop and fill your head with a positive outcome. Pay attention to your breathing and use deep relaxing breaths. The deeper you breathe, the calmer you become. When you feel the slightest bit of tension, immediately check your breathing. Breathe by filling the bottom of your lungs, this provides you with the best source of oxygen and promotes composure. A combination of thinking and breathing will help you focus.
During the Interview
If you have followed a plan up to this point, you should feel well prepared and comfortable. Concentrate on the questions, take a moment to contemplate your answer and calmly respond. If you are feeling nervous during your interview, give yourself a brief moment to relax. Make sure you are smiling. Speak slowly and confidently. Try to avoid nervous laughter and collect your thoughts. Keeping yourself focused will help get you through your interview successfully.
Fulfilling all the groundwork necessary to ready yourself for an interview will put you on a course for success. Time spent organizing and motivating yourself will bring you one step closer to landing a job. Thoroughness with your interview planning will make you feel cool, calm and collected.