Interview Nerves – Let’s Talk about Fear
Important job interview coming up? Feeling a bit on edge? You are not alone!
Why are so many people so apprehensive about job interviews? Usually it’s the same things that drive most irrational fears. I say irrational, because although job interviews can, and indeed should, be very challenging, they are not likely to cause you significant physical or psychological damage.
Most people who fear job interviews do so because they don’t know what to expect, or haven’t done it for quite a long time, so they feel less than ready to handle the questions and make a great impression. They feel as though they are heading into a very important exam, there’s a lot at stake, and they are afraid of not doing well.
So the real causes of these fears are:
1) Lack of knowledge
2) lack of preparation
3) lack of practice
The good news is that you can do something about every one of these issues – it just takes some work.
5 Key Steps
1. Know Your Story
2. Do Your Homework
3. Get Coaching
5. Review and Improve
Know your story
- value proposition/your ‘edge’ vs other candidates with a similar background (check out my post on how to do this in your resume)
- dealing with failure
- future aspirations
- others’ opinions of you
- motivation for applying for this role and working for this organisation
- reason for leaving each job
Do your homework
- research the industry, company and its people, the interviewer(s)
- check the job advertisement and/or position description so that you can anticipate the main competencies/skills/experience you will be tested on; prepare specific examples to behavioural questions making sure you can articulate strong outcomes, not just activity
- prepare “in principle” responses to the most commonly asked questions
- Even international stars value the objective input of someone who can help them sharpen their performance
- Don’t walk out on the stage without knowing your lines!
- Make sure you have had plenty of practice responding to the questions you anticipate.
- Get someone to help you by asking you the questions from a number of different angles – anyone will do, they don’t need to be a skilled or experienced interviewer as you will give them the questions.
- Also have them throw in some questions that you have not specifically prepared for. Thinking on your feet gets easier the more you do it!
Review and improve
- If you can, record your practice interviews, ideally on video so that you can review, identify issues and work on improvements. Yes, that can be a bit scary but it’s usually worth it.
Thanks for staying with this. By now I hope you are already feeling a little less nervous because you can see some practical things you can do to take control over your end of the situation.
You can’t know exactly what they are going to ask you, or the particular quirks and personality issues of a specific interviewer, but there certainly is no reason for you to go into an interview ‘flying blind’.