Graduate Blog

Getting Pumped for a Great Interview

Image : Popsugar

Getting Pumped For A Great Interview

Everyone understands that hunting for a new job is never easy, and the current economic climate in most industries makes it particularly arduous. Nevertheless, you’ve persevered and achieved the all-important first step on the path to a great new job. You have an interview!

The exhilaration only lasts so long before anxieties start to set in. Well before you actually find yourself face to face with an HR specialist or a hiring manager (or even — gulp! — a senior partner) you may be ensnared in near-panicked worries and doubts.

A case of pre-interview nerves is entirely normal and nothing you should worry about. It’s true that walking into an interview with a knotted stomach and sweating palms can negatively affect your chances of landing the job. Fortunately, you can use some simple and highly effective stress-management techniques to ensure that you present the confidence and capability that your next employer deserves to see.

  1. Keep Breathing

Pregnancy isn’t the only stressful situation where it’s helpful to concentrate on keeping air moving through your lungs! Taking a few moments immediately prior to your interview to focus on your breathing will have a very beneficial effect. Concentrating on your breath gives your mind something simple and reassuring to focus on. Doctor Andrew Weil, the noted expert on holistic health, says that breathing exercises are a terrific way to clear your mind. You get to focus on something that’s well within your control, clearing your mind and letting you relax.

The best way to do this is to breathe in deeply (using your belly rather than your chest) through your nose. Release the breath through your mouth slowly. Focus your mind on clarity while you repeat this process three times. This is a great technique to employ right before you meet your interviewer (or even in the middle of the interview itself!) because it’s entirely undetectable.

  1. Be Still

A nervous person gives off many different signals that make his or her emotions evident to casual observers, and fidgeting is one of the clearest signs. In order to rein in the impulse to fidget, you may find it helpful to keep your hands knitted together either on the table or in your lap. This makes it easier to resist the impulse to tap the table, twirl your hair, or otherwise distract yourself.

Don’t be too quick to assure yourself that you’re not a fidgeter. Nervous tendencies like this are typically deeply ingrained and almost entirely subconscious. The best way to check yourself for unexpected nervous motion is to do a practice interview with someone you trust. Tell them to be on the lookout for nervous behaviour. Once you recognize the problem it’s a lot easier to control!

  1. Look Your Interviewer in the Eyes

You can think of confidence as a quality that emerges from your eyeballs. Making and maintaining natural (not forced or intense) eye contact is a terrific way to express confidence and self-assurance according to marketing recruitment agency Spotlight Recruitment. Avoiding eye contact is her number one giveaway to spotting nervous interview candidates. Making eye contact makes interviewees appear more engaged and open.

You can keep your eyes on-target by focusing on the bridge of your interviewer’s nose if you find you have trouble holding eye contact. As noted above, there’s a limit to how much eye contact you need. You’re not trying to hypnotize your interviewer! Practice your interview behaviour and make eye contact the general rule with some well-balanced exceptions.

  1. Rein Yourself In

If you have a tendency towards rambling when you’re nervous you’re definitely not alone. This has to be avoided in interviews in order to keep your conversation tightly focused and avoid embarrassing misstatements.

It’s a good idea to compose your answers to your interviewer’s questions as single, complete thoughts. If you’re asked why you left your last position, for instance, you might say something like, “I learned as much as I could and felt there weren’t opportunities for further advancement in the company” and leave it at that. You might want to add “I was working for idiots and they refused to listen to what I had to say,” but resist that temptation!

You don’t want to sound abrupt or contemptuous, so you need to monitor the tone in which you respond. Project sincerity and use as many words as you need to lay out your focused answer. You can rest assured that an interviewer who wants more details will ask for them!

  1. Be Positive

One of the best ways to stay relaxed in an interview is to concentrate on the fact that it’s exactly where you’re supposed to be. Being invited to the interview clearly demonstrates that the company thinks you might be a good fit for them; all you have to do is confirm that fact to proceed to the next step and actually land the job.

It’s also important to stay realistic about the stakes in a job interview. Yes, it’s important. It’s not life-or-death important, though. The person on the other side of the table has experienced the situation from your end in the past, hard as it may be to believe. They know exactly what you’re going through, and you’ll find them to be much more forgiving than you might think.

These tips should help you a long part of the way to having a great interview and showcasing your abilities in the best possible light.

About the Author

Cormac Reynolds

Cormac Reynolds has written for a number of exciting and informative blogs in his time and is very happy to contribute to Get in touch with him via LinkedIn or through Twitter @Brightoncormac

Have your say...