If you've ever had the interview scaries or walked away thinking "how did I mess up that interview?", then this article is for you.
We've all been there, hoping to land a great job or move up in our careers. We get so excited to get a call and an interview is scheduled. An amazing job opportunity has made its way over, then you stop and think about the actual interview. We know a reply like "I've always wanted to work for your brand" or "I feel I should be making more money" won't suffice for the 30 or 60 minutes of interview time. Anxiety makes its way in.
What to do?
Having interview anxiety is a real thing. Don't choke, but rather, embrace the opportunity presented in front of you. Direct from hiring managers and Recruiters, we are sharing our tried-and-true tips and reminders to help you combat the interview scaries.
Get to Know You on Paper
You know your resume and the work you did, so this one may seem obvious, but discussing and picking out applicable tasks is another matter. As a Recruiter speaking to hundreds of candidates often, I can't tell you how frequently this comes up. Read your resume thoroughly and be prepared to answer appropriate specifics not just about the role and "stand-out moments," but break down your office-technical skills and talk details about reports due or weekly goals, your managers, the environment, cross team interaction and the company. Share some of your day-to-day and your overall insight.
The Heart of the Matter
Self-awareness is critical during an interview. Know what you enjoyed doing and what you loved about the company and culture. If your boss or clients “love” you, explain why. Think back on times where your passion kicked in, where came out of your comfort zone, what you learned (yes, that includes managers too), projects you inherited and projects you didn't like but did anyway. Know your capabilities and be honest where you need to grow, such as improving reporting skills or using soft skills like giving a presentation to upper management or evaluating team performance.
Stay / Go Questions
Be prepared to share why you left a role or why you are looking. If it's personal such as a family or health issue, keep it brief. Know the positive reasons that kept you in your role and why it's time to leave. Maybe your concern is the commute, working lengthy hours, or continuously waiting for co-workers to meet deadlines. These factors could contribute to reasons why you stay or why you are looking for a new opportunity. Even if a Recruiter or hiring manager approaches you, they will need to be reassured that you are seriously considering a career move.
Research to Qualify
We're often told to research the company and those who will be in the interview. This remains good advice, not just for conversation pieces, but to discover similar interests and assess fit. People are what make a company. Owners, CEOs, Managers and HR can represent a good or bad culture. Even if the company is a brand or location that you've been eyeing, keep your qualifiers open. Ask around if anyone knows about the inside climate. This is where your screening process kicks in. Do the research you need for your own peace of mind.
Curiosity Did Not Kill the Cat
Share your motivators and ask questions. Think of what matters to you and what you are curious about, whether it's upcoming projects, the pay or benefits, direction of the company, team interaction, upper management, travel opportunities, why this role is open, what is needed from this role, how many people in the company, if sales are up, and so on.
Have your resume materials, portfolio or work samples (if applicable), paperwork, outfit and shoes ready. Have a back-up of everything. Follow the process and complete online forms if needed. Follow up to ensure they have all needed and offer to spend more time if they have additional questions. Be prepared to list references if asked. You know the drill.
Be Ready for the Unexpected
They may be running late, you may get caught in traffic, there may be weather changes, they may be in a bad mood - don't take it personally. They may ask for more interviews. These things happen. If something comes up at your end, communicate it as soon as you can. Offer to reschedule or stay longer if needed. Above all, be flexible through the interview process.
You knew we'd mention this. If you feel you need to practice, ask a friend to give you a quick run through. It will be interesting to see what questions they ask. If you are short on time, do the exercise yourself and think of questions the hiring manager and HR would ask. Pretend you are the interviewer.
Realize the power of being prepared. By preparing you will seem more interested in the role and this will do tons for your confidence level. Interview prep helps to alleviate worry and stress, allowing you to use that energy in a better way. Seize the opportunity and remember, you manage your career so make this a priority. Being prepared also helps for a great conversation flow and is the best antidote for the interview scaries.
Happy Halloween and thank you for the read! We hope you land a job you love.
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