Sweaty palms, the recurring nightmare that you forgot your homework, shaky voice when recounting past work experience? If you’ve got a big interview coming up and the anxiety is ramping up, remember that it’s normal to feel nervous. We all have interview fears, but when sheer panic kicks in you may not be as prepared as you need to be. However, some slight pre-interview stress is a pretty good sign that you care about showing up and doing well. It’s perfectly normal to be concerned about killing that interview and you’re most definitely not alone.
The Twitter poll results are in and 83% of Cronkite alumni and students who responded to “What Is Your Top Interview Fear” are most scared of forgetting their key points during an interview while 17% are worried they are not qualified for the role, and no one seems to be nervous about their attire or showing up late, but I’ll walk you through all of these interview-gone-wrong scenarios here.
Help! I’ll Forget My Key Points
This is a big one for a lot of us. It’s hard enough walking into a situation where you have to brag about yourself to a virtual stranger for half-an-hour. The best remedy is being as prepared as you can be. That includes researching your interviewer, you might have something or someone in common that you can mention to create a rapport from the start of the interview. This trick may diffuse your nerves and even the interviewer’s. Obviously, you should arrive studied on the role and the company with a resume and the job description in-hand.
Always ask if you can take notes and use that opportunity to glance at your resume and notepad with pre-written notes and questions. This is a trick I’ve done throughout my career and keeps me on track during an interview.
Use the margins to bullet point your top strengths and weaknesses as they align with key duties and one two three keywords as triggers for you to relay situations or projects when you owned and surpassed expectations. These could also be moments and work you’re most proud of. Ultimately, you want to show that you're confident in your professional skill set and talents. Err on the side of humility, but certainly be confident in your ability.
Help! I’m Not Qualified For This Job
This one is pretty simple. You wouldn’t be offered an interview if you weren’t qualified. Think of resumes and portfolios like a pre-screening process.
If you are invited to a first interview in person, over the phone or via Skype, you’ve passed the first test.
Now it’s up to you to come with a solid plan to tackle those key points as mentioned above. Remember to keep eye contact and be genuine. People like positive people, especially people that can do the required job with a smile.
Help! I’ll Be Over or Underdressed
Poll respondents didn’t seem too worried about this one, so I’ll recap some basics. Generally, err on the side of overdressing. Shower, comb your hair (including facial hair guys). Use deodorant and light fragrance so the scent is not overpowering.
For attire? Ladies stick to slacks or a knee-length pencil skirt and jacket. Keep heels (if you wear them) to 2-inches or less so you can walk comfortably and confidently, and makeup light/natural so it doesn’t distract interviewers from listening to your key points.
Fellas stick to a suit if you have one, and tie. If not, a button-down shirt, tie, nice slacks and dress shoes.
Help! I’m Late For A Very Important Date
Traffic jam, the alarm didn’t go off or was set to 6 p.m. vs. 6 a.m., car accident. Respondents were also not too worried about this, but you name it, there are countless situations outside of your control that could contribute to arriving late. Thankfully, it seems like most of you know to wake up early and arrive well rested and ready to kick interview butt. Always factor more time for these unexpected instances. A good rule of thumb is anywhere from a half-hour to an hour depending on your travel time. If you’re doing a phone or Skype interview, make sure all your devices are properly charged, functional, and ready for connectivity the night before.
At the end of the day it all comes back to always being prepared and finally, try treat interviews more like a conversation.
This creates a more of a relaxed feel and if an employer can come away thinking, “that didn’t seem like an interview, but it felt more like a conversation,” that means a connection was formed and an easy rapport was quickly established— all good signs when it comes to hiring their next colleague.
For job hunting tips, resume assistance and interview coaching contact Cronkite Career Services at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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