Next to stage fright, I’m pretty sure interviewing comes next. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard jobseekers tell me how much they fear the interview process. Trust me, I get it. You’re entering a room full of strangers who are asking you (what feels like 1 million) questions, writing down notes, and staring at you. It is nerve wrecking! But you don’t have to make it so obvious that you’re nervous and you don’t have to work yourself up to the point that you make yourself sick.
To tell you the truth, interviewing candidates and being interviewed is one of my favorite things! I wasn’t always like this, but after years of practice from both sides, I found strategies that have worked for me over the years. So, I decided to share with you my top 3 tips for overcoming your fear of interviewing.
Remember, it’s just a conversation
You meet and chat with people every day! At work, at the store, gas station, neighbor, etc. You are constantly talking to at least 1 stranger, at least once a day, right?
Well remember, the interviewers are people too. Talk to them like people. They can’t bite you, they can’t throw you out the door, they cannot punish you. They are there to have a conversation with you and see if you’re a fit for their company.
Honestly, most of the time they are nervous too or don’t want to be there, so make it enjoyable for them. Walk-in with the mindset of that you’re going to make a new friend today or if its easier, think about meeting an old acquaintance that you haven’t seen in years and you’re going to catch up on life.
Another strategy, is to (in your head) visualize this as a work assignment. You’re going to meet a potential business partner to see if the relationship will be mutually beneficial.
Whatever scenario makes you comfortable, think about it!
Most of all, talk normal! Avoid using fancy words or language that you don’t use on a regular basis. Be professional, but also be yourself!
Your opinion matters too
Yes, the interviewer makes the ultimate decision of whether or not to offer you the job, but you should be interviewing them as well. During the conversation, make sure to ask questions when something is not clear. Watch the dynamics of the interviewers. Also, check out the brief interactions of employees while you’re on your way to the conference room.
Does it look like an environment that you would want to work in? Is it a cultural fit for you? Do people seem friendly and happy?
Avoid focusing 100% on impressing them and be mindful that they need to impress you as well. After all, you have the skills and they are needed. You are the prize! Keeping this in mind helps give you perspective and a sense on control.
Do your research
After you accept the invitation to interview, I strongly recommend doing research on your interviewer(s). Read their bio online and google them. Try to find similarities and points of interest for conversation. Interviewers love when you’ve taken time to read about them (sometimes, it catches them off guard in a good way!). I have personally found that once I see the person and read about them, there is now a since of familiarity and they don’t seem as intimidating. Walking in blind contributes a lot to nervousness. Try to walk in with as much background knowledge as possible!
Remember, interviews don’t have to be scary! Its part of the process and something that every job seeker should practice becoming comfortable with. At the end of the day remember, its just a conversation, you need to determine if it’s a good fit for you too, and the more background research you do ahead of time, the better!