“If you treat every situation as a life and death matter, you’ll die a lot of times.”
When Dean Smith noted the above, he didn’t exclude a job interview. Why am I writing about this particular subject?
It is sad how many of my friends prepare and attend job interviews only to come out of them shivering. Reason being? “I panicked” is usually the frequent response. And right there my dear is where it all begins! You can’t afford to panic and grow phobia in a moment where you ought to shine. Have you ever heard of a president who went on a campaign tour and started shivering in front of his audience? Or of a marketing executive who went to sell his brand and got lost for words? Answer me! …Me neither my friend. Me neither.
In one of the organisations I have worked with, I once saw through a complete recruitment exercise. It was exciting, yes, but at some point it was utterly sad. And demotivating. Exciting because of that fat responsibility and sad because a few interviewees simply disappointed me. They looked scared, harassed, tired, clueless, you name it! I can testify to you that this is not what those panelists enjoy the most in those interviews.
Anyway, that’s a story for another day. Here are 5 things you can do to overcome anxiety and boost your confidence on your big day.
1. Lack of Knowledge increases anxiety – By knowledge I don’t mean all those Karl Marx and Henry Fiore theories that you learnt in school. Before going for any job interview make sure you have it all on your finger tips. But what knowledge is relevant? The obvious one is about the organisation you’re interviewing with. It is important for you to research on the nature of business they carry out, i.e. the products they provide and the services they offer. You can also have a basic knowledge of the type of clients they serve (by industry). Besides the firm’s overview, I feel that it is important to have an idea of the competitors in the market and why you’d prefer the organisation at hand to organisation X or Y. (In my last interview I was asked why I’d prefer working with that firm instead of a bank that was right in the next building). You will also appreciate that it will save you a great deal if you are at par with the latest trends in the industry concerned.
2. Cultivate the right attitude in your mind – You know an interview is not a matter of life and death. May be apparently but never really. If I can describe it right, it is a formal conversation between two potential business partners about what the interested party (yourself) is bringing to the table. It’s never a test. Get it from. Not even mock interviews are. If anything, they are imaginary settings that seek to find out what you’d do when faced with not-so-friendly issues. A friend of mine once told me this on the eve of her interview with one regional bank in the city: “I am not afraid of that interview. These guys are human like me. They want us to talk. And I know I can talk. So I’ll go there full of life and have the best conversation with them.” Do you know she got that job! You just can’t fail to hire a confident and friendly catch.
3. Rehearse your moment a day before – The importance of rehearsing goes a long way in making sure you’re polished in your subject matter. You can be sure you will not stammer when asked to talk about yourself, tell of your weaknesses and strengths, why you are the perfect candidate for the position and where you see yourself in 5 years and 10 years. These are obvious questions that you will find in 97% of the job interviews you will attend. Another plus to rehearsing is that it will increase your confidence in the interview room.
4. Fill your mind with positive thoughts – What you feed your mind with is what actually shows on your face. Fill it with fear and you will look anxious. Fill it with what you have achieved (including being shortlisted and called for the interview) and my friend you will ooze confidence. On your way to the interview, think of all the glorious times you achieved your goals, all the awards you have received, all the good things your friends have said about you, all the levels you’ve beaten in candy crash, all the times you know! They’re many. Remind yourself of them.
5. Be punctual – I need not note why punctuality will save you a bunch that day. Waiting has its limits, and punctuality has its rewards. You surely don’t want to keep them waiting. Getting there early will allow you some time to catch your breath and, to catch up with more of your high moments at the back of your mind. I remember of a classmate who once shared his story in class. It was more of a question (he was asking for advice why he lost the job) and it went like this: “I was supposed to arrive at 9:15. I arrived at 10:30. I found the panel waiting, half of the team supporting their chins on their palms. The first question they asked me was how i’d deal with an employee who doesn’t keep time.” His answer was quite funny. “I’d discuss with them why they keep coming late and then…” He gave a long story. And couldn’t understand why he failed. Really?! We laughed at him of course and didn’t give him advice. To date I see him and giggle. You sure don’t want this to happen to you. Do you?