We’ve all been there. Finally, that next step up the career ladder you have been dreaming of has become available and the light at the end of the tunnel is glimmering. You have diligently made your job application and incredibly you have been invited to interview.
This could be your chance to upgrade your lifestyle; comfortably pay the bills, get a deposit together for a new home, car, holidays and more spending money. Moreover, this is your chance to show everyone that you can make a real difference to an organisation, that you can take great responsibility and accountability for the work you are doing, that you are an important asset that they could not do without. You feel you want to be proud of yourself and this is your chance to enable you to do that. The stakes are high. It all rests on this first interview….
It’s OK you will be great. Right?
This is the point the little doubts creep in. What if I get flustered? What if I forget to say what I wanted to say? What if the hiring manager does not like me? What if there are other stronger candidates for the role? What if the salary I say I’m aiming for puts them off hiring me? What if I sell myself short?
Stop. Take a deep breath. It’s perfectly natural to be nervous about a job interview. What you can do is a few simple steps to put that unspent nervous energy to good use.
1) Prepare on the company, prepare on yourself and practise regularly.
Firstly look at the company, its objectives and keep up-to date with any news that may be affecting it. By doing your research you will not only come across as knowledgeable to the hiring manager but it will help you to feel educated about the environment within which you will be potentially operating in. This in itself will calm your nerves. Knowledge is power. By having this knowledge you can formulate your answers in the most relevant light to the organisation.
—— Find out how great leaders instill confidence —-
It’s not only about preparing about the company, you need to be prepared to talk about yourself and expand on your skills and experience. It can be strange ‘blowing your own trumpet’ especially if you are a modest type of person but remember anything left unsaid will be unheard to those who are assessing your capabilities to do the job. Look at your strengths and your key skills and have a good think about how you have developed and nurtured those to date. Know yourself and get used to vocalising it.
Stand in front of the mirror or a good friend and practise elaborating on key points on your CV and use tangible examples to demonstrate your abilities. Look at your body language. Practise sitting straight, projecting your voice and showing your hands whilst you speak. This all subconsciously demonstrates honesty, confidence and professionalism to the hiring manager. The more you rehearse, the less tense you will feel when you are repeating yourself in the real situation.
Sounds simple, but so many candidates forget to practise. It could be the difference between landing the job and not.
2) Think positively and visualise the interview being a success
It sounds a little out there but genuinely visualising yourself confidently conversing with the hiring manager during the interview process significantly increases the likelihood of it actually happening.
Many people underestimate the power of positive thinking and visualisation. What you think and how you feel is what you become. Don’t just take our word for it. It’s called the law of attraction. Iopa Solutions firmly believe in the law of attraction.
Ever had someone walk into a room who just has a certain energy about them, always has lots of people coming over to talk to them, is able to make everyone laugh and relax and have a certain je ne sais quoi? These individuals radiate positive energy and attract more of the same back into their lives and experiences. To sum it up, what you put out is what you get back.
—— Find out how great leaders build mental strength ——
So visualise connecting with the hiring manager, smiling and actually enjoying the interview. Imagine you both feeling positive at the end of the experience. Go on. We dare you!
3) Breathe (to your advantage)
We cannot emphasise enough how important it is to breathe properly when you feel the nerves starting to creep in. If done correctly, your body cannot physically feel overtly nervous. Being nervous makes us tense up and causes our breathing to increase. Accept this and then work to change the physiological aspects to relax and refocus you. Many people know to take a few deep breaths but rarely do they do it long enough for it to be effective over a period of time.
Try the following technique and practise doing it for about 5 minutes twice a day.
-Take a slow breath in through the nose, breathing into your lower
belly (for about 4 seconds)
– Hold your breath for 1 or 2 seconds
-Exhale slowly through the mouth (for about 4 seconds)
– Wait a few seconds before taking another breath
Practise your breathing. And then use the above breathing technique when you need it just before the interview while you are waiting. You will be thankful for taking the time to do this.
Interviewing for a new position is exciting but it can also lead to us feeling nervous due to the feeling of being assessed and having to perform to a high standard. There are some practical steps you can take to overcome your nerves by researching about the company you are interviewing at and thinking about how your skills and experience could work within that environment.
Your mental attitude is just as important as the research you do. Visualising the experience being positive and useful to you regardless of the outcome is far more likely to put you on the path to success.
And finally, physically preparing yourself to take the edge off the nerves by breathing correctly to help keep you calm, approachable and confident as you walk through the door will put you in good stead.
So next time you get called for an interview, don’t let your nerves let you down. Take charge of yourself and trust in your abilities. Good Luck!
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