Attending a job interview in an attempt to get that dream job can be a daunting, nerve-racking and overwhelming experience for most people.
We believe we have what it takes, we have the skills and the experience required and we think that we have the credentials to be the successful applicant. But to talk about our skills, experience, expertise and strengths and promote ourselves is often a difficult thing to do. Our nerves and potential lack of self-confidence can take over and create a block between knowing you’d be the right candidate for the job and convincing the interview panel that you are the right applicant.
So what can we do about this? Well, there are many things to consider. Read the following tips and information.
It’s not WHAT you say that is the most important aspect of an interview
I’ll let you in on a secret. Words comprise of 7% of successful communication. The other 93% is made up of body language, gestures and tonality. What this means is – HOW you say it – HOW you provide your answers is more important than what you actually say. HOW you sit, your posture, your facial expressions, your hand gestures, your voice, pitch, articulation and how you sound are all vital factors to a successful interview. As the saying goes: a picture is worth a thousand words! So, how you show up, how you present yourself, who you are being and the picture you provide to the panel of who you really are will be the winning factors in the interview process.
Nerves are normal and to be expected
It’s normal to feel nervous leading up to an interview and during the actual interview. It happens to the best of us. It’s important to be aware of where you feel your nerves. Is it butterflies in your stomach, an increased heart rate, sweaty palms, shaky body or feeling nauseous or out of breath? When you know this, you can work on it. Nervous butterflies can be exchanged for excited butterflies. Deep breathing and breathing practises can help the feelings of breathlessness. Be aware of your hands – do you need to hold onto something, like your portfolio, or change how you stand or sit to prevent shakiness? Participating in some mindfulness and relaxation activities leading into the interview will also help to calm your nerves and deal with feelings of apprehension.
Make your passions relevant to the interview
Talk about your passions during the interview. When we talk about what we love, our faces usually light up and we display an energy that is attractive and irresistible to potential employers. We usually know a lot about our passions so often we are able to talk confidently and knowledgeably about them. Go for it – show off your talents!
Do your research and be prepared for the interview
Preparation reduces overwhelm and nerves. It’s important to know about the company or the workplace you’ve applied for a job with and to know about the position itself. You need to know the skills and tasks required and how you meet their selection criteria.
Don’t be afraid to seek clarification
If you do not understand the question, it’s okay to ask for it to be repeated. This gives you time to stop, pause and think about your answer. Sometimes, when a question is re-framed, it’s easier to answer.
If you don’t know the answer, either ask for the question to be re-framed or say you are not quite sure how to answer. Employers want honest team players and employees. It shows integrity and a willingness to take on responsibility and accountability for actions.
Yes, what you wear and how you present yourself are crucial factors to interview success. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. Dress accordingly. Dress according to the position and role you are applying for. Make sure you are comfortable and what you wear reflects who you are. If nerves make you hot and flustered, it may be a good idea to wear layers so that you can peel off some layers if required.
Most importantly, be yourself!! An employer wants to know who you really are and what you are able to contribute to their staff, workplace and enterprise. Don’t promise what you cannot deliver – it will come back to bite at a later date. The real you is who the panel want to meet!
In a nutshell, an interview is a method of displaying your strengths, talents, capabilities and above all – COMMUNICATION SKILLS. It’s not so much what you say but how you say it, how you show up and how you deliver your message. It takes practise to develop interview skills so don’t be hard on yourself if it takes several interviews to land that dream job.
Good preparation can involve asking your current colleagues and mentors for honest feedback on your body language, gestures and tonality when you communicate. It is in these areas that results come from!
Good luck and happy job hunting!
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