Top 3 Tips for Keeping Your Cool During Interview Preparation

Top-3-Tips-for-Keeping-Your-Cool-During-Interview-Preparation_Blog_Staff-Management-SMXWe can say for certain that it’s not just you. In a survey by Harris Interactive and Everest College, 92 percent of respondents reported some anxiety or fear related to job interviews. So it’s definitely understandable if you’re a little nervous. A job interview is your shot to differentiate yourself from every other candidate who applied.

First-time job seekers might also find themselves worried about walking into the unknown. The job interview is a tightly choreographed dance. If you don’t know where it’s going, you could accidentally step on some toes.

Take a look at these three tips so you can put together a framework for interview preparation that has you stepping forward with confidence.

Tip #1: Do your homework.

CareerBuilder’s chief human resources officer Rosemary Haefner knows that candidates are stressed. Her suggestion? “The best solution to minimize pre-interview anxiety is solid preparation,” said Haefner. She recommends that job seekers go online to read about the company and the role for which they are applying.

If you know who will be interviewing you, another good tactic is to peruse their LinkedIn profile. Don’t bother trying to remember their college GPA or every turn in their career path, but get a sense of their professional accomplishments and areas of expertise.

Don’t get tripped up!

Nerves can cause you to undersell yourself. Candidates who have researched the company thoroughly, but who feel like they haven’t mastered the ins and outs of the business, will commonly go quiet when asked what they know about the organization. Instead, lead with what you do know and let your interviewer fill in the gaps if they think you need to know more.

Tip #2: Learn the rules.

Making sure you show up on time at the correct location and that you check in appropriately is a no-brainer. Turning off your phone should be common sense too. If you don’t turn it all the way off, make sure you won’t be interrupted by an obnoxious vibration, a blinking notification or an obtrusive alarm. Make sure to dress professionally. Even if the company has a relaxed dress code, you should stay a notch above.

One of the biggest rookie mistakes of employment interviews is assuming you already know the rules. Unless you want to find yourself caught in a faux pas, take your interview preparation seriously by making note of these standard guidelines for interview etiquette.

  • Bring several copies of your resume, preferably on high-quality paper, as well as relevant work samples.
  • Come prepared with strong answers to the most common interview questions.
  • Feel welcome to bring in an orderly notebook. Don’t bury your face in your notes, but having something to reference can show that you’re prepared and can help you stick to your key points.
  • Ask for a business card from your interviewer. If they don’t have one, find out how to follow up. When you get home, thank the interviewer for meeting with you by sending them a personalized email.
Don’t get tripped up!

To alleviate any concerns about your appearance, lay out your clothes the night before. You won’t waste time and energy wondering if your outfit is appropriate at the last minute, and you’ll discover any surprise stains or noticeable tears ahead of time.

Tip #3: Get in the optimal state of mind.

If you’ve made it to the interview phase for an important career opportunity, you should already be proud of yourself. The average corporate job post receives 250 applications, and if you’re called in for an interview, you’re likely part of an elite group of people – on average, between four and six. Your interviewer is starting out with the belief that you could be a good match for this job. This is your proof that you’re already a top candidate, so own it. Present yourself as the person they’re looking for.

Don’t get tripped up!

Research suggests that 40 million Americans experience anxiety disorders, and that these disorders can be significant barriers to employment. The good news is that ongoing studies indicate that a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and vocational services can help people with anxiety disorders seek out work opportunities and succeed in interviews, as well as on the job. If you feel like anxiety is making it increasingly difficult for you to secure a job offer, treatment could help.

Lean into your strengths.

When all is said and done, a job interview is a chance for you to share your skillset, experience and enthusiasm with a receptive audience. All you have to do is make sure that your interest is on display in each element of your appearance, from the way you dress to the way you act and the way you talk about the company. Make it clear that you’ve prepared for this meeting and focus on what you can contribute to the role so your interviewer can see that you’ll add value to their organization.

Now that you’ve taken a deep breath, you should be ready to dig into the details a little bit further. For more nitty-gritty interview preparation points, take a look at our infographic How to Prepare for an Interview >