Six steps to help combat interview stress
Try to calm yourself down by taking slow breaths and focusing on the interviewer’s words.
Stress about job interviews is a given for most of us.
And we don’t make it easy on ourselves when we head into these critical moments with only a scant amount of preparation.
Here’s how you can manage the inevitable stress and prepare correctly.
1 Develop a real script
Most interview questions are predictable, says John Lees, author of The Interview Expert: How to Get the Job You Want. Why should we hire you? Why do you fit this role?
Practice answers to those questions and say them out loud.
It’s not sufficient to just think about how you’ll answer them.
2 Prepare for questions you want to avoid
If there’s something on your CV that you’d rather not highlight, chances are your interviewer will ask about it. You’ll have a better chance of moving swiftly past the topic if you practice your response beforehand.
“Keep it short and upbeat,” Lees advises.
3 Make sure you’re actually listening
Anxiety can turn your attention inward, keeping you from listening to your interviewer and allowing you to miss vital questions. Try to calm yourself down by taking slow breaths and focusing on the interviewer’s words.
4 Invent a conference call to give yourself a break
If you’re scheduled for back-to- back interviews, tell your contact in advance that you have a conference call you must attend and ask if there’s a private room for you to use.
That will give you a small respite from the intensity of being questioned for several hours in a row.
5 Pre-script your own questions
Have one or two good questions ready about the future of the company or the future of the role you are interviewing for.
6 Videotape a mock interview
Ask a trusted friend to mock interview you – and videotape it.
If there’s anyone in your life with real-world interview experience, ask that person to practise with you. Lees suggests watching the tape without sound.
Body language can be a critical component of your interview and “you’ll see how you present yourself”, he says. – Copyright Harvard Business Review 2015
Previously published in The Irish Times.
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