Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Preparing for a Job Interview
So you've finally gotten yourself a job interview. If you thought the hard work was over, well, you're going to be a bit disappointed. The really hard part comes when you are preparing for the big event.
When I talk about preparing for a job interview, I'm not referring to getting all your paperwork in order. In this case, I want to talk about overcoming the anxiety that can creep in before you even get to the interview. We all get nervous about these situations, and the first step to conquering these fears is to acknowledge them. It's only natural to feel some anxiety when you are about to do something that could decide not only your financial situation, but your career path. You can begin to start the process to calm yourself down once you can admit to yourself that you are nervous.
You must fight the urge to do more than you are capable of doing. This not only contributes to anxiety, but it also can severely hinder your performance during the interview. If you watch any professional sport, you will often hear announcers attributing a players struggles to "trying too hard." They say that those struggles will end as soon as they just try to enjoy the moment and play within themselves. The same rules apply during your job interview preparation. Sit yourself down and just try to enjoy this opportunity. Remind yourself that you were chosen for this interview because of the traits you exhibited in your resume and cover letter; you don't have to be anyone other than that person.
You can turn to simple breathing exercises if there is still some anxiety left after this. I'm no psychologist, but this has always helped me when preparing for interviews. You need to be able to concentrate on your breathing, and get it to a relaxed pace. Your breathing tends to quicken when you feel anxiety. Slowing it down to a more relaxed pace can help reduce those feelings.
One final technique that can also help is role-playing. Acting out the interview with a friend or family member can help you get out some of that anxiety. It can feel a little bit uncomfortable at first, but it's a good way to prepare what you will want to say. One of the causes of anxiety about job interviews is not knowing exactly what to say. An interview role-play is unlikely to match the real event. It can give you a pretty good idea of what you will want to say in response to specific questions.
Anxiety is a normal thing. We wouldn't be human without feeling it. That doesn't mean we can't do anything to lessen its impacts on important events like job interviews.