6 ways to beat stress and nail that job interview
Being called in for an interview is both exciting and terrifying. That stress is normal, but it can be a problem if you don’t keep it in check during the interview. Follow these tips to eliminate stress and ensure you have the coolness and confidence to succeed in any job interview!
Prepare for tough questions
There’s the standard repertoire of interview questions, but some interviewers like to spring difficult questions on you. Talk to your friends and learn from their experiences. Search the Internet for difficult questions and be prepared for anything.
There’s a good chance you’ll be asked to describe your weaknesses, any gaps in work history and why you left your previous job. Think about how you would answer a question like ‘what didn’t you like about your last job?’ or ‘aren’t you overqualified for this job?’
Practice, practice, practice
Now that you know what to expect, it’s time to practice. Work on your answers and think of ways to clearly describe your strengths with real-life examples. Write these out and see what works and what doesn’t. You won’t be reciting your answers during the interview, but you’ll know what portions of your answer work well if you write it out while prepping for the interview.
One technique that’s been known to work in competency-based job interviews is the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) method. When asked to describe how you responded under pressure, explain the background situation, what you had to do, how you did it and then what happened. (And if you’d like to follow my STARR model, add reflection to the end to show what you’ve learned and how it relates to the job at hand). This framework is used to build on your strengths and avoid hypotheticals by demonstrating how you actually handle a particular situation.
(Subtly) dress for success
There’s the old cliché that you dress for the job you want, but everyone in the professional world already knows that (or at least should). One unconventional fashion technique that might work is to incorporate a subtle fashion statement. Blogger Jon Youshaei says this can range from a bracelet bought during your travels or even something like a small mockingjay pin from the Hunger Games. ‘As long as it’s subtle and tasteful, your fashion statement can build rapport through fun conversations about your hometown or mutual love for Katniss Everdeen!’
Spend time with someone ‘in the know’
Everyone seems to have that friend who seems to nail every interview. Better yet, some people have friends with direct experience in human resources and the hiring process. Most people only have limited interview experience, but contacts ‘in the know’ are completely invaluable.
Reach out to trusted people in your network and learn all that you can from them. If they have the time, tell them about yourself and what you plan to say. They’ll know exactly the type of things to avoid during an interview and what makes someone a top candidate.
Whether you land the job or not, be sure to thank them for their time.
Let out some stress
You should be focused and ready, but don’t turn yourself into a tightly wound ball of stress. Remain social and chat with your friends and family. Consider going out – or perhaps staying in with girlfriends for a relaxing evening with wine and a movie. There’s no reason to become a hermit after putting in the effort. Take the process seriously but still have some fun. Your closest friends and family are great for giving you the confidence boost you need to get all your jitters out.
Rest up the night before
This is true for almost every important challenge you’ve already faced, but get a great night’s sleep – there’s nothing more you can do now! Snuggle into your super cosy bed, and drift off so that you wake up full of energy. If you feel like your bed is lacking that ultimate relaxation factor, consider upgrading to something that will give you the rest you need – think plush mattress toppers, silky sheets and plump pillows!
You’ve already done all the prep you can and fine-tuned what you’re going to say, so don’t stay up all night worrying. You are ready for this.