INTERVIEWING IS A
common tendency among job seekers is to look at
the person conducting the interview as a
guardian — a sort of stern and challenging
doorman, standing arms crossed, looking to keep
them from their ideal job. This view forces a
confrontational approach toward the interview
process. And most people are not very
comfortable with confrontation.
When we think about facing someone whom we
consider an adversary, our adrenaline level
typically rises…our blood pressure elevates…and
our palms begin to sweat. Merely anticipating a
confrontation will trigger a primitive fight
or flight response. And unless you're a
contending middleweight, this is not a
productive way to prepare for a successful
challenge is to reframe your perception. Instead
of confrontation, consider cooperation. You and
the interviewer are there to help each other.
You can help the hiring manager meet hiring
goals by demonstrating how you are right for the
job. And the hiring manager can help you verify
that this truly is your ideal job. To reduce
stress, focus on collaboration and partnership.
How can you help the interviewer see the real
you? There really is no reason to be nervous.
Don't you and the interviewer both want the same
CONFIDENCE IN YOUR CAPABILITIES
Another way to reduce the stress of an impending
interview is to focus on competence.
Confidence flows from competence. For a job
seeker this means two things: being able to
speak with clarity and detail about personal and
professional qualifications, and also being
conversant about the hiring organization and the
work they do. While a resume and/or job
application should offer a comprehensive
description of your academic and work history,
hiring managers are looking for more.
Generally, a resume is only a piece of your
larger story. The interview lets you fill in the
blanks. It creates an opportunity to help the
prospective employer understand why you, among
all the applicants, are best suited to help
achieve the organization’s objectives. And no
one is more qualified to talk about your many
assets than you are. So relax. Be confident. You
know what you're talking about.
EXAMPLES SPEAK VOLUMES
Most hiring managers believe that the best
predictor of future success is past behavior. So
as you share your personal and professional
background with the interviewer, be sure to
include specific examples of situations in which
you actually demonstrated the skills you listed
on your resume. If, for example, you said you're
a real team player, cite a time or two when you
did something that was clearly team-oriented. Is
customer service a specialty of yours? Describe
for the interviewer an instance when you
actually exceeded a customer's expectations.
It's not hard to do if you're prepared, and it's
the kind of information that a hiring manager
needs in order to make a decision in your favor.
WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THEM?
The job interview is designed to allow you to
showcase your personal and professional
resources in a way that matches the
qualifications for the open position. The hiring
manager's first objective is to learn about you.
However, there's something else. Most
interviewers at some stage of the interview are
likely to ask, "What do you know about our
organization?" Up until this point, you've been
primarily focusing on a special interest of
yours…you. Now all of a sudden you need
to switch gears. Don't panic. It's all part of
the process, and you don't need to be an expert.
Your ability to display conversational knowledge
and understanding about the organization with
which you're interviewing shows the interviewer
you're highly motivated and success-oriented —
the kind of person they're sure to be looking
for. But you're not expected to know everything.
A few basic pieces of information (available
from the Internet, trade journals, and even from
people who already work there) to discuss during
an initial interview are all that's needed. You
need to know: What does the company do? With
whom does it compete? What is the marketplace
like for its goods or services? And most
importantly, on a personal level…why do you
want to work for this organization? If you
can be comfortable speaking casually about the
first three areas, and enthusiastically about
the last one, you're certain to make a favorable
PREPARE, FOCUS, AND RELAX!
There's no escaping the fact that interviews can
be a little stressful. It's natural. But there's
no reason to let an upcoming interview get you
rattled. A little preparation and a shift in
perspective can give you the confidence you need
to relax, focus, and team with the interviewer
to get the job you want.