Facing an interview recently? The news you’ve been waiting with your fingers crossed is here. The fates have finally answered your prayers. After the exhausting long through the job market, you’ve hit the bull’s eye – an interview.
You dance that victory jig in your head and celebrate. First few days you are on cloud nine but as the D-day draws near, you slowly start freaking out. A bout of sudden restlessness sets in and cold sweat starts breaking out of you. And that horned evil dude in the back of your brain starts whispering – hiring managers are like vampires, they are out for your blood…
If your stomach turns to lead when you sit across a hiring manager, you are like most of us out there. But don’t let that horned rascal in your head drag you down! Try these simple tricks that help you be calm, cool and collected or at least makes you look the part. Trust me, sometimes it all just comes down to your looks.
1. In and out, breathe!
While you wait your turn to walk through that door and in to the lion’s den, don’t forget to take a calming breath. Just fill your lungs and let it all out. Whatever emotions that trouble you be it nerves or fear, simply concentrating on breathing chases them all away. It takes your mind off of the inevitable and helps you focus on something else (may be that well paying job you’re hoping to get your hands on). Holistic health expert, Andrew Weil, MD praises breathing exercises as he says, “Since breathing is something we can control and regulate, it is a useful tool for achieving a relaxed and cool state of mind.”
To reap real benefits of this hack, you need to take a firm breath in through the nose that makes you feel your stomach fill with it. Then slowly blow it out through your mouth (beware of flies though). And repeat, in and out, three times. Best thing about this beauty is that you can do it anywhere (without drawing funny looks from other folks too, it’s rather discreet.) Now if you feel the nerves waiting for an interview, breathing is the way to go.
2. Drop the fidgeting kid at the door.
Fidgeting is the sure fire way to let every other guy around know that you’re nervous. Skill to stop fidgeting like a child is a must have hack to master. Especially when you’re facing an interview. You can’t afford to let them see how shaken up you are. My cure all for fidgeting is to keep my clasped hands on my lap or on the table. That way I could keep my inner psycho from displaying those subconscious habits like table tapping , hair twirling, squirming or any other weird behaviour that dawns on me. Habit of leg shaking is like bad tooth I can’t seem to pull out. I find it easier to avoid if I apply a bit of pressure on my legs.
If you think -I don’t fidget, I’m good- think again! Most of us aren’t even aware of our inner psycho coming to play because such nervous tendencies are ingrained into our normal behaviour. Don’t believe me? Just ring up your bestie and play up some mock interviews with them, they’ll tell you exactly how you do fidget. Once you know what’s inner psycho’s favourite move to mess, you can go about countering it. Once you know what’s inner psycho’s favourite move to mess you up, you can go about countering it.
3. Go at it, eye to eye.
You want them thinking that you’re the one they need and fool them in to believing you’re confident than what you actually feel inside. Because in an interview, you definitely don’t want those hiring managers to think you are loosing it. The neatest trick is to keep steady eye contact with the person you’re addressing. Mary Griffin, a Human Resource Director for a National healthcare company points out that, “A key giveaway of nervous Nelly is a lack of direct eye contact- looking down, looking away and not looking the interviewer directly in the eye. A more confident interviewee appears to be engaged with the interviewer.“ You could just stare at a spot between the interviewers eyes to remind yourself to keep making eye contact. Go ahead and imagine a sparkly spot of colour right between the hiring manager’s eyes if you want to, contrary to popular belief the interviewers can’t actually read your thoughts. Whatever you think will stop your wandering eyes is game, so long as your interviewer doesn’t catch on.
there is a downside to this strategy though. You must walk a fine line between too little eye contact and the point that staring gets a little too much. Focused intense staring at someone for too long is bound to come off as weird. So remember to take brief natural breaks from time to time, may be take sometime to appreciate your painstakingly crafted resume. You shed some sweat to get the thing together after all. Once again call up your bestie, bit of practice goes a long way in making you land the dream job you are desperate for.
4. Step on the breaks
There are some of us ( even me!) who tend to ramble mile a minute when struck by nerves. This can be pretty detrimental because when our lips starts going, we end up blurting out stuff that are completely off the topic and often times irrelevant and even inappropriate.
Perfect trick to avoid this blunder is to stick to one idea or a thought per one question. Forget multiple choice, you’re not trying for the semester finals here – a single answer is enough. For an instance, if you were asked why you disliked your former supervisor, something like “Her tendency to micromanage conflicted with my productivity.” would suffice instead of throwing out whole a string of, “She was a total control freak who tried to stop me from making my own decisions regarding simplest things. It made me want to pull out my hair while screaming swear words…” which you wouldn’t want the interviewers to hear even if it was probably true.
To get this one right, it is important to keep your tone of voice sincere while giving your short responses lest you end up giving the curt and dismissive vibe. Remember this is all about sticking to one idea at a time and hopefully step on breaks when you start off rambling. Not to worry though if the interviewer wants you to elaborate you will be specifically asked to do so.
5. Yes, you can!
Last but most importantly never forget that you’re here because they want you here. Because you deserve this, and they know that. The hiring managers won’t ever bother with you if you’re not a worthy candidate for this job. Use this knowledge to bolster up your courage and lift up your spirit before the interview. The interviewers think you can do this, you just have to show them they were right about you.
And in the end keep in mind while you certainly need self assurance and poise to land the job, it is not life and death. The world is not going stop spinning just because you couldn’t manage to do a little better in a single interview. Despite what that horned rascal whispers, hiring managers are humans too, they are not so hell bent on seeing your misery. They’ll understand and forgive few minor nervous blips.
So holding that thought, buck up and lets go ace that interview and make that perfect job ours.