What’s the best way of getting over interview nerves and what sort of preparation should you do before your interview to ensure it runs smoothly?
Question: I’ve recently applied for several jobs and I’m hoping that I’ll get at least a couple of interviews, as I have fairly good skills and experience in my area. The problem is that I get extremely nervous in interviews – particularly when there’s more than one person interviewing – and I have great difficulty in expressing what I want to say and highlighting my strengths. Have you any advice as to how I can get over my nerves and are there any particular questions that I should work on in advance?
Anna G, Clondalkin
Answer: Preparation plays a big part in helping overcome interview nerves. The trick is to do your thinking before interview because it can be difficult to think on the day. By doing this you can concentrate on execution of your answers.
Ensure that you get the basics right during preparation. Understanding the employer requirements and the job description is a good starting point. Map out how you meet the employer’s needs and brainstorm examples of success and achievements to use during interview. Know your CV inside out and ensure that you research the company. Simulate the interview by role playing or practise answers out loud in front of a mirror.
Write out a “100 successes” list and read this prior to interview and it will act like a confidence injection. Instead of visualising horrible interview situations think back to previous interviews, especially successful interviews.
Most people have had more pleasant than unpleasant interview/interviewer experiences. Getting selected for interview means that the interviewer likes what they read on your CV so take confidence from this. Most interviewers want interviewees to do well at interview because their recruiting problem is solved and they can get back to their day job.
Common questions you should consider in advance include: ‘Tell me about yourself’, ‘Talk me through your CV’, ‘Why should we hire you?’, ‘Why do you want to work for our company?’, ‘Why are you leaving your current company?’, ‘What makes you different?’ and ‘What are your strengths?’.
Remember, the secret to strong answers is focusing on the employer and their needs.
Paul Mullan is founder of career and outplacement firm Measurability. He is an expert in personal branding, CV and interview skills and job search through social media.