You’ve landed an interview for your next big career move – a goal you have been working towards for a long time. You have all the experience required and you know you’d be a great fit but there’s one problem – your interview nerves are setting in. Believe me when I say you are not alone.
If not dealt with effectively, interview nerves can leave you lacking confidence and feeling anxious- they take up so much time and energy that would be better spent researching and preparing for the interview itself. Like most common fears, interview nerves are generally irrational and at best, misplaced concerns. Here are the tips you should follow to make those nerves disappear:
1. It’s not all about you
As the interviewee, the focus is on you and it’s absolutely your chance to shine. But remember, the interview panel is under pressure too. Pressure of interviewing well. Pressure to recruit well. The company is investing a lot of money and resource recruiting for this position, if they recruit the wrong candidate, it doesn’t reflect well on them.
Every candidate is in the same position as you so let that ease the pressure you’re putting on your shoulders. Have compassion for the interview panel and trust them to bring out the best in you. Never underestimate the skill and concentration required to get the best out of an interviewee.
2. Know yourself, your motives and your strengths
Take the time to understand what you offer. What skills, experience and knowledge do you have that are huge assets to this role? Understand clearly what your motivation for the role is and why you’re the best candidate. What strengths do you have that would complement this company and role well? Once you are clear on what you have to offer you can walk in to the interview confidently.
3. Trust Yourself
If you have researched the company/industry, know what skills/experience you have to match the job requirements, are driven and motivated, can recount your key career successes, know what points you want to get across and what ideas you can bring to the role, you’re good to go. You’ve prepared well, you know you can do this role well, now it’s time to relax and trust yourself.
4. Reframe the situation
In your mind the interview is a situation you’re not going to be comfortable with, so it’s no wonder you’re nervous. Time to take a step back and think about when you excel – what type of situations do you do well in?
Do you enjoy group discussions? See the interview as one big group discussion. If being centre-stage is your thing – be the main act.
5. Understand it’s not a pass or fail situation
Whilst the aim of an interview is always ultimately to get the job offer, it’s not a pass or fail situation. Recruitment processes are subjective, you don’t know who you are up against, what personal expectations beyond the criteria of the role the interviewers have (it might even differ from interviewer to interviewer) and you don’t know what situations they’re facing that could affect their decision.
With these factors being out of your control just do your best, show them why you will be great in the role and let the rest go. Hopefully you will get the offer but if you don’t, you never know where that interview might take you. They could offer you a different role or it could end up being great preparation for another interview in a better role.
6. Have contingency plans
If you do forget to mention some points you think are key as the interview progresses, don’t worry about it. Have a contingency plan – how will you get that information in? If you realise three questions in that you forgot a vital point in your answer to question one, wait for the right opportunity and say “Would it be possible for me to add to my answer to the first question? There is a key point I didn’t get across; would you mind if I talk through that with you now?”
If you have a couple of points you want to bring up that didn’t fit in to any of the questions, use them in your questions at the end. For example; “I find xxxx fascinating and the effect it may have on the industry could be a game changer. I’m really interested to hear your thoughts on the matter.”
Finally, don’t put unnecessary pressure on yourself by comparing yourself to other candidates – whether you know them or not. Keep your focus on you, what you have to offer, why you are a great investment and how much value you will bring them.
When you find interview nerves taking over, make a conscious effort to steer your mind back to reality. You will be having a conversation about yourself (your expert topic), why you can do this job well, your professional attributes and your thoughts on the role, company and industry. You have a lot of great insights to share which the interview panel are keen to hear; you wouldn’t be sitting in front of them otherwise.
Breathe, trust yourself and show them what you’ve got.