Article: Avoid Job Interview Jitters

Avoid Job Interview Jitters
A Little Preparation Goes a Long Way

Anyone who’s ever gone for a job interview knows that butterflies-in-the-tummy, nail-biting, can’t-wait-until-this-is-over feeling. Even the most seasoned executive can find the experience stressful. It’s all about saying the right things and making the right impression. After all, you want the job! 

Rather than sweating all the what-ifs, invest some time in preparing for your meeting. That advance training will give you the knowledge and self-confidence to shine when you meet your interviewer. 

Here then are five easy, yet important ways to prepare for a job interview: 

1. Research the company.  Start by visiting the company’s website. It should give you insight into the company’s products, services, goals and mission. Search the Internet for articles and references to the company. It can be very useful to read what third parties are reporting. Also, as part of your research, note the company’s address and map out your travel route. 

2. Develop a list of questions.  An interview is supposed to be a two-way street. Yes, the interviewer gets to ask you lots of questions, but you should also be prepared to ask questions of the interviewer. Questions can be related to company philosophy and goals, the responsibilities of the position, training and education programs for employees, outlook for the future, upcoming projects, or anything else that you feel is relevant and will help you decide whether you want the job. 

3. Practice interviewing.  Ask friends or family members to role play with you. Answer their questions as if they were your interviewer. Make note of any questions that stump you or make you uncomfortable so you can work on developing good answers. You should even practice your smile, eye contact and handshake, as they all contribute to the impression you make. 

4. Dress for success.  Don’t wait until the last minute to decide what to wear. Select your outfit a day in advance, something that is appropriate for the position you’re interviewing for. You can even do a quick dress rehearsal to make sure everything fits and looks alright. Also take care of any details like ironing and picking out accessories. When it comes time to get dressed for the real interview, you’ll have only to slip into the outfit you selected, thus avoiding any panicked decision making. 

5. Organize your take-alongs.  Don’t show up for the interview empty handed. You’ll want to bring a pad and pen to take notes on such items as specific responsibilities of the job, names of supervisors, and any mentions of salary. You’ll also want to carry a copy of your resume, even if you previously had sent one in, just in case the interviewer doesn’t have it handy. 

Bring business cards, if you have them. Do you have a portfolio with work samples? How about any letters of recommendation? Gather all these take-alongs as part of your preparation for the interview to avoid forgetting anything and also to place them in a suitable order for presentation. 

To succeed in a job interview, you need to be confident, neat and prepared. When you follow the five steps outlined above, you’ll have gone a long way toward eliminating interview jitters and ensuring that you make a good impression. 

Knowing how to interview like a pro is just one important aspect of the job search. For additional tips and strategies, check out the book, Job Hunting in a Tough Economy.  

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