Nervous About An Upcoming Interview?


First things first; congratulations on the interview! Give yourself credit because you’re up against a lot of other people all competing for employment. So well done!

That credit your giving yourself is important because its external validation that  you’ve done a good job responding to the employer’s needs. Employer’s need people who can be productive and add to the success of the organization, so just getting to the interview is a good sign that they like what they read.

Okay, so you’re nervous. There are two kinds of situations where nerves can have you feeling anxious . The first is where you haven’t prepared at all for the interview. Not only did you not prepare, your plan is to wake up and wing it, counting on your natural ability to charm and think on your feet. If this has worked in the past, it will likely work again. Wrong. Employer’s are better qualified than before, better trained and can size up these candidates quickly. Your nerves will go through the roof as you slowly become more and more exposed as having not invested any time at all in doing some basic homework. You’ll be nervous, and for good reason as you’ve brought this on yourself.

The second kind of nervous is the good kind; yes you read right…there is a good kind! This is nervous excitement! You’ve prepared yourself as best you could, read up on the job posting, their website, you may have talked to some employees and you really want this job. The possibility that you’re soon going to be hired for a job you can do well, doing work you’ll enjoy and in a situation you’ll be successful at is so motivating! So this nervous excitement as the interview draws closer is fantastic.

As someone who loves interviewing, I’d be more worried for you if you felt no nervousness at all – that would be a huge warning sign that you’re running on autopilot and aren’t as invested in the job or company to the extent you should be.

Now, what to do to help you get those nerves under control. First off, breathe… Stress is a physical thing, and a few deep breaths; in through the nose and out through the mouth will help you give your body oxygen when it needs it to relax. Now stand up for a moment. Seriously. Place your hands on your hips and spread your legs, with equal weight on both feet. You’re in the, ‘Superman’ pose. Head up and looking straight ahead, chest slightly out and hold this for two or three minutes. Do this before the interview – say in the washroom or reception area and you’ll feel confidence growing. Odd thing is, it works.

Now, first impressions are important so choose clothing you feel comfortable in that fit the job you’re applying to. Check them a few days before so they are clean, ironed and you’re ready. On the morning of the interview, shower, brush the teeth, do your hair (off the face as a general guideline for women) and give yourself enough time to get where you’re going anticipating delays.

It’s always good to bring multiple copies of your résumé (for you and for them), pre-determined questions you want answered, paper and pen for notes, the job posting and your references to offer at the end. Depending on the job, you might want any certificates or proof of licences and education requirements too.

Smile at the first meeting, offer a firm handshake and look the interviewer(s) in the eye as you do so. When you walk, don’t amble or shuffle along, walk with purpose and be aware of slouching shoulders.

As for answering questions, use the STAR format. Well, I endorse it at any rate. Essentially you answer by sketching out SITUATIONS you found yourself in so the get a framework for your answer, present the TASK or problem to overcome, move to the ACTION you took in rising to the challenge and finish with a positive RESULT that came about because of what you did.

This format is neat, tidy and concise. It will help you PROVE you’ve done what you claim you can do. I can’t stress enough how specific examples you give are essential to a successful interview. Without specific examples in your answers, you’re hoping they’ll believe you’ve got the experience and skills you state you do, and you’ll come up short.

The tone of your voice is important too. Nervous people often talk quicker and their voices are slightly higher. Slow your words down, pause every so often to emphasize certain things you believe are critical, and your voice suddenly gets more interesting, more meaning is attached to your words and the overall impact is a more attentive audience.

As the interview wraps up, ask for their business card. All the information you need to follow-up with a thank you note or phone call is on that card. Do send a card of thanks! Many don’t bother these days and that’s even more reason to do it. You stand out and that’s what you’re hoping to do.

The most important thing you can do is leave a lasting positive impression. Why hire you? What makes you the right fit? Answer this now, before you get to the interview. It’s not about what you want, but how hiring you is in the company’s best interests.

This Job Search Should Be Exciting!


The people who come to me for help getting a job hardly ever describe this point in their lives as exciting. No, to be honest, it’s typically a time of frustration and heightened stress. The majority of people I’ve assisted come to me only after they’ve attempted to gain employment themselves or with the help of others and had little to zero success at even getting interviews let alone job offers. So yes, by the time they reach out to me personally, their pretty frustrated with the job search process.

So you can easily imagine that when I talk about the search as a time which should be exciting, it would be a pretty hard sell. After all, it’s pretty hard to work up a lot of enthusiasm, energy and excitement for something that’s sucking the very life out of a person’s day-to-day living. When you think about it though, it can and should be a time to ramp up the motivation and that should bring some positive energy. Let me explain.

For starters, you’re at a juncture in your life where you have the availability of time to decide what it is you want to do next. Many working people who are not happy in their current jobs want to look for something they’ll find more rewarding, but their current job and the hours it requires them to work don’t give them any time to explore what other options they have. After they’ve put in the hours they do, there’s not much energy and enthusiasm for doing extra work on their personal time. So ironically what do they do? They continue to go in day after day to the job they don’t want to do anymore, and envy those – like you perhaps – who have the luxury of personal time to figure out your next move.

Here’s a second point that should be positive; skill identification. We all have them you know; a multitude of skills and abilities which we don’t often give ourselves credit for. What are you good at? What qualities do you have that you’ve come to recognize yourself – or had pointed out by others – as having competence or excellence in? There’s no time for modesty here and this isn’t about boasting and massaging your self-ego. This is about objectively naming the things you do well. Having a list of things – and written by the way – of the things you excel at is good for how you perceive yourself. If you’re feeling fragile and vulnerable being out of work, this exercise is a really good step to take to rebuild that confidence.

Now you have a list of the things that other people have recognized as your strengths, as well as thing you believe you’re good at. Look it over a few times, dwelling on each quality or word and letting each one sink in for a bit before looking at the next one. Don’t gloss over this list with a quick scan: this is you we’re talking about after all!

Now, all those jobs you’ve held in the past; let’s think about them individually. Put down in writing things you liked and disliked about each one. Consider the things you generally did in the job, the boss you worked for, the people who surrounded you (or didn’t as the case may be). Think about the environment you worked in, the commute, the hours, the pay and your level of customer contact. What did you enjoy or dislike in each position? What did you learn or come to appreciate? Having done this for each job you’ve held, now look at all the jobs you’ve done and look for trends and what comes up again and again.

At this point, you should know pretty well the things you’re good at (strengths), the things that appeal to you and the things you’d like to avoid in your next position.

Now time to turn to what jobs are out there. This is where the excitement really ramps up. Having the attitude and belief that you’re in full control is critical. Your attitude is essential for making this job search a positive experience. You could choose to work nearby or at a distance; do something new or do what you’ve always done. You could choose a return to school to learn something new or upgrade existing skills via a course – online or in person. You can choose to go at this job search full-time or put in part-time hours. Work from home or work on the employer’s site, etc.

Yes you may be in a period of flux; change and chaos, where regular routines are in turmoil and upheaval, where your finances and patience are both tested. Out of this chaos however, REAL change is not only possible but probable – if you want it to the degree where your thoughts and actions bring it about.

You are the sole person – for good or bad my friend – who ultimately will decide your destiny; how long or short the job search will be, what you’ll end up doing. This can be a time of excitement and opportunities to seize, or it can be a low point in your life full of negatively, setbacks and disappointments.

Yes, you didn’t think you’d be here at this time. But here you are. How you look at things can determine how you look to employers. Think on things!

The Right Attitude For The Interview


Congratulations! You’ve been offered and accepted a job interview with a company you’re really interested in working with doing a job that you’d sincerely love to do. While it’s taken longer to land this interview than you ever thought it would, you’re grateful for it nonetheless. This is the job interview!

There’s a lot riding on this one isn’t there? It’s your one big chance to show them how great you are and how great you’d be in the position. What to wear? When to leave for the interview so you get there early but not too early? What to research – is there time for more research? And what about – hold on there partner! Slow down. Breathe. Focus.

Sometimes we get over excited about the interview don’t we? I mean it’s one thing to be happy and excited about an upcoming job interview that we really want but it’s quite another to go overboard and see it for what it isn’t too. It isn’t your only shot at a job you’d be great at and love doing that’s going to pay you well. I’m glad it is by the way, but on a broader scale it isn’t the only job of its kind nor is it probably your only shot at this job with this company.

I do understand that in the present moment; at this time, this is your shot however and that’s what you’re understandably focused on. I’m happy for you and I’m here in your corner for you.

Let’s start with some basic information; what we know to be true. First of all, it’s clear that up to this point, you are in the running for the job. You’ve impressed them enough, presumably with your resume at the very least, and you’ve already made it to the short list of applicants beating out those whom applied and didn’t get an interview. If you submitted a cover letter with the resume, it too is a fairly safe bet that (assuming they read it) whatever it contained motivated them enough to want to hear more from you. The two documents together have resulted in the interview. It’s important to recognize this because if you don’t land the job, you’ll want to stick with what’s working when applying for other jobs, and clearly these two did what you hope they’d do for you.

You’re understandably nervous to some degree at the prospect of the interview but more importantly what the interview represents. It represents your chance to be offered the position itself; and attaining the job fulfills a pretty significant goal of yours. You may also be seeing this opportunity as more than doing something you’d love with an employer you’d love to work with. This perhaps could be your chance to start paying down debts with the income it will provide, move in different social circles, prove to other people you’ve rebounded and have made something of yourself, and of course it will take a huge weight off your shoulders and you can shift from job searching to employment.

With all that riding on this job interview,  no wonder you’re feeling the heat! Could I suggest a few things? First, acknowledge to yourself that you’re now down to say 3-6 people from perhaps 75 – 100 who have applied for the job. Your odds of getting hired are actually very good. Sure you’re now competing with just a few others who are feeling the same way, but we’re focused on what’s within your control and that’s you not them. Think positively and let’s own this interview.

Let’s answer some basic questions here well ahead of the interview. Why do you want this job with this employer? The sum of your previous experiences (life and work experiences) has made you the person you are so, why are you right for this job based on your past? This will be a combination of your education, skills, experience, values, personal suitability and the intangibles you bring that are unique to you from the other applicants.

Look at the job posting you initially applied to again. The things you’ll be responsible for and the qualifications they said they are looking for are going to make up the bulk of the interview questions. You need answers that contain specific examples from your past that p r o v e you have the skills and experience you claim to have. Get these together now.

Your attitude? Desperation isn’t attractive; its – well – desperate. I’m pretty much guessing they want someone positive, upbeat, good to be around and have around. Being assertive but not cocky or aggressive is usually on the mark more than it’s not, but your homework into the role might tell you otherwise. Maybe it’s aggressive they want because your income is based 100% on sales? If so, shift your approach to fit. Maybe they want someone low on socializing and more on the, ‘there’s work to be done so let’s get to it’ mentality, so again emphasize your work ethic.

Go  on get excited! You should be! We can celebrate together after the interview when – successful or not – you’ve done your best to shine and given it your best. The ultimate decision is out of your hands but you hope to influence that decision-making process with everything you’ve got. Like an athlete, leave nothing unsaid that you want to communicate.

The right attitude? Communicate “I want this job with your organization; I’m the right person for the position.”