Sweaty palms, dry and raspy throat, butterflies in the stomach if that’s how you usually feel before an interview, take heart in the fact that you’re not alone. Although there are no statistics, HR professionals estimate that almost six out of 10 candidates, who appear for a job interview, are nervous and tense. But here’s a little secret — a candidate, who appears nervous, dramatically reduces his or her chances to make it to the final list. So take a deep breath, pull yourself together and know the golden rules to overcome interview fears and bag your dream job.
Do your homework
Do ample research on your role, the company and the industry. HR heads say an unprepared candidate starts to fumble and stutter, and appears anxious when asked questions about the industry and how the company is performing. You can get the latest news from the company’s annual report, its website, press releases, and of course the internet. An applicant, who has done his or her research well, is more confident and gives out the positive vibe to interviewers that s/he is serious about the job. This automatically also reduces the candidate’s anxiety. Get to know the company you are hoping to work for. A little background information can go a long way. You should research the company well before applying to it. You must be prepared to discuss the industry, the company’s relative size within that industry and show that you know who the major players and competitors are.
Rehearse your answers
Rehearse answers to the possible questions you may be asked. There are always some stock questions applicants face during interviews — Tell us something about yourself; Why do you want to change your job; how do you see yourself growing in this organisation; what are your strengths and weaknesses and such.
It pays to rehearse the answers either in front of the mirror, or with someone else. The IQ portion is on the CV anyway, so during the short duration of an interview, a candidate must offer interviewers a peek into his or her emotional intelligence and softer skills, like teamwork, which could be a differentiator.
The first 5-7 minutes are crucial
First impressions matter. Be extremely careful, in the first five to seven minutes of the interview, about what you say, how you conduct yourself and what impression you allow the interviewer to form of yourself. A candidate should be careful about his way of speaking, posture, attitude and the way he carries himself.
A candidate should pitch himself in the best way in the first few minutes, by talking about his experiences in the current job and the factors that attract him to the organisation he is applying to. If one can handle this carefully, the battle is half-won. A candidate should avoid giving the impression that he is leaving his present job because of problems.
Don’t appear desperate
When you want something too much, you get more nervous. HR heads say interviews should be seen as an opportunity to meet and interact with new people, and not as a do-or-die situation. This will dramatically reduce stress.
Asking a question or two in return at the end of an interview, also gives the impression that s/he is not scared or desperate for the job.
Follow interview hygiene
Follow some basic interview hygiene rules. Dress neatly and don’t look tired and sweaty. This will boost your confidence. Never look sleepy or stare at the interviewer.
Candidates wearing weird hairdos, jeans and a casual attitude are rejected right away even though it may seem that the interviewer is showing interest they have usually made up their mind, that people with the casual attitude should rather be dropped casually. And definitely be on time — or even a little early, so you don’t stress yourself out looking for the office. If you are going to be late (which is a very much possible due to traffic or any unforeseen hurdle) or unable to attend for any unforeseeable reason call ahead and let them know. This will show them that you are serious and that you take your commitments seriously. Candidates should wear comfortable clothes, but not be overly fussy with their attire. There are several instances when the clothes become a distraction, and this gets in the way of a better quality of interaction.
That’s when the candidate is in a position of strength. It reflects his genuine interest in the company, and shows him up as a more confident person. The questions can range from the culture of the organisation to any developments in the industry.