Sweaty palms. Heart beating fast. The noise around you seems a little garbled. You’re nervous. You’re patiently (or not so patiently) waiting for your name to be called. You finally hear your name and you take a deep breath before standing and turning around, forcing yourself to smile, hoping that it looks less feral than it feels. You need to make a good impression because the person you are smiling at could be your boss…
Interviewing can be the absolute worst experience. However, it doesn’t need to be. Here are three ways you can make your interviewing experiences great (or at least less terrible).
First—prepare. That may seem cliché, but preparation can go a long way to calming your nerves when it comes to interviewing. Alexander Graham Bell said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” You can prepare for your interview in a number of ways:
- Ask your friends to do a mock interview with you
- Use daily affirmations to motivate yourself
- Spend some time getting ready and choosing your outfit
- Listen to upbeat and motivational music on your way to the interview
- Create PAR stories before you go. Create at least two of these stories that you can comfortably share at a moments notice. Make the stories short and simple.
Note. A PAR story is a story where you outline a problem, an action, and a resolution. To create one of these stories, look back at your experiences and identify a place where you faced a problem or a challenge. What action did you take to rectify the problem or create a solution? How did the problem get resolved? What benefits came from your work on the issue?
All of these things will help you feel more comfortable and ready when the actual interview starts, which will in turn allow you to put your best foot forward during the interview.
Second—learn about the company. When you know absolutely nothing about a company, it absolutely shows (trust me). The interviewer will be impressed if you have some sort of knowledge about the company and what the company’s goals are. By learning about the company, you are showing the interviewer that you care, this can also help you avoid any curveball questions about things you would improve about the company if you worked there. Spend some time figuring out what you like and don’t like about the company. Having genuine answers will help you be more yourself, which leads us into the third point.
Third—be yourself. When you are interviewing, it is often so tempting to put on a front, trying to present yourself in a certain way. This can be good, to an extent. Make sure you are showing your best self, but don’t take it so far as to try to be something you’re not. Allow your quirks to show through. This is especially important because if you get hired, you don’t want everyone to be surprised when they have to re-meet the actual you on your first day of work.
When you are done with the interview, leave the interview knowing you did your very best. Leave everything from the interview, the stress, the nerves, and any other emotions behind when you leave. You did your best! That’s what matters. Remember that even if you don’t get hired, you did get more experience and learned about what you can do better in your next interview.
Interviewing doesn’t have to be bad. You can make each of your interviews an experience to learn and an experience to grow. Don’t sell yourself short, sell yourself well. You’re going to do great!
Written by Annie Petersen.