The Confident Job Interview

Job interview jitters – we all get them no matter how many times we’ve done them. The shaking, sweaty palms, stuttering and forgetting all the answers that you worked so hard to prepare for. But here’s the trick to make a long, lasting impression even if you’re shaking in your boots. Look confident on the outside and know how to hide your nervousness.

Arrive early to the interview


Get there 10 to 15 minutes before your interview starts so you have time to calm your nerves and soak in the atmosphere. If you arrive right on time, you’ll be disheveled and before you know it, you’re in front of the interviewer before having the chance to practice the interview questions. That 10 to 15 minutes of your life could be the game changer in your confidence during the job interview.

Make eye contact with the interviewer


Looking at the person while talking shows confidence in many different ways. It shows that you are confident with yourself, the things you are talking about and the overall situation. Like we mentioned earlier, you don’t have to feel confident, but you have to look confident. Make eye contact and throw in a couple smiles here and there to hide how nervous you really are.

Pause. Collect your thoughts

Sometimes when people get nervous they tend to speak faster and ramble on. To avoid this, use a few seconds to think about your answer after the interviewer asks the question. Pause between sentences to collect your thoughts if you have to. It’s ok to take your time to answer the question. Hiring managers are human too and don’t you want a well, thought out answers instead of something that doesn’t make any sense?

Pretend you’re trying to get to know the other person

This is easier said than done, but pretend it’s not an interview and just a casual conversation between you and someone you’re getting to know. This will ease your mind and take the pressure off. Get the fact that it’s a job interview out of your head (but still remain professional).

Need Some Help Decoding The Hiring Process?

Need Some Help Decoding The Hiring Process?

When it comes to getting hired, the whole process can feel like a bit of a mystery. How, in fact, do you stand out from the crowd in that pile of resumes? Why does one person get noticed over any other person? And then if you do end up getting an interview, what about that process leads a hiring director to choose one person over another?

You’re not the only one who is confused. Most jobs get about 250 resumes per application, and hiring directors typically whittle that down to about six candidates. Once they do that, then it comes to in-person time and that’s really where you can find some tips to lead you to success in your next interview. For example, can you and do you make eye contact? Then that’s an automatic positive in the eyes of the person doing the hiring. What else can you do? This graphic has some ideas.

 

What is Your Greatest Strength?

What is Your Greatest Strength?

What is Your Greatest Strength?

Of the many questions you’re likely to be asked during a job interview– like Where do you see yourself in 5 years  or Tell me about yourself, What is your greatest strength seems like one of the easier ones. Don’t take it too lightly. This question gives you the opportunity to really sell yourself and your abilities, and, more than the others, is designed to see if you’re the right fit for the job.

Do Your Research

The first thing you want to do is some research. Find out what the company values. What traits do they look for in employees? Take a look at the job description and see what the job requirements are. What seem to be the most important ones? Choose strengths that align with those traits. 

Quality Over Quantity

When it comes time for you to consider what strengths you want to mention at your interview, focus on quality rather than quantity. Mentioning a whole host of things you consider yourself good at only shows you’re not great at anything. Focusing on only a couple things you consider your strengths will allow you to paint a stronger picture of yourself and those talents.

Back It Up

When you’ve picked the strengths that best suit the job and position, make sure you have specific stories you can use to demonstrate those qualities. Talk about how and where you developed the skills and instances where they have proven useful. It’s easy to say you have a given strength, it’s much more impressive when you can give specific examples.

Example

About: Careers has a couple examples of how to best answer this question, here’s one: 

 

I am a skilled salesman with over ten years of experience. I have exceeded my sales goals every quarter and I’ve earned a bonus each year since I started with my current employer.

 

In this short example, a strength is given, and followed up with proof. Do the same, and you’ll knock this interview question out of the park. Good Luck!

Avoid These Common Job Interview Mistakes

Avoid These Common Job Interview MistakesAvoid These Common Job Interview Mistakes facebook

Some people are natural born communicators and excel at job interviews. Nervousness and inexperience cause many more to stumble through them – especially when first starting out in the job market. By learning about common interview mistakes you can make sure to steer clear!

 

Answer a ringing phone

First off, always turn your phone off before heading into an interview! A phone that’s left on for during the interview tells the interviewer that you aren’t fully invested in the interview. If for some reason you forget and it rings, do not answer it.

 

Lose track of your body language

Some people concentrate so hard on the answers to questions being put to them they lose track of the message being sent by their body. Their crossed arms, fidgeting hands, and tapping feet are all communicating nervousness and distraction. Remember to sit up straight. Hold on to your hands if you have to. Smile and look into your interviewer’s eyes.

 

Unprofessional attire

The world certainly isn’t as formal as it used to be. However, that doesn’t mean you can dress down for an interview. Business casual is appropriate.

 

Negativity

You might have left your previous job because of a toxic environment but a current interview is no place to bring that up. Avoid any negative talk because it always reflects back on you. You can say it was not a good fit then mention something positive from the experience. Something you learned or an experience you had.

 

Lack of preparation

You should be able to answer all questions put to you clearly and decisively. If you drop a lot of uumms and ahhs you sound unprofessional and ill prepared. Do your homework. Review common interview questions and their answers. Have interesting, tangible things to say about your experiences and qualifications. Be specific. By implementing a new work flow I was able to raise productivity by 12% over the course of six months.

 

No thank you note

An interview, whether you think you did a stellar job or not, always ends with a thank you note. Thank the interviewer for their time, remind them of an interesting point of discussion and finish by reiterating how excited you are about the opportunity.

Strong Answers to Greatest Weakness Question

SStrong Answers to Greatest Weakness Question

You’re excited about your upcoming job interview. Your qualifications match up with the job description. You’ve had your eye on this company for a while. You believe the experiences you bring to the table can be of great benefit to the organization. There’s just one thing that worries you. The greatest weakness question. You don’t know whether or not they’ll ask it, but you’ve never felt comfortable answering it when it’s come up in the past.

 

Not really looking for weaknesses

The interviewer isn’t asking the question to determine what possible issues they’ll have to deal with by bringing you on. Rather they want to see how you handle demanding,  awkward or uncomfortable situations. Can you recognize when something needs to be changed or addressed? Are you someone who focuses on problems or solutions?

 

Find what’s positive in the negative

If for instance you’ve had issues prioritizing in the past, don’t answer with I have trouble with organization. Talk about how you recognized the problem and steps you took to improve. When I began my last job, I had trouble finishing my allotted tasks on time. I realized I my attention was being diverted with less significant time-consuming issues like answering emails and returning phone calls. I learned to prioritize my days by focusing on the most important undertakings first and created daily schedules for attention diverting tasks so they would stop interrupting the flow of my days.

 

There is room for improvement in everyone

The worst thing you can do with this question is to avoid it by saying you’ve been working on yourself for so long and so hard you don’t have a weakness. Or nothing springs immediately to mind. Next worst are when you try and turn a positive trait into a negative. My job ends up taking priority over the rest of my life. Those kinds of answers sound insincere and dishonest.

 

Before going into the interview think long and hard about situations you’ve overcome and how. Incorporate your greatest weakness answer into one of those.

Late Arrival Doesn’t Have to Kill the Interview

Late Arrival Doesn’t Have to Kill the Interview

Lateness happens. Buses don’t come, traffic is awful, trains are slow. It’s not always your fault, but on your way to important meetings like interviews, it can seem that way. Here are some ways to not crash and burn if you’re late to your interview.

Keep your cool

The top tip, as always is, don’t freak out. That’s generally good advice for interviews. No matter what happens, keep your cool. No matter how late you are, remain calm.

Make the call

If you know you won’t make it time, then as soon as you have access to a phone give them a call. Apologize. Tell them what’s going on and let them know when they can expect you. Don’t make excuses. “Sheesh THE 22 BUS, HUH?” Is not going to earn you brownie points.

Take responsibility. Admit it was your mistake and apologize, but don’t go overboard. Life gets in the way all the time. People understand.

Stay confident

It’s important to recover and remain confidant. This is a test to see how you will react if you’re ever late for work – it’s a test to see how you will react under pressure.

Don’t pull into the location, run in and arrive flustered and out of breath. Before you take yourself through those doors take a minute and re-center yourself with a few deep breaths. Remind yourself of exactly why you are a great candidate for this job. Do a quick run though of all the questions and answers you already prepared for this interview. Put a smile on your face.

 

Apologize again briefly at the start of the interview and tell a lame joke if you can. Remind yourself, one day this will be a great story about your introduction to your new job.

So, if you’re running late for an interview don’t break a sweat about it. Act calm and professional, they’ll be impressed by your grace under fire.

Three Questions In Every Job Interview

Three Questions In Every Job Interview

Every job interview is different, but in a way every interview is also the same. There are certain questions you will almost certainly be asked and others that may throw you for a loop. By preparing strong, well thought out answers the ones you know you’ll be asked you’ll feel more confident about taking on the surprises.

 

Tell me about yourself

The interviewer is going to want to know about you, and they’re going to ask about your goals and hobbies. Have something short and to the point planned out to say. It’s hard to summarize yourself in general, and even harder to do on the spot. Come up with interesting examples of things you’ve done/learned that encapsulate the most important things you’d like to get across in the space of a single answer.

 

Walk me through your resume

They might not exactly come right out and ask you to walk them through your resume but they will certainly want clarification and elaboration on what you’ve written. Prepare something, again, quick and to the point to say about each paragraph. Also come up with something a little bit longer about whatever is most impressive. Your most salient selling point.

 

Why do you want this job?

This is where you need to most thoroughly plan out your answer. The other two are about you and your accomplishments, for the most part questions about your past. This one focuses on the future and potential and possibilities. You certainly don’t want to stumble here, so take some time beforehand and figure it out. Don’t ramble or go off on tangents. Explain your thoughts in concise, well thought out detail.

 

Now that you’ve prepared answers to the questions you know they’re going to ask it’s time to prepare for the questions they might ask!

Learn To Convey Your Strengths During the Interview

Learn To Convey Your Strengths During the Interview

There are all kinds of reasons that interviews don’t go well. Sometimes it’s as simple as you weren’t the best candidate for the position. However sometimes you were the best person for the job. You missed out because you were too nervous to present yourself in your best light. Or you weren’t able to convey just how perfect you were to the interviewer.

Let your power shine through

Let’s start with the nervous part. Most of us get nervous in competitive or stressful situations. But there are ways of tricking your body into actually feeling more confident. It’s all about creating a feeling of power and strength within yourself. You can do that with power poses. Striking a pose of power and holding it.

For example, before the interview, stand like Wonder Woman. Feet apart, hands on your hips, chin up. Take up space, breathe in and hold. You will start feeling more confident.

Or stand like a star athlete. Feet apart, arms above your head, fingers spread wide – like you just won the race of your life and hold.

Amy Cutty who has a Ted Talk online about how our body language shapes who we are talks about studies that have demonstrated the benefits of standing like a super hero. Testosterone increases significantly cortisol drops, people feel ready to take on more risks, their pain threshold his higher. They also think more abstractly and are more likely to do well in stressful situations – like job interviews.

 

Move from the general to the specific

While preparing for an interview people will often go online to research the sorts of questions they will be asked. Then they memorize the best way to answer them. The problem with that is they come off sounding rehearsed and mechanical in the interview.

 

The interviewer doesn’t want to hear the perfect answer to a question. They want to hear your answer to the question. That means read how you should answer the question then create an answer based on your experiences and qualifications.

 

Why are you perfect for the position?

You might not get asked this question specifically, but ultimately every question you are asked is working toward answering it. Think about your motivations, your strengths, your values, your personality. Bring those into every answer. Come up with examples from your life and your experiences. Make it personal. The more personal you make it the more confident you’ll sound.

 

You look confident, you sound confident. If you’re a perfect fit for the job, the interviewer will know it.

Prepare Your References At The Beginning of Your Job Search

Prepare Your References At The Beginning of Your Job Search

You are on a job search. You will most likely eventually be asked for references. The time to prepare for that is now, before your interviews start. Not in a knee jerk response for a request.

 

The basics

At minimum a potential employer will want to confirm you had the job you say you had. They’ll ask about your dates of employment and title. They might also ask what you were like as an employee. Were you punctual? Did you take initiative? What was your attitude like?

 

If you provide a reference that will only give the basics, then don’t expect any fireworks on the part of your prospective employer. You want your references to be able to speak highly and positively about skills and experiences, but you also want them to hold credibility. The singing praises of your cubical mate aren’t going to get you far. The same words from a supervisor are good. If your previous boss is willing to vouch for you that’s even better. If you are a recent grad a professor can attest to your abilities and drive. In general, you want to have two or three professional references you can count on as references.

 

Credibility factor

When thinking about people we could call on as references, it’s important to consider how much weight their words will carry. If your reference is an expert in something related to what you are applying for that’s amazing. Someone who has seen you do (and excel at) a variety of different things will be able to speak confidently about your abilities.

 

Prepare them well in advance

The time to let someone know you are including them as a reference is early on in your job search. Give them time to think about you and what you can bring to the table. When you know they might be called on, give them a call. Let them know the kind of job you are applying for and the sorts of things you would like them to focus on. Confirm when it would be convenient for someone to contact them so they have time to give the reference their full attention.

 

Now that you’ve prepared your references, go out and get yourself in a position to need them!

The Key To A Successful Interview is Preparation

The Key To A Successful Interview is Preparation

No matter how qualified you are, what great school you attended, or how amazing your experiences, you cannot go into a job interview and just wing it. People do not hire statistics or qualifications they hire people. They hire people they like, people who inspire them, people who impress them with potential. Use these tips to set yourself apart from the pack at your next interview.

 

Who is interviewing you?

Find out the name of the person interviewing you beforehand. Discover what you can about them. Check them out on LinkedIn. Google them. Have something you can say about them in conversation. While you’re at it do the same thing for the company.

 

Practice makes perfect

Get online and find a list of the most common interview questions and how to answer them. Once you’ve figured out what you want to say get yourself in front of a mirror and practice your answers. Take note of your facial expression. Check to see that you look relaxed and confident.

 

Remember they have your resume in front of them so don’t just repeat what you wrote down there. Expand with stories of how you made a difference in your previous job or at school. Provide qualitative evidence. Productivity increased by 25% during the 8 months of my leadership.

 

Have a few off-resume things you can throw in there to humanize you. A hobby or a volunteer initiative you partake in.

 

Plan your route before hand

Don’t just plan your route to the interview an hour before you’re scheduled to arrive. The day before check what traffic is usually like at that time. Ensure there aren’t any road closures. Make sure you plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early.

 

Google yourself

Before starting your job search, you should absolutely Google yourself. If there’s anything you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see then get rid of it. Make sure your online image is as professional as the person who walks in for the interview.

 

Make a good impression with everyone you meet

From the receptionist to anyone you meet in the hallways or elevator, smile and present your best self. You don’t know who is in charge or who has who’s ear. Plus although you always want to present your best self, it’s doubly important in interview situations.

 

Dress like you already have the job

Imagine yourself already in the position. How do you dress? How do you hold yourself? Embody that person. Be that person.

 

Prepare copies of your resume

You never know when you might need a hard copy of your resume. You might be interviewed by more than one person. The person interviewing you might only have your resume on the computer and need a hard copy. By having extra copies on hand you give the impression of a person prepared for any situation.

 

Turn your phone off

Of course you realize your phone should be off during the interview, but what if while waiting in the lobby scrolling through your phone you get distracted and forget to turn it off? Set a reminder to turn it off five or ten minutes before the interview starts so you don’t forget.

 

Listen to the questions

Prior to the interview you will have practiced answers to questions you anticipate. Once you think you know what they are going to ask you might be tempted to launch in with your amazing answer. Wait. Listen carefully to what they are asking and what they are saying. Ensure you are answering the question they are asking. If during your conversation you realize they are interested in things different from what you prepared, revise your answer accordingly. A conversation is as much about listening as speaking.

 

Finish with flair

No interview is over until the thank you note has been sent. Highlight something memorable from your interview, something that made you both smile or that wowed them. Reiterate your interest in the position and wait for the acceptance!