The interview process is part of the human experience and something we all go through, and as a psychologist I am particularly interested in the emotional side of people's reactions.
Recently I have been working with totaljobs on the #TheElevatorPitch campaign, which interviewed over 6000 candidates and 150 employers to understand the key pressures experienced during job interviews. It was a great opportunity to work with candidates to help them face their fears and prepare for these life experiences.
Here is advice on how to deal with some of the main hurdles during the interview process:
Building confidence - I believe preparation is the key to confidence, as you will be able to deal with the unexpected and feel more assured going into the interview. We live in a time where it's easy to access information, in terms of the company you're interviewing at, the role, culture and even future colleagues.
This research doesn't take much time and can be the key deciding factor for the interviewer, so do your homework and you will be ready to articulate both your strengths and knowledge in a confident manner. On a practical level, wear the right clothes that reflect both the position you're interviewing for and the organisation. If you look the part, then you will feel the part.
Body Language - This can often be louder than words in terms of communicating your attitude and competencies to your interviewer. There are some basic things to do, to make sure you come across in the best light and build a positive rapport. Smile! It seems easy enough, but when we're nervous we forget.
Also, make good eye contact. It means you're showing respect to other people and making them feel engaged in what you're saying. Control fidgeting with accessories and hair as this indicates nervousness and can be distracting to the other person. Finally, try to mirror the body language of your interviewer as this can put you both at ease from the start and create a natural exchange.
How to overcome interview nerves - So many of us go in with doubt, especially in interview situations. We think of all the things we can't do, as well as all the reasons why we shouldn't be there. Be very aware of this. Try not to listen to the 'internal bully' and challenge all those negative thoughts. You've got just as much right to be there as anyone else. You are there for a reason, you were selected for a reason, so be as positive as you can and enjoy it.
I find music to be one of the best ways to release tension. There are several studies that attest to the fact that listening to the right kind of music can make you run faster, perform better at interviews and even do better in tests. The key is the right type of music - it needs a lot of base. Researchers believe it has something to do with our forefathers associating that kind of depth of voice with strength, so go and update your playlist now!
How to stand out from the crowd and nail that interview -
I would say a combination of the above will already put you in a very good position for a successful interview. For that extra edge I would think of a unique quality about yourself that is different from the generic list. Once you have thought of this, think of how it would apply to the role and organisation in terms of making you the best fit over other candidates.
Also, stay focused on why you're there, why you want the job and what this means to you. One of the best ways to focus is to listen, and be an active listener in what's going on. This will also make your interviewer feel that you're reciprocating, and ensures they don't feel like it's a monologue. Make it a two-way street and show you're genuinely passionate about the job.
Now using the tips above, go and nail that interview.
For further advise on interview tips and #The ElevatorPitch campaign, visit www.totaljobs.com
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