There are various tactics that you can use to reduce your nerves and bring confidence to job interviews. I want to focus on two in this article.
The most important tactic is to change your mindset about the interview itself.
So many job seekers put a tremendous amount of pressure on themselves for interviews, and rightfully so. Many interviews are conducted with the candidate having no insights into the personalities of the people he or she will be meeting with or what questions he or she will receive. Everything about that is unnerving.
The main thing that you can do is to realize that interviews are a two-way street. You are interviewing the company as much as the company is interviewing you. So many candidates give their power away by assuming that a company has all the control in these situations.
They do not.
Let’s take a moment to look at job openings from a company’s perspective.
Companies hire based on their needs, not their wants. Every legitimate job opening needs to be discussed and approved beforehand as new hires are a significant expense for a company. Once a position is approved, the company then has the task of finding the right candidate.
Companies typically get a ton of résumés to sift through but that does not mean that the right candidate is included in the stack. Furthermore, finding new employees can be stressful for companies and especially the hiring managers; particularly if they are desperate for help.
If a hiring manager’s team is already stretched thin, a larger attrition risk could be a possibility if the personnel openings are not addressed promptly. If that should happen, then the department could be at risk as very few managers will want to have to both rebuild and retrain a brand new team while also trying to move the business forward. Finally, if a company does not act relatively quickly once a headcount is approved, then there is a risk of that allotted headcount being withdrawn because of a frozen or cut budget.
Therefore, if you approach interviews with the understanding that a company does not hold all of the cards in the meeting, because of its own needs and potential risks, then you can be more confident and therefore more relaxed.
Also, interviews are just discussions and nothing more. You have to be impressed with the company just like they need and want to be impressed with you.
The second main thing is to prepare. This may seem painfully obvious but there are candidates out there who do not take the time to learn about the company and its competitors. If the company is public, read their annual report and their 10-K to learn about the highlights as well as the main issues facing the company. Additionally, have a set of answers for standard interview questions that you will very likely get. Showing that you did your homework will go a long way, especially if you feel like you stumbled or gave a weak answer to a question. In the end, the more prepared candidate will stand out.
By changing your mindset and taking the time to learn about a company, you will be able to relax, be confident, and even enjoy the interview process.
And remember, if you don’t like what you’re hearing about the role or the company, or if an interviewer is unprofessional in any way, then you can simply say thanks, but no thanks…and look elsewhere.
You have more power than you realize.