Let’s Settle Those Interview Jitters

If you’ve got the interview jitters and you’d like to calm your nerves, let’s get on top of some of the issues that can get to the best of job seeking applicants.

“I understand that negotiating is part of the interview process, but I don’t know why I should bother.  After all, employers know what they’re willing to pay and that’s what they’re going to offer, right?”

Employers know what they are willing to pay. They don’t know what they’re going to offer until they’ve had opportunity to evaluate the benefits each candidate presents. Therefore, it’s up to you to provide a written accounting of your quantifiable, verifiable, and applicable accomplishments, and to communicate how your team-leading, problem- solving, time- saving, and money- making abilities have the potential of improving their bottom line.  The better you present and sell your strengths, the better offer you’re likely to get. That means you’re negotiating from the minute you enter the building to the last phrase you utter as you leave.

Let’s settle those interview jitters!

“I know I’m too reserved for my own good. I’ve never been one to talk about myself, whether I’m at social gatherings or in professional meetings. I feel at a loss when the focus is on me, what I’ve accomplished, and how I can make a difference to a prospective employer. What can I do?”

Tell the interviewer what other folks say about you. “My colleagues describe me as very goal focused, determined, and willing to do what it takes to meet company objectives. My boss tells me that I have more integrity, and am more reliable and trustworthy than most employees he’s worked with, and he’s been at this for over 20 years.”

If you can’t speak for yourself, let others speak for you by speaking through you.

Let’s settle those interview jitters!

“I’ve been told that I have an intimidating, intense, arrogant, interpersonal style. I want to come across as intelligent, not threatening. I’m starting to second-guess myself, afraid that I’ll scare away prospective employers. The problem is, now I feel awkward, trying to be someone that I’m not.  How can I find the right balance?”

For starters, relax that intensity. Smile more, listen more, and ask for the other person’s opinion rather than being so quick to offer your own.  Instead of nailing your answer (and possibly the hide of the questioner) respond with inclusive language (“here’s how we’ve done it in the past”; “here are some ways we can approach this issue as we go forward”). Instead of dominating the conversation, acting as though you have all the answers, take more time to ask questions and listen, thoughtfully, to the answers that you get.

Do your homework and ask a variety of questions about the company, the challenges they face, and the specific role they need you to play. Describe your abilities as they relate to their challenges as well as their opportunities.

Let’s settle those interview jitters!

“I was fired from my last two jobs. I’m concerned that if interviewers find out I’ve been canned, twice, I’ll be eliminated from consideration. Should I tell the interviewer what’s happened and hope for the best, or sidestep any questions about my past performance and hope that I’m not found out?”

Take inventory of what you’ve learned from your experiences so you’re not apt to repeat your mistakes. For example, if you go after jobs that require more technical expertise than you have ability, get the appropriate training or avoid jobs with those requirements. If your attitude has gotten you in trouble, get the advice you need to understand how to act and react differently, given the same circumstances. The interviewer wants to know what you can do for them so don’t wallow in the waste of what you didn’t do for others.

Rehearse, by keeping your explanations simple, honest, and straightforward. Once you’ve gotten your act together, interview with courage and confidence.

The best remedy for interview jitters is to get the help you need and apply the help you get. Practice with objective, knowledgeable, and supportive individuals who are willing to provide the insight and feedback you need to make your case and have it heard.

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Joyce Richman (www.joycerichman.com) has been specializing in executive and career coaching since she started her own practice in 1982. She works in a variety of environments including: higher education, manufacturing, sales, marketing, media, technology, pharmaceuticals, medicine, banking and finance, service, IT, and non-profit sectors. A member of the adjunct faculty at the Center for Creative Leadership, Joyce is certified to administer a number of feedback and psychological instruments. Joyce has appeared regularly on WFMY-TV and is the career columnist for The Greensboro News & Record. She is the author of Roads, Routes and Ruts: A Guidebook to Career Success and co-author of Getting Your Kid Out of the House and Into a Job. A popular speaker, Richman conducts seminars and workshops throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. Her coaching profile can be found at TheCoachingAssociation.com.