We have all been there and too familiar with this situation. No matter who you are, interviewing for a job can be stressful Ė but why? There are a few reasons and the stress makes sense when you analyze them. First, you would not be interviewing if it were not something you had at least a little interest in. You feel out of control in an interview. You feel like the manager holds most of the cards and it is not a good feeling. Second, you are potentially setting yourself up for serious rejection. Nobody likes rejection. Third, you could fail. No matter how good you are, you could forget all the great things you rehearsed driving to the interview. You might not execute on your plan and you are not used to being a failure. Lastly, you might be humiliated. What if you say something stupid? What if you are asked a question that you canít answer? What if the manager calls you a big dummy and kicks you out of his office Ė well some of you might have those thoughts.
These thoughts are not justified. You need to change your mind set. You have to remember the hiring manager is at least a little nervous too. He/she does not really want to do this interview anymore than you. They are having some of the same thoughts and stresses that you are. They are really no more in control than you, even if they have home field advantage. You are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.
This is an idea that the more sophisticated interviewee thinks about: You are interviewing them too. Once you understand this and really believe it, you can now calm down in the interview. When you are calm and more relaxed, you will be more successful in your interviews.
Here are some tips to use in an interview.
Tip 1: Make Small Talk
As soon as you meet the hiring manager in the lobby (after a firm hand shake and a smile) start making small talk. Ask a lot of ďopen endedĒ questions. These are questions that start with: Who, What, Why, Which, Tell Me, Describe. Donít be annoying Ė let the manager ask you questions as well. These initial questions should be small talk. Where are you from? How long have you worked here? That receptionist was great and very helpful, how long has she worked here? Make sure you sound genuinely interested in the answers to your questions.
Tip 2: Make The Managers Job Easy
Be happy and upbeat. Managers hate it when asking questions is like pulling teeth. They also dislike it when a candidate is dull and has little personality. If you donít have much of a personality, you had better find a way to turn it on if you want the job. Remember, they feel a little awkward too. Make their job easier by smiling, being upbeat, giving more than a one word answer to each question. Elaborate but donít write a book. Being happy and upbeat is infectious. The more pleasant the manger feels around you, the more likely it is they will hire you.
Tip 3: Ask Good Questions
Donít make the manager ask you all the questions. You should go into every interview with a list of 7-12 good questions. You should have them memorized, but also written down. Some of your questions should demonstrate to them your motivation level. After you get done answering one of their questions, ask them a question in return. Get them talking about their company. They will tell you exactly what they are looking for if you know the art of asking questions. Ask questions like: How long have you worked here? Why did you join the firm? What do you like most? What do you attribute your success to? What would you change if you could? Could you describe the perfect employee? If I were hired, what could I do to make your job easier? What are you really looking for in a hire? What do employees do that frustrate you most?