You’ve just landed an interview for your dream job. Congratulations! Now all you have to do is hold your nerve and give yourself an opportunity to shine. Having fluffed my lines under pressure a few times, I know it’s no fun. Here are my top tips for handling job interviews with ease and confidence.
1) Act like you’ve already got the job
I’m not encouraging you to be presumptive here. But let’s say you’re interviewing for a Marketing Director position. You need to answer the interviewer’s questions as if you already have the job. What do I mean by that? Well a common mistake job candidates make is to answer questions from the perspective of their current role. This is appropriate when talking about past events of course. But when you’re asked ‘what would you do in this situation’ what the interviewer really wants to know is, if we give you this job how are you going to handle it? It’s the future version of you they’re interested in, not the here and now. So instead of launching into your answer right away, ask yourself, what would the new head of marketing do? Respond as if you are that person already and you are much more likely to impress.
2) Deliver a compelling case
When you want to persuade someone to take a particular course of action – like hire you for example, you’ve got to create a compelling case to make them say yes. Don’t rely on your sparkling personality to seal the deal (although that’s important too). You need to lay the groundwork before you head into your meeting. Think about accomplishments you’re really proud of. Make sure the examples you choose highlight your strengths and the value you have to offer and when you recount them, focus on the actions you took and the results of those actions (this comes from the STAR approach, read more here). You need to sell the interviewer on the benefits of hiring you. It also really helps to think of yourself as a product.
3) Don’t forget to breathe
When the pressure is on, you’re feeling anxious and you need to do a lot of the talking, it’s easy to get a little out of breath. We tend to take shallow breaths when we’re anxious which makes us feel worse, but if you focus on breathing into your stomach instead it will have an instant calming effect. Here is a great article from Zen Habits about how to calm down and breathe.
Those are my top tips for handling job interviews with confidence.
How do you keep your cool in high pressure situations?