For the Job Seeker – Advice from a Recruiting Expert
Do you find that the words “job interview” cause you to start sweating with nervous anticipation? Or perhaps losing sleep at night? You are not alone.
The path to winning your next career opportunity can appear to be a minefield that could end your next step in the selection process. This article will help you with the anxiety of stepping into the interview process with a step by step approach to give you confidence and make you shine!
First change the conversation in your mind – do not think “JOB INTERVIEW” in all caps, but convert the thought to “BUSINESS MEETING.” Put this thought into your mind, “How can I help the company achieve its goals by hiring me?” When you think of the upcoming event as a business meeting about you and how you can help the company, it converts the context of what will take place. When you are in a business meeting as part of your normal work, you most likely do not feel the same level anxiety or sense of unease. Being comfortable and confident in yourself is key to doing well in the job interview.
Irene Marshall, MBA, is a Career Coach and Resume Writer based in the SF Bay Area. Her firm, Tools for Transition, helps people navigate through the job search process. She helps coach individuals on career paths and career transitions. She says, “I think a lot of times when people get nervous about an interview, it’s because they haven’t prepared. People sometimes will get defensive and insecure. I think the way to fix that is pretty straightforward. Properly preparing [as for any business meeting] takes a few steps. There are three specific things you can do.”
Marshall goes on to say that by structuring your preparation for the interview into the following strategy, you can give yourself a professional edge to present yourself in the best possible way.
- RESEARCH: Go to company’s website – look for its “site map”- which is usually located at the bottom of the Home Page. The site map will show you the structure of the website. It will tell you how the company is presenting itself. Take some time to do your research; go into the interview with as much information about the company – including press releases and financial statements. It will become clear that you’ve done your homework. You will speak intelligently about the company. If there is not a site map, or it is a private company that does not share much information publicly, go through each page on the website to study. Other online research tools include Google, Glassdoor, the company’s Facebook page, other social media, and news articles about the firm. Look up executives and people who work at the company via LinkedIn. Research in 3 Categories – About the Company, About the Job, About the People.
- ANALYZE: Why should they hire you over someone else? Why should someone hire you? Bring in to the interview 3 reasons why you should get hired. Analyze the job description this way. Look at verbs (what you can do) and nouns (what you know). Take the written job description, and sentence by sentence look at verbs and nouns, and analyze accordingly. Then create the value statements on why to hire you.
- CONTACTS: Who you know can express your market value. Talking to people you know in the industry can give you valuable information about how to relate to the company. Not name dropping, but sharing that you have a strong base of contacts that could add value to the company hiring you. Your existing network may be related to the type of work you do. It is vital if your role is in sales or business development. For other roles that are more related to operations, accounting/finance, or what is sometimes referred to as “back office” functions, the idea of relating your contacts to the role in the company may simply be that you are considered a subject matter expert among peers. You have demonstrated your value in your field.
Lastly, listening is immensely important to any successful business meeting. When you are there to present yourself and your qualifications use the preparation you’ve done in advance to fuel your answers to the interviewer’s questions. Use your research to create a meaningful dialogue about you and how your knowledge, skills, and abilities can help the company.
One great way to showcase this is after the traditional Q&A of an interview ask, “How can I help you achieve your goals during the first 90 days of being hired here?” This is a proactive question that shows you are service-minded to the team and organization, but are also thinking about how you can contribute immediately.
Often times the constructs of the job interview are an artificial assessment of how you will actually be in the job day to day. This is not the reality of what your job will be like, but a preview of what it could be. By changing your thinking and perceptions of the job interview, you will feel more confident and present a more focused, relaxed true representation of you.
When you convert the job interview into a business meeting about you and your unique skills, it changes the way you will feel stepping into the process. This process can lead to you winning the job!