Advice

7 ways to conquer pre-interview jitters

You scored the big interview. Yay and hurrah, and Oh, dear God, what were you thinking? I’m sure you know your stuff, but what happens when you face an interviewer with all the finesse of the grand inquisitor? Preparing in advance is more than half the battle.

1. Prepare the jitters away

“Even the boy scouts know that if you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail,” says billion-dollar dealmaker and business advisor Carol Roth — creator of the Future File legacy planning system. “My life and business is all about preparation and I know that it works wonders for interviews.” To that end, Roth, who’s also a former investment banker advises researching both the company and the interviewers “Prepare answers typical interview questions by looking up top questions online and asking others who may have interviewed with the company before.” And while you’re at it: “Rehearse your answers in a number of different ways — bonus prep points if you get someone to role play as the interviewer with you.”

2. Focus on you

Roth also believes it won’t hurt if you prepare a couple of answers that share specifics and other details you want the interviewers to know about you. “Work them into the answers to typical questions,” Roth advises. “If they aren’t asked, you can always make sure that you offer them as a closing point before you leave the interview.” It’s also a great exercise to help you think on the fly. “The more you prepare, the less nervous you will be and the more able you will be to handle other questions you haven’t yet thought of” Roth said.

3. Know your value

Serial entrepreneur Heather Ann Havenwood said, “Confidence comes from the view that you have value, and you back up that value with performance. In life, we go out looking for opportunities to prove ourselves verses knowing our value.” Remember your worth and you’ll find ways to relax.

4. Use your panic

Even if you’re not into mindfulness, you might find calm in the pages of “Just Sit” A Meditation Guidebook by Sukey and Elizabeth Novogratz. Before you head into a stressful interview, skim through the list on Page 167 where the duo advises people on how to “Do crisis better.” Some of the recommendations include questions you should ask yourself including:

Is this something I have control over?

Is this something I can separate myself from or terminate?

Is this something I can work on?

The questions are deceptively simple. Once you start to ask yourself about it, you’ll realize that you’re probably not as helpless, or without options, as you might feel in the moment.

5. Gain perspective

Of course, you want this job and having that title or office will add both cash and cachet to your life, but in the grand scheme of things, it isn’t everything. “While at the moment of your interview, a potential job may be the biggest thing in your world, it’s not the biggest challenge or opportunity you will ever encounter,” Roth said. “When you think of challenges from sickness, to dealing with aging parents, death and more, it helps put the interview into perspective.” Roth advises thinking about the interview in a larger context, “which can help give you more confidence in tackling it.”

6. Plan a reward for after the interview

Instead of making a mental list of everything that can go wrong during the interview, try to plan what comes next. Maybe it’s cocktails or a massage. It doesn’t have to be big, but it should be fun and a distraction from the butterflies in your stomach.

7. Ask for a drink

If you’re waiting in the vestibule and panicking, ask the person in reception for a glass of water. It will allow you to try on your voice for size (Is your voice shaking? Are you speaking up?) and, in theory, you’ve already begun speaking with someone at the interview. It will also you to build rapport with someone who already works for the company. Make sure your manners are impeccable and you might just build an ally at the company.

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Rachel Weingarten is a marketing & brand strategist and president of 729.marketing. She's a pop culture and trends analyst who frequently writes about business and style and the business of style. Rachel's a sometimes professor, teaching personal branding on the graduate and undergraduate levels. She leads corporate seminars on topics including evolving communication and spirituality in the workplace. Rachel is also the author of three award winning non-fiction books.

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