Overcome Fear in a Job Interview
by Ron Kurtus (12 February 2007)
Many people become nervous and even fearful before and during a job interview. This is because of the pressure to do well and to impress the person interviewing you. This is similar to the anxiety people have in public speaking. Your audience may be one person or a team of people who are checking over your qualifications for the job.
Being able to speak well and confidently in an interview will greatly enhance your chances of being hired, while being fearful and uncertain in your interview can easily result in not getting the job. You need to avoid the impression of being nervous during the interview.
Instead, you must prepare for the interview, similar to that for a public speech. Then you should present yourself in a positive manner.
Questions you may have include:
- What impression does a fearful person give?
- How do you prepare for the interview?
- What should you do during the interview?
This lesson will answer those questions.
Impression during interview
One goal of an employer in an interview is to verify the knowledge and skill of the job-seeker and to see how well the person will fit into the work environment. The interview will establish an impression for the employer to make their judgments. A fearful person will usually make a negative impression, while a confident person may make a positive impression.
But note that this impression is not always the correct one, since a person who is nervous in an interview may be a terrific worker, while the confident one may also be lazy or have other unseen faults.
A major cause of fear in an interview is being caught off-guard and not being able to verbalize a good answer. The pressure of trying to make a good impression creates anxiety and then fear.
You may feel anxious and nervous before going into the interview. Once the questions start, some people relax, but others can start to sweat and almost lose the ability to speak.
You may know the answers, but you are worried about making a mistake or forgetting something, especially when speaking at this important occasion. It is the great desire to get the job and the desire to impress that puts the pressure on you.
The person giving the interview may feel that if the person is so nervous in telling about his or her skills, that person may not be telling the truth or may be exaggerating. Also, there can be questions whether a person so nervous can fit into the work environment.
Certainly, you do not want to give such an impression.
On the other hand, a person who is confident in his or her skills and who is comfortable talking to other people will often make a positive impression on those performing the interview.
Unfortunately, there are some who are overconfident, who have a large ego, or who have the "gift of gab" in being able to brag about themselves, that they can deceive the employer.
You want to overcome any fears you have and be able to present yourself in an honest and competent manner to show you are the best person for the job. What you need to do is to prepare for the interview and then follow positive steps during the interview.
Preparation for interview
Before you go on a job interview, you need to thoroughly prepare.
Research company and job
You should do research on the company and the job for which you are applying. Then gather together a listing of all experience and education you have related to this position.
Just as a public speaker practices a speech before giving it to a large audience, you need to practice what you plan to say during an interview. The big difference between giving a speech and an interview is that you are usually responding to questions in the interview.
Have a friend act as the person holding the interview with you. Your friend can then ask typical questions that you will answer, as if in a real interview. Example questions can be:
- "Why do you want this job?"
- "How does your experience relate to the work we do?"
- "Tell me about your goals."
- "What value can you bring our company?"
There are also other questions related to the specific position you are seeking.
By practicing answering these questions, you are practicing your speech to your audience. This will get you more comfortable and confident in your abilities.
Have backup material
It is good to bring some samples of work you have done, as a backup. You may not need to show the material, but if there is a question that you can't answer, you might refer to the material. You should also have your resume' handy to refer to, if necessary. Knowing you have this material handy will act as a safety net in case you are worried about forgetting something.
Once the interview process starts, you should try to relax, listen thoughtfully and get them to like you.
Before going into the interview, take a deep breath to center yourself and get relaxed. Take your time. If you act anxious and ready to start the process, you will get anxious and nervous.
You need to be very aware of the people interviewing you and their moods. You need to listen carefully and act is if he or she is the most important person.
Some people being interviewed talk too much, trying to make a big impression. But often the person doing the interview is the one who wants to talk and control the dialog. You need to listen carefully to what the person says and not be overly anxious to impress. Listening will allow you to answer the questions better.
Get them to like you
It is important to get the people involved in the interview to like you. You want to present yourself as a friendly person that they would like to have on their team.
Arrogance or some other negative personality trait may not be appreciated. Certainly, never point out personal opinions or weaknesses you may think you have.
Note that a common question asked in an interview is: "Tell me your weaknesses." You need to prepare to answer that question with a positive remark. An example may be: "One weakness is that I try to do a perfect job. I may even do extra work to make sure the job is excellent."
You want to be natural in your job interview and not fearful or arrogant. You need to thoroughly prepare for the interview. Then you should present yourself in a positive manner, avoiding the impression of being nervous. Relax, listen thoughtfully and get them to like you. Following these steps will help you do a good job in your interview and will help to overcome any fears you may have.
Prepare for excellence
Resources and references
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Overcome Fear in a Job Interview