I wrote this in response to a question from a gentleman who gets very anxious and tongue-tied in job interviews. He was asking for suggestions. I was one of a thread responding. Someone suggested he get medication. I wrote: do not take any medication that is different from what you would normally take. You need to have your brain fully available to you.
I like what Jeff Durbin (another person who answered on this man’s thread) has offered: you are having a dialogue with people who want to hire you.
Personally, I think job interviewing is one of the more horrible tasks in life. But, it has to be done - so here are a few things to consider.
1: There is a necessary quid pro quo. They have something to offer you that you may or may not want. You have something to offer them that they may or may not want. The relationship - the value - needs to feel mutual for both sides.
2: Therefore, you have as much power in the situation as they do. You get to say YES or NO depending on how you like the company, the job, the compensation, etc. Don't ever give away your own power.
3: Know what you have to offer - be clear about your skills, talents, experience and even go so far as to write them all out in talking points (bullet point for you power point folk) for yourself. You wouldn't be interviewing for this job if you didn't have what they need.
4: As much as you might think this is the last possible opportunity in the world, it isn't. If this one doesn't work out - there are others. Think about this as shopping. Just as you would go through a rack of clothes to find the one or two that suit your need, style, personality, etc., you and the prospective employer are shopping for the perfect fit as well. If there isn't a match - it doesn't mean there is anything wrong with those that were not selected.
5: Practice, practice, practice. If you can, get a coach or mentor who is experienced in helping people learn how to interview better to work with you.
6: Join an organization that helps people out of work. Here in Silicon Valley I know of two very good ones that are volunteer and don't cost money - CSIX and ProMatch. There are also church groups that work with people in transition.
7: You are not alone. Job interviewing is something almost everyone except charming super-sales people loathe.
8: Learn some relaxation techniques. Breathing exercises, jumping jacks, even a walk around the parking lot before you go into the interview will all help you calm down some.
9: Dress your best. Make sure your personal grooming is perfect. Dress up at least one level from how you would dress if you were working in the company. You can ask when setting up the interview time what their dress code is - so if it is casual don't wear a suit or tie, but do wear professional neat, clean and attractive clothing. If it is not an organization that makes a point of casualness, wear your professional best. If you look your best you will feel better.
10: Come early. Do not rush to get to the interview. Allow yourself plenty of extra time. There will be traffic delays and all kinds of stupid things that will take some of the time away from your plan to go one mile a minute. Leave plenty of extra time so that doesn't add to your stress. Worst case scenario - you will arrive too early to walk in the door. So take a walk.