If you’re worrying about a job interview, I have some good news. You’re not alone. Most people worry about interviews. But there’s more good news. A lot of things you’re worrying about may not be all that important to your eventual success.
Now I’m not saying you don’t need to prepare — and a key part of that is actually feeling prepared. But it’s also good to know some things about the interview process itself. And about the mental framework of the folks who interview you.
Remember: Interviewers have their own worries … will they find someone who fits well with the job and company. Hiring the wrong person is both costly and disruptive.
So if you are worrying about a job interview…
I spent many years helping hire people. Besides overseeing the process, I screened resumes, worked with HR, spoke with potential candidates on the phone, and then helped conduct interviews.
But you learn the most by listening to comments from the hiring team. Seeing what things matter to them, what’s easily overlooked, and what impressions stick. In the end, the things you might worry about — and kick yourself for afterward — may not hurt you at all.
Five things you may not know:
- They brought you in because they are hoping you’re the right one. So unless they’re the kind of nasty people you wouldn’t want to work for anyway, they’re basically rooting for you. And will listen carefully to find things you can contribute to the job / team.
- Connecting with the interviewer(s) is as important as any of your answers. People want to hire people they would enjoy working with. And people they can trust to support them — as well as get the work done. Folks they believe can help them find answers, rather than just problems and complaints.
- Conversational is way better than sitting stiff and looking like you’re being grilled — even if you are!
- Lean in, take an extra breath if needed, and just talk to your interviewer like someone who just asked for your help. In a way they did — they want you to help them see how well you fit their company and the job.
- It’s not so much any one answer, but how you leave them feeling. And one answer won’t do you in — unless it’s so horrible even you wouldn’t hire you.
- Question: “What’s you’re greatest strength?”
- Bad answer: “I’m creative. I look for creative ways to get out of doing my own work.”
- An interview begins before you arrive and continues after you leave. Impressions you leave at any point matter big time. How you treat a receptionist. Or any person who answers the phone. Or even someone you think isn’t anyone. The word gets around — especially if you are rude or seem to be high maintenance!
- Treat everyone even remotely related to the company with respect. (Not a bad policy in general.)
- And show a positive, flexible, solutions-oriented attitude to all, as if each one can decide your fate. Because you might be surprised who can.
- Nerves alone won’t lose you the interview — unless it’s a job like brain surgeon. Interviewers expect some nerves. And your best defense against nerves is preparing. (See How To Prepare post mentioned above.)
Still worrying about a job interview?
It’s totally normal. Until it’s over, there’s no way to shake off every single interview nerve. And a little bit of nerves can actually help with your energy. Maybe tell yourself that when you do start to worry. 🙂
But knowledge and familiarity with a process helps, too. So here are some more posts to help — both before, during, and after!