The hardest part about the holidays is returning to reality after they’re over. For many students, this means returning to the job search. College seniors are especially likely to reach a near frenzy as the realization dawns that soon they will be finished with school and in desperate need of a career.
With so many other things to worry about, one thing that shouldn’t be on your holiday plate is interview-nerves. While it’s only natural to be a little nervous in interviews, our experts lay out their best tips on how to manage interview-nerves, because the rest of your holiday should not be spent in anxiety.
The first place to begin taming interview-nerves is by doing your research. No one says it better than Bryan, a Hiring Expert at IBM Corporation: “The best way to calm your nerves is to research the organization you are interviewing with. Nothing impresses a manager more than a candidate that has taken the time to know the organization, its offerings and its employees. Research the people who will be interviewing you and their roles within the organization. The more prepared you are, the more confident you’ll be in responding to their questions.”1
Pay special attention to the company’s social media to see what events the company is boasting, and don’t be afraid to look at other people’s mentions of the company to get a real feel for its public perception.
If you are told the name of your interviewer in advance, always look him or her up on LinkedIn. Because profiles on LinkedIn are public, you will be able to view the interviewer's background without being connected. Knowing about both the company’s background and latest achievements as well as those of your interviewer will help you to be less nervous in the interview.
Most interviews nowadays ask similar questions, usually with at least one behavioral-style question. As Steve, a Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., points out, “The point of these questions is that your past behavior is a good predictor of your future behavior. In each question, the interviewer is looking for the situation, what you did, and what the outcome was. I recommend researching these interview questions online. Many sites offer sample questions. Practice answering these questions ahead of any interviews.”2
Even though you won’t know the exact questions that will be asked, having answers prepared for similar styles of questions will help you on the big day.
Along with knowing what to say, developing a fluent and natural style of speaking is also very important in interviews. Stephanie, a Hiring Expert at AT&T Inc., explains that fluency is best achieved with practice. “Practice with a friend, family member or colleague. Don't want to share your efforts with a live person yet? Record yourself and review the results. You'll hear your tone, see your facial expressions and be able to work out your personal rhythm.”3
If you feel mentally prepared for an interview, don’t forget to also be physically prepared. Dan, Hiring Expert at Mutual of Omaha explains what should be your physical interview routine:
“The night before the interview make sure your interview attire is all ready to go and get plenty of sleep . . . Make sure you eat a well-balanced breakfast (leaves less room for butterflies), run through your mock interview again, dress professionally, and leave a little early just in case last-minute bumps in the road come up, like traffic or parking. Once you arrive for your interview, take one last moment to really gather yourself and remain positive. Inside the interview make sure your posture is presentable, be mindful of your body language, watch your pace (don’t talk too fast), turn your phone off, and if you don’t know an answer try redirecting it.”4
Although it seems like a lot of things to remember, these processes will help you to feel relaxed during an interview - so your holiday season can be stress-free.