Nervous? 5 Ways to Take Control in a Job Interview
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The little-known key to a successful interview is tricky. The secret is you–the job candidate–come in and take control. Here’s how to shift the power during a job interview.
Successful interviews should feel like conversations. It’s easy to give into formal interview questioning and forget that you’re having a conversation with a real person. Businesses deeply care about company culture–and for good reason. Companies with engaged employees vs. competitors with low engagement levels enjoy 2.5x more revenue growth. This invaluable personal engagement starts during the interview process.
Understand your employer’s point of view.
Train yourself to answer the employer’s interview questions from the employer’s point of view. If your answer is the same in three different job interviews with three different companies, you need to drastically change how you approach your responses. Your objective is to tie your answer closely to the company by expanding your response, making it unique to the company’s goals.
Know your skills and goals.
Focusing solely on the skills you bring to the table is a big mistake. Be aware of what skills you don’t have, and be prepared to talk about them. It’s okay that you don’t possess every skill on the job description. As Courtney Young-Law reminds us, “if you did, you’d be overqualified.”
Have your short and long-term career goals at the forefront of your mind when you enter a job interview. Courtney emphasizes, “employers need to see ambition.” She suggests knowing your five and ten-year career plans. If this is your first job out of college, you might not have a career plan. Focus on goals for the next year–or any timeline–in order to demonstrate your passion. The bottom line is, you should have something valuable to say about your goals regardless of your experience level.
Research the organization.
Do your homework: read the website and check out the annual report. This sounds like obvious advice, but time and time again, job candidates fail to research. According to an Undercover Recruiter survey, “47 percent of bosses complained employees had little to no knowledge about the company when they came into the job interview.”
If you don’t dig into the company’s web presence, employees, and strategy, it will show. This interview preparation step guarantees you’re well-versed–a non-negotiable for a confident, successful job interview.
Know the questions you want to ask.
This may be the most crucial part of the interview, because it’s the one time you truly have the power to transform the job interview into a conversation. This is also where you can “differentiate yourself” from other candidates.
Questions are first and foremost informational, so ask about topics you’re genuinely curious about. However, questions are also tools to express interest, knowledge, and confidence about the company.
Shift the power.
Asking clarifying questions informs you if the company is a good fit. These questions shift the power, because they put you in the interviewer’s shoes. Asking questions also demonstrates that you are a valued professional asset that requires a company that will serve you, too.
A subtle way to shift the power is to focus on breathing. Channeling even breaths is an underrated tool to gain powerful presence during a job interview. This practice centers you, and calms your anxiety, giving you the confidence to assert your skill set. As Courtney points out, remember to relax. The company spent valuable time and resources choosing and inviting to an interview. You deserve to be there.