• Neil Bailey

I've got chills and they're multiplying...

.and I’m losing control. (I’ll bet most of you were beginning to sing that last bit!)

Yes that’s right, I am talking interviews. Those lovely moments in life when your mouth goes dry, your mind goes blank and the only word you can think of is “bibble”.

But why? Who knows the most about you?

I’m hoping your answer to that is you.

So what’s going on? Why do many people panic at the thought of talking about themselves in an interview environment?

Most of it is fear. Fear of possibly not being good enough, being the centre of attention, of forgetting what you meant to say, fear of being fearful.

As my lovely wife keeps telling me “luck is where preparation meets opportunity”. So let’s look at how you can make your own luck.

There are four areas you need to prepare:

1. Prepare your answers

2. Prepare your questions

3. Prepare your mind.

4. Prepare your environment

1) Prepare your answers

What questions would you ask if you were interviewing for this job? Yes you heard me right there. Look at the job description or whatever you’ve been sent about the role. If you were the interviewer and had to interview several people to find out who could do the job, what questions would you ask them? What information would you want to find out? Write those questions down and then create your own answers. I’ll guarantee that many you write down you’ll probably be asked in one way or another.

A tip here is for each answer to always give an example of when you’ve done it. Even if you get there and the interviewer asks a question that you can answer a simple yes to, still give an example, e.g. yes, for example…

If you are someone who likes to practise out loud, once you prepare your answers find someone who’ll interview you using your questions. That way you can work at making your answers sound natural rather than scripted.

2) Prepare your questions

By this I mean make sure you have some questions to ask the interviewers. I’ll be honest and say that when I’ve been an interviewer, if the interviewee doesn’t have any questions then I find it worrying. Let’s face it you never really know what a job is actually going to be like from the Job Description. If you don’t believe me and you have a job now, look at your own Job Description. Does this really say what you do day to day…I doubt it.

So make sure you have some questions to ask about the role such as: What would a typical day look like? What opportunities for development are there? If for example it’s a role that is part people management and part project management what’s the split, i.e. is it 20% people and 80% project or vice versa, which would you prefer? If they haven’t told you, who would be your line manager? There may be one person on the interview panel that you take an instant dislike to and find out they would be your manager. Would you want to work for this person?

3) Prepare your mind

If you’ve done both steps 1 and 2 then you will already be feeling more confident about the interview. After all you’ve done quite a bit of prep and you are about to have the opportunity once in the interview room.

To add to that, remember that an interview is just as much a time for you to interview them as for them to interview you. Make sure you get the info from them you need, to know you definitely want the job.

Repeat to yourself that you can handle anything that comes your way. Imagine what you will look like sat in the room calm and confident. When doubts come in, let them go and go back to your confident image.

It’s very easy to expect disaster; to go in to the interview expecting yourself to go blank or make a mess of it. If you concentrate on that then you’ll make it happen. So concentrate on what you want to happen not what you don’t want to happen. Keep that confident image in your mind. Don’t worry if you don’t believe the image yet, that’ll come with time.

4) Prepare your environment

Prepare your paperwork. If needed take certificates with you. Take your own prepared questions and answers to glance at while you are waiting. If appropriate take examples of your previous work so that you can show it and if asked for (don’t force it on people though).

Make sure you know where you are going. If you are someone that worries about that, do a dry run to the venue beforehand if you can. If it’s a long way away, Google street view is great for seeing what the building looks like so you’ll know when you’ve arrived.

If they haven’t told you, ring the contact and find out who will be interviewing you and how many of them there’ll be. That way you aren’t thrown if you suddenly find yourself in front of a panel of four people when you were expecting two. If you can get names, get on to Google or LinkedIn and see what you can find out about them. For me personally if I know what they look like it helps me on the day.

Always take water in with you. Hopefully they’ll supply it but not always. This will help not only with a dry mouth which is natural with nerves, but you can also you a drink of water as a delay tactic to buy you thinking time if asked a question you weren’t expecting.

Wear not only appropriate clothing but ones that you are comfortable in and even confident in. Let’s not beat around the bush here. If you’ve got a pair of lucky pants, then put them on. If it helps then why wouldn’t you. Just make sure they are under the trousers. The Superman look doesn’t usually work well.

Treat everyone as an interviewer. Many companies these days ask receptionists and other staff that you may have come in to contact with during the interview process for their thoughts on how you were with them. Be polite and professional to everyone, you don’t know who might be watching.

If interviews are your nemesis then get some coaching and get yourself ready. You never know you could end up being like me…one of those very weird people who enjoy interviews!

If interviewing is something you struggle with then contact us and let's talk. We can provide one to one coaching or even some group training. We can also offer training on how to be an interviewer too.

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