3 Ways to Prevent Interview Jitters…Interview Nerves

3 Ways to Prevent Interview Jitters…Interview Nerves

Job-Interview-Nervousness“Jitters” is defined as “feelings of extreme nervousness”.

Interview jitters… or nerves… come about because you are going through a process which is new to you (interviewing) and it is really important to do well …so you are worried that you won’t do well. Not too dissimilar from worrying about what will happen when you go to the dentist to have some dental work done. You anticipate what can go wrong (or in the case of the dentist – about the pain)!

There is a way to overcome those interview jitters:

1. First….be prepared. There are three things you need to pay attention here:

a. Anticipate every possible question you might be asked (you can use the extensive list in my book – shameless promotional plug!!). Write them down. Then draft a response. Rehearse it. A short-cut in this process may well doom you to a less-than-strong interview! This includes knowing cold your self-introduction “elevator speech”.

b. Know where you are going – how to get there – how long it takes to get there – where to park, etc. Being late to the interview is guaranteed to result in shot nerves…AND a poor first impression! Scope it out in advance…make a trial run if in doubt about the details.

c. Dress for success…you are headed into a business meeting. Appropriate business attire and demeanor is a must!

2. Think “Inner Interviewing”! As discussed  years ago by “The Inner Game” guru Tim Gallway:

Tim Gallway

Tim Gallway


“There is always an inner game being played in your mind no matter what outer game you are playing. How you play this game usually makes the difference between success and failure. The inner game is played against such obstacles as fear, self-doubt, lapses in focus and limiting concepts or assumptions.”

For your interviews that means start your “inner interviewing” well before an interview. Visualize yourself as self-assured, answering each question with great answers and charming the interviewer with your poise and personality. Focus on that image…lock it into your mind.

3. Put your voice and eyes to work for you. When you are nervous you might have a tendency to speak too softly or for your voice to crack. When you are nervous you might have a tendency to have your eyes wander over the landscape. Controlling both will give you confidence. Use a normal speaking voice – if you tend to be a soft speaker – kick it up. If you drown our co-workers with volume – turn it down. Keep your eyes on the interviewer and your notes.

Interview jitters …interview nerves …CAN be avoided…or at least minimized… provided you have a strategy and are thoroughly prepared. Good luck…and go for it!!

Follow me on Twitter for notices of these posts.

For jobs and career opportunities in the Washington, DC metro area –  visit the NRI website. Many jobs are listed there …..and NRI Recruiters can find others for you!

Copyright © Robert Mulberger All Rights Reserved

My LinkedIn profile

follow me on twitter

#2 of 5 Tough Interview Questions…and How to Answer It

#2 of 5 T5 tough eough Interview Questions…and How to Answer It

A five-part series of really tough interview questions… and how to respond!!

Last week’s essay covered the question “Why have you changed jobs so many times

You need to know and understand that interviewing for a new job is “single-elimination” process! Get it right and you usually move on to the next step in the job-seeking process with that organization. If you don’t do well…it’s then time to start over elsewhere.

The job-seeking process requires the need to prepare for interviewing – you really do need to be ready to answer all the questions that will come your way…. especially the tough ones… the ones where a bad answer will end your opportunities with that potential employer.

Let’s look at the second of the five toughest interview questions:

“Why should we hire you?”

The questions could also be worded as:

“Why are you the best person for this job?”….or “Are you the right hire for this job?”

Platitudes such as “I’m a hard worker”, “I’m a loyal team player”, “I can hit the ground running on day 1” and so on won’t do it. They are just words.. words from a stranger with no basis for trust that they are indeed correct. And by the way – what others will also say in response!

First – recognize that this is the perfect opportunity to sell yourself. Anyone that has been trained to give media interviews knows the technique of answering the question AND making positive a statement as part of  the answer. At the same time – be careful not to come across as too cocky… expressing an “of course I am the one for the job…anyone can see that!”…attitude…is far too much over the top… you are just going to annoy the interviewer!

The correct approach is to combine one or more aspects of your experience and accomplishments with some aspect of the job description and criteria. This requires you to really know what the job requirements are all about.

“I believe my five years of audit experience  –  the last two as team leader – with emphasis on not-for-profit accounting and tax treatments qualifies me to be a strong candidate for this position. My audit team always got the work done on time and error-free.”

“I have done very similar work… under very tight deadlines where team play was critical to get the job done. In that position I demonstrated leadership, decision-making and the ability to quickly prioritize. This is why I feel very qualified for the position.”

IMPORTANT – If you are a new grad.. you have a special challenge. You probably have little or no work experience that translates to the job you are interviewing for. Keep your answer/statement brief and to the point:

 “As a new grad I have no specific experience for the job. However, my grades, academic references and my attitude to excel show me to be a quick learner who perseveres and can be counted on to perform. I would  bring those same skills and attitude to your job.”

“I spent two summers in an internship with XYZ doing research and drafting documents  to be included in client reports. Frankly I did so with little or no instruction… I was just told what the final work product should address….and I just figured it out. I bring strong analytical and writing skills as part of my overall qualifications.. and the ability to learn on the fly. I can do the same for your organization.”

It is important that you itemize the factors of your background to bring into your response based on the job in question…and the requirements to the extent you can determine them. Then draft – rehearse – and re-draft your answer until you know it cold.

Chances are very, very good this will be one of the questions you will be asked… and you want to nail the answer cold!

OK… you now know how to answer the question:

“Why should we hire you?”

Next week – how to answer “Tell me about yourself?”

Follow me on Twitter for notices of these posts.

For jobs and career opportunities in the Washington, DC metro area –  visit the NRI website. Many jobs are listed there …..and NRI Recruiters can find others for you!

follow me on twitter  My LinkedIn profile 

Copyright © Robert Mulberger All Rights Reserved

5 Tough Interview Questions…and How to Answer Them

5 Tough Interview Questions…and How to Answer Them

5 tough eA five-part series of really tough interview questions….  and how to respond!!

Interviewing for a new job is “single-elimination” process! Get it right and you usually move on to the next step in the job-seeking process with that organization. If you don’t do well…it is then time to start over elsewhere. You really want to avoid the knock-out interview factors….such as bad answers to an interviewer’s questions.

The job-seeking process requires the need to prepare for interviewing – you really do need to be ready to answer all the questions that will come your way…. especially the tough ones… the ones where a bad answer will end your opportunities with that potential employer.

Let’s look at one of the five toughest interview questions:

“Why have you changed jobs so many times?”

Note the wording is inflammatory… the reference to “so many times”. The interviewer is saying that for one of two reasons: a. they believe it is a lot of times; or b. they are challenging you… testing you… to see how you answer. The question could also be asked, “Your resume indicates a lot of jobs; why do you seem to change jobs frequently?”

Suppose you have had five jobs in the last 8 years. Your answer needs to demonstrate that each move was to a better situation; more opportunity; more responsibility; a bigger or better territory; a better organization. After all – you did change for a series of reasons – right? So package the most recent reason or two into a short and concise answer. No need to explain all five unless you are asked. Just paint the picture of someone seeking upward mobility.

You might respond:

“Yes – it really seems like a lot when listed on paper. For each of them, it made sense to me to make the change. For example my job at (next-to-last-job) was in a location without public transportation, often required an hour or more drive twice a day in terrible traffic and was located in a pretty sketchy area that lacked the access for a place to eat lunch, take laundry in on my way to or from work and so forth. I compare that to where I would be if I worked for your organization – a world of difference – as it is for my current work location. I don’t mind a reasonable commute… but I could never predict if it would be 45 minutes or an hour and 45 minutes.”

Or:

“My last two jobs were ones where it seemed I had a new boss every 3 or 4 months; I never could settle into a routine where I know what was expected of me and how to communicate with my boss.”

Of course if the reason was that your employer went out of business or was acquired and you had to relocate across the county to keep your job – these are easy to explain.

Analyze what were your reasons at the time – why did you make the change – and create/draft an explanation for each of them that is credible. If one or more of the moves was a “mistake” on your part be prepared to say so:

“Accepting the position at XYZ was a mistake. I didn’t do a very good job analyzing the match before I accepted their offer. I have learned since then and haven’t made that mistake again… and won’t.”

IMPORTANT – you also MUST include a statement to the effect “In spite of those five jobs over the past 8 years, I am really seeking stability. I don’t like changing jobs; I want to find a place where I can establish myself and make a continuing contribution.”

Demonstrate that you understand the interview’s concern and that you are looking for a break in the pattern!

OK… you now know how to answer the question:

“Why have you changed jobs so many times?”

Next week – how to answer “Why should we hire you?”

Follow me on Twitter for notices of these posts.

For jobs and career opportunities in the Washington, DC metro area –  visit the NRI website. Many jobs are listed there …..and NRI Recruiters can find others for you!

follow me on twitterMy LinkedIn profile

Copyright © Robert Mulberger All Rights Reserved

4 Barriers to Getting That Job Offer!

The Shocking Truth About Your Image

Four bizarre reasons customers may not like you (or people may not hire you!)

By Jeff Mowatt

I came across an interesting article that address some of the issues that get in the way of interviewing well and ultimately getting a job offer. The four principles Jeff mentions:

  1. You look different than expected (dress for success when interviewing)
  2. You’re hard to understand (verbal skills aren’t good)
  3. You exaggerate (don’t puff your experience or fib on your resume)
  4. You’re indiscreet (don’t ever bad mouth a past boss or employer)

….all apply to the job seeking process. I found the article a refreshing reminder of the barriers to success and getting job offers. With that said… read on! I have added a comment or two and put them in italics to distinguish them from Jeff’s original article. Many thanks to Jeff for letting me share this with you!

Jeff Mowatt

Jeff Mowatt

Whether it’s fair or not, we are often judged on first impressions. This harsh reality is nowhere better seen than in today’s ultra-fast business world where customers size-you-up in a nano-second based on your personal image. Since their impression of you will determine whether or not they want to do business with you (or interview you… or hire you), the impact on your career and on your organization’s bottom line can be staggering.

Ironically, when corporations bring me in to speak at conventions on how to boost customer retention, I often find that there’s been little or no professional training for employees about personal image. Since it’s often awkward to confront employees on these sensitive issues, you need some ammunition to make the task easier. Here are 4 image-related reasons that customers may not like you or your employees. Incidentally, customers will never tell you these reasons to your face — they’ll simply do business elsewhere.

1. You look different than expected.

Customers prefer conducting business with individuals who meet their visual expectations. So if you want to keep customers, dress in a manner that customers expect. A plumber dressed in an Armani suite makes the client uncomfortable. An alderman in khaki shorts would shock the council members of City Hall. A waitress with too much makeup, sporting tattoos and body piercing would likely put off a patron in an upscale restaurant. On the other hand, a bar tender in a conservative suit and tie may appall a customer in an alternative nightclub.

“But that’s not fair!” decry so many employees at the thought of being told what to wear. Again, first impressions may not be fair, but they are the realities of the business world. You hire employees to take care of customers — not for the sake of expressing their sartorial individuality. They can do that on their own time. Your job as a business owner or manager is to create an environment, including staff wardrobe, where your customers feel comfortable.

The most effective way to convey this message to employees is to have a written dress code. When writing your code, it’s best to check with an attorney for the laws that apply in your jurisdiction. The great thing about a dress code is it often weeds out would-be applicants who wouldn’t feel comfortable in that environment. That’s better for everone.

2. You’re hard to understand.

Customers don’t want to strain themselves to understand front line staff. If you or other employees don’t speak the local language clearly, then customers will generally go to your competitors where they won’t have to work so hard to communicate — or to spend their money. This is doubly important when speaking on the telephone, where customers don’t have the benefit of non-verbal communication to help them interpret what’s being said.

This concept has nothing to do with discrimination based on ethnic differences or nationality. It has to do with basic communication skills that are essential to do the job. If it’s a question of improving your knowledge of the local language, then take courses until you’re fluent and easy to understand- not just enough to get by. (If English is not your first language – enunciate very carefully and practice your verbal skills.)

3. You exaggerate.

Don’t exaggerate to tell customers what they want to hear. If a task will take 15 minutes to complete, don’t say, “It’ll only be 5 or ten minutes.” This is called lying. Customers hate that. Organizations that stay in business over the long term, adhere to the age-old adage, under promise and over deliver. ‘Nuff said.

4. You’re indiscreet.

‘Indiscreet’ describes the cashier at a self-serve gas station who chatted with his friends while I entered to pay. He barely stopped his conversation with his buddies to take my money. I felt like I was crashing a private party. I never went back.

While this obvious display of rudeness is relatively rare, a much more common example is when employees converse amongst themselves in front of the customer. Numerous times I’ve been on airplanes when the flight attendants, while rolling food carts down the aisles, are so engaged in their personal conversations that they barely stop long enough to take the dinner orders. Meanwhile every passenger has to listen to their private conversations, whether they want to or not.

To top-off the indiscretion list, far too many employees inadvertently tell customers more than they want to hear. For example, when a customer asks a front line employee, “How are you?”, they really don’t want to hear complaints. It’s just a greeting. Yet some employees take this as an excuse to complain with, “Oh, I’m 60-40″, or as a security guard once told me, “I’m vertical.” (Yikes)! Some employees respond with, “I’ll be great when my break starts.” In other words, the employee will be happy as soon as he or she can get away from their job and us — the customers. All of these indiscretions make customers wish they were dealing with professionals. (By careful of what you say and where you say it. I have heard far too many things I should have NEVER heard in elevators and from the next table over at lunch!)

There is hope.

Awareness of these problems is half the battle. A lot of employees simply don’t realize they’re committing these offenses. Another part of the solution is training. Bringing in a professional trainer to address the employees as a group provides the advantage of third party objectivity, in a fun non-threatening manner. One thing is clear though, if you do nothing about these issues, your business will continue to suffer without anyone else telling you why.

Jeff Mowatt is a customer service strategist, award-winning speaker, and bestselling author. For more tips, training tools or to inquire about engaging Jeff for your team visit www.JeffMowatt.com.

Follow me on Twitter for notices of these posts.

For jobs and career opportunities in the Washington, DC metro area –  visit the NRI website. Many jobs are listed there …..and NRI Recruiters can find others for you!

follow me on twitterMy LinkedIn profile