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!!

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The absolute worst – and dumbest – question to ask in an interview!

The absolute worst – and dumbest – question to ask in an interview!

I recently was at a dinner function talking to a senior HR manager at one of the Fortune 100 companies. She was in the process of hiring a new administrative assistant that would report to her.

As is usually the case in most interviews she asked “do you have any questions?” after she had completed asking her battery of questions to best understand the candidate,

You can't be serious!!

You can’t be serious!!

To which the person replied – here it comes – “Yes, I’d like to know how soon I can have a one-on-one lunch with the CEO?”

My dinner companion was stunned!! Had the candidate lost all perspective of what I call “the world of work”?? An AA working for a multi-national multi-billion dollar firm can count on NEVER having a one-on-one lunch with the CEO even if he or she is the AA to a senior corporate manager.

I have heard of many inappropriate questions candidate ask while interviewing… but this one “takes the cake”!!

Other equally WRONG questions you should never ask include:

“When can I count on getting a raise”? The correct question is “what is the performance and salary review process”?

“Does the company have any resort facilities for staff to use”? Dumb question – has no basis on the job-seeking process. You will find out soon enough is such a thing exists …and if you are far enough up the food chain to enjoy it!

“How big of an expense allowance do I get”? The issue of expense allowances only arise in two situations:

You will be traveling on company business …or you are interviewing for a sales position where you will incur everyday expenses (parking, tolls, etc.). The correct question in those circumstances is “How are travel/everyday expenses handled”?

“What kind of charitable work does the company support”? If this is important to you – discover the answer via research rather than taking time in an interview to ask it. Asking the question begs the response – “why – is it important to you”? Which in turn triggers in the interviewer’s mind that you might be more of a social activist than they want to bring on board.

In summary – there are right questions to ask … and there are wrong questions to ask. Be sure you know the difference!! Getting a job offer may depend on it.

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The Best Way to Find a New Job – (By) Utilizing Your Contacts

The Best Way to Find a New Job – (By) Utilizing Your Contacts

The following is a question about the best way to find a new job – by utilizing your contacts – that arose out of a recent webinar I did entitled “Resumes, Interviewing and the World of Work”.

Thank you very much for yocontacts graphicur webinar on the world of work this afternoon. I’m a mid-career professional just beginning a new job search, and I found your direct and honest guidance refreshing and helpful.

If I may, I would like to ask for your thoughts on a follow up question about job hunting through one’s professional network. I planned to contact specific people in my network expressing my interest in available positions at their respective companies. I anticipate my contacts will ask for a resume, though they may not know of a specific opening. Do you have any suggestions beyond today’s talk for building a resume that isn’t position-specific? Alternately, should I demur and offer to send a resume specific to a position, if my contact learns of one, instead?

I appreciate your guidance, and I’m looking forward to putting it into practice during my job search.

Best regards,

My response was:

Glad you found the webinar to be of value!

As to your question, unless there is a specific opening I would send them a resume that broadly summarizes what you have done/accomplished in the past and your areas of expertise. The real customization of a resume occurs:

1. When you are including in your resume key words from a specific job listing or posting… to “mirror” it and have it jump off the paper as the “perfect fit” as seen by a screener or recruiter! Also very important in the event your resume is processed via a scanner.

2. When you are skewing a resume to fit a position; e.g. – applying for controller position (stress financial statement capability) vs accounting manager (stressing management experience).

When you contact people, best to ask for their overall career guidance (“I am in the process of making a change and would like to get your read on my resume and where you think I might send it”. I do not advise asking them (as a person) if they have a possible job for you – it can create a very awkward situation! You can ask if they know of any opportunities within their organization, however.

Hope this helps… let me know if I can be of further assistance!

Good luck!


P.S. Suggestion – buy my book and read Chapter 9: Job-Seeking Strategy – Uncovering the Hidden and Unpublished Job Market. – $14.95 at www.jobseekersguide.net

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Changing Careers? Some practical advice and how to find resources to help pave the way!

The following is a question asked following the webinar I did for the alumni of Georgetown University entitled “Resumes, Interviewing and the World of Work” along with my response:

Dear Mr. Mulberger,

I enjoyed listening to your webinar this afternoon and thought that your presentation was very informative and interesting.

transition-3rd-blogI would like to receive your suggestions on how to go about changing careers from teaching math to working as an actuary. There are certain skills that overlap, however, there are other desired skills that do not show up on the resume. How could the cover letter and resume be enhanced to highlight qualifications? Would you recommend going back to school for an additional degree?

Thank you very much and I look forward to your response.


“Webinar Attendee”

Dear “Webinar Attendee”

Glad it was of value for you!!

Before you sign up for another degree suggest you find a way to talk to a few practicing actuaries and and/or those who run such a department or internal program.

A quick google search for “actuary associations” brought up: http://www.actuary.org/ with this contact information – 1850 M St NW #300, Washington, DC – (202) 974-6007

The search also brought up other entities…all fertile ground for research.

Suggest you make some phone calls…you will note that the association President slot changes annually.. so they are volunteer leaders…practicing actuaries…. the Executive Director runs the association (is a salaried employee).. Track down one or more of them and ask them the questions that will give you the answers as to what your challenges will be to make that change. http://www.actuary.org/content/messages-president

“I am very interested in making the change from teaching match to being an actuary. Can you spare a few minutes to give me some  guidance and answer a question or two?” Most will say yes!

BTW – creative google searching is a great way to find and then gain access to people… I cover it extensively in a full chapter in my book….

Let me know if I can be of further assistance!

Good luck!


As a matter of note – use google searches to find trade association professionals you can talk to such as I advised this person. I have a very detailed chapter in the book – “Basic and Advanced Internet Search Techniques” –detailing the Boolean Operators and how to get the most results with the least effort.

Do a google search – just copy and paste this string into a google search window; substitute your area of  interest for “actuary” and “actuarial”. Note the this search string follows google algorithms –  google search “rules” – type it EXACTLY as it appears here if you can’t copy and paste it.

(actuary OR actuarial)  (association OR society OR “professional society”)

From there – make contact as I suggested to my “webinar attendee”!

Good luck!!

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