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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#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?”

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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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5 Must Ask Questions You Raise in a Job Interview

5 Must Ask Questions You Raise in a Job Interview

The job interviewing process has one objective for you – to get a job offer that is a good fit for you and your career path.

You will be asked lots of questions and as I have discuss numerous time, you MUST be prepared to nail the answers….. every time. You will be evaluated to a large degree on your answers and behavior during the interview. Remember – job interviewing is a single elimination process!!top-5

However, you will also be evaluated  in light of the questions you ask…so let’s review the top 5 questions for you to ask! Each of these questions brand you as a serious job seeker and one who understands that “things may not be what they seem to be”.

1. What is the training or orientation program for the position we have been discussing? Note – if applying for a significant management job – then ask What is in place to get me up and running as soon as possible –  what is your “on-boarding” process?

2. How would you characterize the culture of the organization overall and of the XXX department/division/etc. where I will be working? Formal? Informal? Collegial? Tough – best perform or else?

3. Is it possible that I meet who I will be reporting to during the interview process?

4. What are the areas of performance that – when accomplished to a high degree – will mark hiring me as a successful decision and mark me as a valuable asset? What is important to accomplish in this job; how will success be measured?

5. Based upon the people that have been in this job before – what are the most enjoyable aspects of it and what are least desirable? Are there any hidden challenges to this job that don’t appear on the surface?

My suggestion is to memorize these questions or study them sufficiently that you know them cold. Of course, you can have them in written form in your notes you have before you but you don’t want to appear to be reading them. Referring to them – yes; reading them – nope!

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Successful Delegation Requires a Process

Career success and job success is a function of your skills and abilities. If you are – or ever will be – in a supervisory job… in charge of a project…or chairing a committee… delegation skills are critical to success. Someday getting the job offer you want might hinge upon your ability to answer successfully  the interview question “Tell me about how you delegate – how do you go about it?”! Interview preparation is job search tip #1!

Delegation is universally understood to be necessary to the success of any organizational unit. For delegation to be successful,  however, it must be structured –  a process must be determined and then followed.

To delegate successfully follow these guidelines from MindTools:

1. Articulate clearly the desired outcome. Specify the results that will make the effort a success. Include any “stakeholders” in the discussions leading to the definition of success for the effort. Provide initial timelines and deadlines.

2. Identify the degree of authority and accountability of each person involved.

3. Define who and when are the people involved to:

a. Develop a plan and ask for approval?…or

b. Develop a plan and proceed to implement, reporting status/results on what frequency?

4. Be sure authority and responsibility are in sync; if someone has the authority to act in a particular aspect of the project – he or she is also responsible for the results.

5. Delegate as far down in the organization as possible; the people closest to the action are in the best position to know what will work and what won’t.

6. Make answering procedural questions and clarifying issues a priority of all. You don’t want the process to come to a halt because someone can’t get an answer to a procedural question.

7. Don’t permit “upward delegation” to take place; where someone shifts responsibility upward or to you. When someone comes to see you with a problem  – picture the issue  as a monkey on his/her back. Don’t let that monkey jump on your desk, and then you are left with the monkey (the problem or issue)! Don’t answer such questions – ask questions instead as to possible approaches/solutions until they arrive at one you would agree with….then just nod approval!

8. Focus on results – not procedure, so long as procedures don’t exceed pre-determined parameters (cost, not a violation of any law, etc.). How you would do it is not necessarily the best way – if the right people are in the mix, the “how” should not be an issue.

9. Every now and then – there will be a glitch. That is, “the cow will get in the ditch”. This can be a great learning exercise – instruct whomever of the three-step process:

a. Get the cow out of the ditch.

b. Find out how the cow got into the ditch

c. Develop and implement procedures so it can’t happen again!

10. Have periodic meetings to discuss progress, stressing the objectives and what the desired results will have in terms of payoff for the organization and the team members. Review timelines and deadlines. Be sure to give recognition when earned. Document progress and distribute to all involved.

Successful delegation can only be achieved by understanding that it is a process that needs to be put into place and then followed religiously.

For further reading on the subject – go to http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newLDR_98.htm

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