Interviewing tips for the nervous applicant

Interviewing tips for the nervous applicant

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  1. Interviewing Skills for the Nervous Applicant

    As many find themselves back in the job market – some for the first time in years, I hear many clients talk about how nervous they are interviewing. First, let me assure you, that the nervousness is NORMAL especially if you haven’t interviewed in a long time. However, the more you practice the skill and art of interviewing, the better you will get at it. 

    Below are some tips that will help you prepare for the entire interview process with greater ease and confidence.

    Many employers conduct a series of interviews in the hiring process. Some conduct the initial interview over the phone – even with local candidates, so be prepared – there may be several steps in the process.

    One of the most important thing to do before an interview is know the employer! Go to their website and learn all about them – take notes – go through all of the sections of the website and get a good feel for who they are and what they do. During the interview, comment about what you learned from reviewing the website. 

    As you are reviewing the website, ask yourself, are you in synch with their mission and value statement? Being able to demonstrate to a potential employer that you really are interested in working for THEM versus just seeking another job will truly impress your interviewers.

    Practice interviewing with friends/family. It is NORMAL to be nervous, but practice does make perfect. You want to be at ease so that you are truly evaluating the opportunity- just as they are evaluating you and your fit for the organization. The more at ease you feel, the better you can determine if this is the right opportunity for you. 

    Arrive to the interview on time- better yet – arrive early. If you have never been to the location, do a dry run to ensure you know where you are going to be sure that you arrive on time. Lateness to an interview is a terrible first impression and a sure fire way to get knocked out of the running.

    Make sure your cell phone is turned off before you begin the discussion.

    Offer a firm handshake .

    Maintain eye contact with the individuals you are talking with and most importantly, be yourself. You want them to see and evaluate the real you. 

    Employers are using many different interview techniques. One of the most common is called, “behavior based interviewing.” This type of interview requires that you discuss a time when you performed an activity in the past that is a required skill for the job. These questions may take a bit longer to answer because you have to recall specific past work experiences. Take your time to remember them. If you did not do EXACTLY that task, try to find a similar achievement that would relate. But, don’t lie.

    Have questions prepared to ask of them; however the first interview is not the appropriate time to ask about pay and benefits. One good question that you may ask is, “What is the biggest challenge for this position within the next 6 months?”

    Do not provide negative feedback about a former employer, boss or co-worker. Find a way to discuss a negative situation in a more positive light. If you had a bad experience with a colleague or boss, be prepared to talk about the positive things from that experience. 

    At the end of the interview, ask them what the next step will be. Communicate to them that you would like to be considered further in the process. 

    End with a firm hand shake and send a hand written thank you note to the individuals with whom you met.

    Following this approach consistently will make you be a better prepared, confident candidate – and before long – a newly hired employee.

    Kerrie Cowan is a Career Coach, and Business Consultant and owner of Tru-Alignment Coaching. She brings almost 20 years of experience working with Engineering Companies and individuals helping with career management, leadership coaching, and training focused on organizational improvement. She delivers targeted, individualized programs and services that include professional resume development, job search strategies, and career development for the emerging and experienced professionals. 

    Kerrie Cowan

    Career Coach/Business Consultant

    Tru-Alignment Coaching


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