7-Step Checklist Before the Job Interview
By decreasing the jitters BEFORE your interview, you can increase your confidence DURING the interview. Getting nervous just before or during an interview is natural, but there are specific actions you can take to decrease, if not eliminate it. Here is a checklist of 7 important actions you can accomplish before any interview you walk into.
1. Tell stories instead. When it comes to answering interview questions, forget trying to memorize scripted answers that you probably read somewhere. Instead, focus on answering the questions in a way that makes sense to you and that showcases your experience and skills. Do this by developing your stories. By this I mean, you'll develop stories around specific examples of your career where you have an opportunity to tell how you either made money or saved money for your current or previous company; you faced a crisis or two in your life or job and how you responded or recovered from it; you functioned as part of a team and what your contribution was; you had to deal with stress in your career; and many other stories revolving around typical interview questions that you can always expect.
Interviewers want to know more about who you are and telling small stories like this is an excellent way to do this. You will stand out from the crowd and will be remembered. You will personalize yourself. Another benefit is that you won't have to worry about memorizing answers to stock questions. Just be yourself and let your story shine through. If you can have about 5 to 7 good little stories of about 30 to 90 seconds each, your confidence will rise tremendously for any interview you have.
2. Research the company first. Do company research well in advance so that you can relax before the interview rather than scrambling to get ready at the last minute. This also reduces the possibility of stupid and embarrassing questions on your part. You should know full well what products or services the company is in the business of providing. You should know their size, their annual revenues (if they are a public company), what the title and functions of the job are, and the name and title of the interviewer and his/her role in the hiring process.
3. Dress the part. Plan ahead to wear comfortable clothing that suits this type of interview. The usual mode these days is business attire. That could mean different things to different companies. If you're not sure, call ahead to either your interviewer or the HR department and ask. When in doubt, dress more conservatively. You want to fit in and not feel self conscious about your clothing choice during the interview.