You’ve reviewed your resume, researched the company and now finally, interview day is here. Stress is not unfamiliar to you. I mean, what’s an interview compared to riding down a road in Afghanistan not being quite sure if you’re going to find an IED, or suddenly finding yourself under enemy fire, or being pushed to exhaustion during physical training? Compared to those experiences, a job interview is a breeze. You’ve reviewed your resume, researched the company and now finally, interview day is here. Stress is not unfamiliar to you. I mean, what’s an interview compared to riding down a road in Afghanistan not being quite sure if you’re going to find an IED, or suddenly finding yourself under enemy fire, or being pushed to exhaustion during physical training? Compared to those experiences, a job interview is a breeze.
So why is it that now you find yourself questioning your antiperspirant?Well, while job interviews don’t seem like they should rank a 10 on the stress scale for someone from the military; simply put, they are highly stressful. So how do you manage that stress while in your new navy blue suit? It all starts long before interview day. Let’s count down to that interview, step-by-step.
Start to Practice. And start as soon as you can.
The single most impactful way to avoid letting the pre-interview jitters get the most of you is to know that you will be ready no matter what the interviewer throws at you. And the best way to do that, is to experience an interview and all its inherent awkwardness. Of course, it’s not easy to find a way to practice interview skills with a real practitioner so that you can build confidence. That’s why we are here at Candorful. With 3 practice interviews built to help you feel the experience and nerves of a real interview, you’ll know what to expect. But even better, with the chance to talk with your interviewer, receive feedback and even try a different answer to a question that rattled you, you’ll find the direction that you need to grow and get better. Without practice you’re guessing, and stumbling in the dark.
Ten days before the interview:
Pull in your supportersThink about those 1 or 2 people that you can count on for support. Make sure they know you have an upcoming interview that is important to you. I’ll never forget heading in to pitch Candorful at MassChallenge and receiving 3 texts, as I left the waiting room, saying “You’ve got this”. It gave me confidence when I needed it. You might even find your Candorful interviewer gives you just the right words to spur you forward.
A week before the interview:
Logistics PrepThink through the logistics of the interview well in advance of interview day.
• Try on your “uniform” – Your civilian work uniform that is. Look for problems; spots on your tie, shirt collars that aren’t crisp, missing socks or stockings, and condition of your shoes. Set it all out so that everything is ready and waiting. If you have a pet or very young kids, consider a safe place to put your readied interview “uniform”- this isn’t the time for cat hair. Why do this so far in advance? So you have time to run out to the store when you realize you have a spaghetti sauce stain on your favorite shirt.
• If you are traveling to the interview, map it out in advance. Don’t leave this until the last day. Keep in mind that best choice of route will change based on the time of day you’re traveling so map it out at the time you expect to travel. Add a time buffer and map it again. Locate a coffee shop nearby to kill time (don’t drink too much coffee before the interview).
• If you are having a phone or video interview; test the service from the location you are planning to use. Once you’ve found a location with strong signal, consider the background. What is the interviewer going to see behind you (for video) and hear? You’d be surprised what we at Candorful have seen…
• Plan for the worst. Flying somewhere for an interview? Don’t check luggage. You know how airlines are. Check the weather. Are flights likely to be cancelled? Consider flying the day before. Assume your flight will be late and you might not have time to catch a snack or meal before the interview. Throw a couple of granola bars into your briefcase/bag. You don’t want your energy to wane. And ALWAYS have a good, compact umbrella. It’s worth the investment. Trust us on this.Walk through the logistics of the day and the events leading up to your interview. But then stop, let your mind just forget about it. Think about other things…
Three days before the interview: Plan Some Positive Distraction
Do some things that take you completely away. My favorite way to break away from my nerves is by “reading” fiction via Audible. Headset on, and the world goes away for 15 minutes. This works well as you travel to an interview in the car, on the subway, or by plane. Let me know if you need us to recommend a title…
The day before the interview: Run
I’m not speaking of Fight or Flight here, there is no need to run away from the interview. No, run or workout regularly so that you’re burning that nervous energy and get a good, natural supply of endorphins. This should be second nature to you.
Hours before the interview: Pet the dog
Studies show that pets can calm us and bring us back down to earth. So pet the dog or cuddle the cat. Best to do this before you put on that fresh suit.
Pre-interview nerves are part of the deal, but just like in sports, music, the military, and life, the more you practice something, the better you get at it, and the more prepared and less nervous you feel. It’s a simple formula that we at Candorful know makes all the difference!