Yes, job interviews can be scary. It’s your one chance to make a good first impression on your potential employer. You whole, entire career rests with an interviewer who will decide in the first few minutes whether or not they like you. Okay, maybe that’s a big dramatic. But it’s still a stressful experience for most people. Fortunately, with a little preparation, you can diffuse some of your anxiety and take the “scary” out of interviewing. Here are three ways to do that.
3 Ways To Take the Scary Out of Interviews
1. Prepare your route
Nothing will stress you out more before your interview than if you’re late for it. Look up directions well in advance and if you have the time, do a practice run. Account for things like rush hour traffic and bad weather and car accidents that might slow you down. Remember that you want to aim to be early, not just on time. Punctuality is impressive! And if you’re too early, you can always just sit in your car for a few minutes, practicing your answers. Lateness, even if it seems like a very legitimate reason to you, is a major turn-off! Hiring managers want to know that they’re hiring someone who’s reliable and who will show up for work on time.
2. Rehearse your answers
And not just your answers, but the questions you’ll ask at the end of the interview. The more you practice and rehearse, the more your answers will come out naturally. Don’t memorize your responses word for word, of course—that sounds lame. Just have the first part of your answers prepared, so you can begin answering and not sound like a bumbling blowhard. You never know when your nerves will overtake you and make your mind go blank or tie your tongue! If you’ve rehearsed, you’ll sound composed and relaxed, instead of nervous and flustered.
3. Plan your outfit
You’ll feel more confident when you look (and smell) good! Lay out your outfit well in advance and try it on so that you know it fits well. Do some research to find out what the common dress code is at the company and then try to do one better. If it’s business casual, for example, aim to wear a suit. No short skirts or revealing necklines and no holes or t-shirts or large, distracting jewelry. Make sure your hygiene and grooming is stellar and don’t forget deodorant. If you opt to wear perfume or cologne, make sure the odor isn’t too strong. You never know whether your interviewer will be allergic or sensitive to smell.
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Other no-brainer tips include: keep your cellphone off, repeat names so you don’t forget them, research the company ahead of time, avoid discussing politics and religion, bring copies of your resume, references, and cover letter, and don’t bring up salary. Looking for a job? Explore these open jobs and apply today!