Shining in the Interview Spotlight
by Robin Ryan
Interview got you nervous? There’s no instant replay when you’re sitting before the interviewer, so here’s what to do. In every interview you are an actor. Your role is the job seeker. Just as Hollywood’s top stars practice and prepare, so will you. Every actor knows that verbal messages are enhanced by body language, facial expression, voice intonation and props. When the job interview spotlight shines on you, you begin a one-time-only performance. So make your words, body language, and voice work to aid you in landing the job. Here are some tips:
Deal with Nervousness
A little nervousness can actually aid you in being sharp and improve your performance. But heart-thumping, face-twitching, voice-quivering nervousness will reflect poorly on you and the strong self-confident, “I can solve your problems” impression you are trying to make. To rid your body of nervous tension, just before you go into the interview find a private spot outside or in the restroom, shake out your arms, legs, and hands. Take a couple of deep breaths. This physical exercise releases tension that has built up and helps calm you. Then, close your eyes and visualize a scene about winning, seeing yourself as the “winner.” This visualization helps get you into a positive, “I can do it” framework.
The night before the interview pack up what you need to bring. Always have extra résumés—yes, they do lose them and misplace them. Bring your list of references. Be sure all addresses, e-mails, and phone numbers are current and accurate. Include any work samples and the list of questions you intend to ask. Have absolute clear directions, and if you don’t know where you are going, find it the night before. Being late is a major no-no.
Pass the First Impression
Before you even say hello, the employer’s mind is evaluating attire, hygiene, style, and formulating an opinion as to whether or not you should represent their organization. Especially in today’s more casual, dressed-down workplace, appearance counts a great deal with employers. Therefore, dress professionally. Greet the interviewer with a smile, and offer a firm handshake. Nothing creates a poorer impression than a weak, couple-of-fingers handshake.
Watch Your Non-Verbal Clues
Movements, gestures, posture and facial expressions are an important part of your overall performance. A sincere smile sends a warm, confident message. Eye contact is one of the most important things employers notice about you. It conveys confidence that your message is believable. Don’t be robotic. Smile often, and be yourself. Do use vocal intonations to make your point so you’ll seem personable.
Offer Support Documentation
Every employer loves to see proof that you can do their job. It’s impressive to bring samples that demonstrate your abilities to do the job. Some examples: a spreadsheet that is an efficient tracking system, reports you have written, materials you have created, brochures that list you as a panelist or Speaker, etc.
Hear the employer’s questions, hear their needs, hear their expectations. If you listen carefully, employers often reveal everything you need to know. It is frustrating for the interviewer to ask questions that never get answered, so listen closely. Many employers reveal their “hidden agendas,” those few things that really influence their decision. Paying close attention allows you to really address their true needs and land the job.
© Copyright 2008 Robin Ryan. All rights reserved.
Robin Ryan has appeared on Oprah and Dr. Phil and is considered to be America’s top career coach. Robin has a busy career counseling practice providing individual career coaching, resume writing services, interview preparation, salary negotiations, and outplacement to clients nationwide. She is the best-selling author of : "60 Seconds & You're Hired!," "Soaring On Your Strengths," "What to Do With the Rest of Your Life," "Winning Resumes," and "Winning Cover Letters." A dynamic national speaker, Robin has spoken to over 1200 audiences sharing her insights on how to improve their lives and obtain greater success. Contact Robin at: 425.226.0414, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit her website: http://www.robinryan.com