Last week I had an interview for a part-time job (I think it went really well!). I think part of the reason it went well was because I wasn’t as nervous as I usually am, or as nervous as I would be applying for maybe a more permanent, full-time job. Being less nervous made the interview run smoother, feel better, and ultimately made me more confident during and afterwards.
Here are some of the things that worked well for me that I’m adopting for future interview.
Arrive at least 15 minutes before your interview. You might have to wait until your interviewer is available at your scheduled time, but it shows you’re responsible, timely, and eager. This offer gives you a buffer in case you get lost, hit traffic, the elevator is unexpectedly broken and you have to climb ten flights of stairs, etc.
Bonus: Don’t use your phone while you wait.
In the spare 15 minutes you have, look at the information the company provides in their lobby or reception area. If you’re applying for a retail job, check around the store to get familiar with the merchandise. Working at a restaurant? Peruse the menu. This shows how you’re interested and eager to learn more about the company.
Smile and laugh (but act natural!).
If smiling and laughing doesn’t necessarily fit your personality, don’t fake or force it. But for me, I’m a natural smiley person and remembering to smile makes me feel less nervous and often warms up the interviewer. Don’t be afraid to laugh or make an appropriate joke; besides seeming friendly and open you’ll also calm yourself down.
Don’t be afraid to be honest; it’s much better than being caught in a lie. Be confident in your honesty, and don’t be afraid to swing it in a positive manner. Dreading the upcoming, “why did you leave your last job?” question? Be honest about the type of job you worked for and why you left, but swing it in a manner where you’re bringing it back to your current interview.
Don’t be afraid to pause.
I can’t tell you how many interviews I’ve rushed through to answer each question almost as soon as the interviewer stopped speaking. Take a moment to think, breath, sip some water. It helps to pull together a concise and honest answer, and shows you’re ready to think things through before committing to an answer.
Even if you’re applying for your dream job, remember it’s just an interview. Essentially you’re having a conversation with someone you’ve never met before who’s interested in learning more about you. Take the opportunity to be yourself and speak naturally and freely. Nerves are not good conversation partners; leave them at home.
What are some of your tips for interviewing? Is there anything that makes you especially nervous?