How To Ace Your Next Job Interview

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We all get nervous. But what if your nervousness costs you your dream job?

A study from two researchers at the University of Guelph in Canada reveals that anxiety during a job interview can often mean you don’t get hired. But what they found was it wasn’t so much about the blushing and nervous tics; it was more about the lack of confidence.

We all make snap judgments about people based on the way they make us feel; those that appear confident and warm inspire trust. Meanwhile, those who are incompetent will drain our energy, and people who are emotionally distant may actively make our lives more difficult.

So how can you beat the stress of a job interview? How can you inspire trust in the space of a 15-minute conversation?

Here are three surefire ways to not let your anxiety get the best of you.

 

Speak with Confidence

When you’re nervous, you can either speak too quickly or too slowly. If you talk too fast, you’ll mumble and be hard to understand. But if you linger over your words or hesitate, you’ll show your anxiety.

Aim for balance. The average speaking rate is between 120 and 150 words per minute. While you can certainly try to gauge your speaking rate, the important thing is to speak clearly and with confidence. Watch out for long, awkward pauses; saying “um” a lot; and slurring your words together.

It’s helpful to rehearse the answers to some common questions, like “Why should I hire you?” and “Tell me about your experience in this area.” You can find a list of common interview questions here.

 

Be Friendly

It’s easy to be so focused on the outcome of the interview that you forget you’re talking to a fellow human being. Take time to look them in the eye, smile, and say hi. Ask them how their day is going. Being friendly and taking a personal interest in them demonstrates you not only have the training and experience for the job, but also the interpersonal skills to go along with it.

Besides, they need to be able to imagine themselves working with you. If you’re aloof or too stressed out, it’s going to be difficult to picture you on their team or working with customers.

 

Be Assertive

First, get out of your head that being assertive means being a bully. That simply isn’t true. Assertiveness in a job interview demonstrates confidence and the ability to get your work finished.

When it comes to body language, be assertive means you maintain eye contact; speak in a clear, firm voice; and keep an open body posture.

Being assertive could also mean that if the interviewer doesn’t comment on a specific issue (i.e., benefits, schedule expectations), you ask about it. Or if they don’t give you a chance to demonstrate your skills or pull out your portfolio, you bring it up, instead.

The University of Kent has a great 12-question quiz you can review to see how assertiveness can play out in a job interview.1

 

Conclusion

It’s only natural to get nervous during a job interview. After all, you want to make a good impression and get the position. But not controlling your nerves will only ensure you don’t get the job. By speaking confidently and being friendly and assertive, you can overcome the stress and be a candidate who stands out from the rest!

 

Additional Resources


  1. The website is a bit of an eyesore, but it has useful information.