Interviewing is perhaps the second most important aspect of any professional’s job search (with your resume being No. 1, of course). The key to achieving career goals is really in one’s ability to communicate well in an interview. Even some of the most qualified and skilled professionals struggle with their performance when interviewing for a job.
Sweaty palms, racing heartbeats and nervous energy are some of the most common signs of an uneasy candidate. The personality and persistence of the interviewer can cause either a pleasant or a dreadful interview experience. However, interviewing can be to your advantage if you approach it with confidence, assurance, and, poise. Consider the 3 P’s when preparing for your next interview.
Candidates often don’t perform well on their interviews because they aren’t adequately prepared. They wake up late, rush to the location, and sit down just in time for their name to be called. But, the best way to ace any interview is to be overly prepared.
Research the company or organization by visiting their Website, connecting with them on Linkedin, conducting a Google search, and reaching out to those in your network who may have worked with them in the past.
Practice your answers to typical interview questions. Even though you can’t possibly know every question that will be asked, strategize how you will respond to any question that is posed. And of course, dress for success. Determine what you’re going to wear in advance; try it on to be sure that it still fits; and if necessary, have it dry cleaned in advance. If you aren’t comfortable in what you’re wearing, it will show during your interview. Remember to keep it solid, sophisticated, and simple. Solid dark colors, professional attire, and simple accessories are always a winning combination.
Arrive at least 15 minutes early for any interview. If you know you tend to be tardy for the party, you should set the bar at 30 minutes. If the interview is in an unfamiliar location, take the trip on an earlier day around the same time that your interview is scheduled. This will allow you to accurately estimate how long it will take you to get there.
You never want to be late for an interview. Be sure that you’re well-rested and leave enough time to eat something light before an interview. There’s nothing more awkward than a nodding interviewee with a growling stomach. Talk about a bad combination! Remember, how you perform during your interview is usually an indication to employers of your work ethic, reliability, and overall personality. So, don’t immediately discredit yourself by being late.
Regardless of what your personal religious affiliation may be, it is always wise to tap into the higher power that gives you peace and tranquility during stressful times. Though you may be a nervous wreck, you have what it takes to ace any interview.
With calmness comes confidence. And with confidence comes character. Take some deep breaths, repeat your favorite scripture, or hum your favorite inspirational song. Always trust that whatever the results are, you’ll ultimately end up right where you’re supposed to be. When you walk out that door, you’ll be able to rest in knowing that you’ve done your very best … and that’s all that anyone could really ask for.
Aisha Taylor (@realTAYLORmade) is co-owner and chief consultant at TAYLORmade Professional Career Consulting, a Web-based, full-service career consulting company committed to “equipping, preparing, and empowering today’s professional” globally. Check out her weekly insights on job-seeking and interviewing success every Friday on BlackEnterprise.com.