I got in a lift recently with a fellow passenger who clearly agitated and anxious, repeatedly stared at her watch as if hoping that the hands would swiftly shift into reverse mode.
She had the demeanour of a patient about to enter a dental surgery.
I ventured “Going on an interview?”. She stared at me wild eyed and slack jawed “Yes” she answered, “How did you know?”
Maybe working in the recruitment industry for over 40 years has given me a sixth sense and a well attuned radar, and maybe I have seen the same body language so often that it is just blatantly apparent to me, but if I can sense the lack of composure and nervousness, my guess is that her interviewer will have reached the same conclusion in a similar period of time.
It’s not that I fail to understand the stress that job hunting causes people, after all we have all been there, and I have certainly coached more candidates than I can possibly remember over the years, it is just that a lack of preparation and focus is difficult to comprehend.
It is a challenge enough to get an opportunity to sit in front of an employer, so why then mess it up by arriving flustered and breathless?
Planning what to wear, the travel route, digesting pertinent information about the interviewer and the business (so easy today through social media and the web), and spending valuable time compiling questions and rehearsing impressive likely answers to predictable interview questions is the very least that needs to be achieved pre-meeting.
Getting your head into the right space, feeling positive and competitive, generating that all-important adrenaline pump, and going in to the interview determined to win is absolutely where it’s at.
What is going to separate you from the other candidates?
Considering what specific attributes and skills you can offer the employer needs to be clear in your mind before the meeting, let alone matching your behaviours and values to the culture of the company.
This is not a time to be shy and retiring about achievements either. If you are not going to shout about how great you are, who is?
Turn the tables, consider how fortunate the employer would be to acquire your skills sets and have you join their business. How fortunate will your prospective colleagues be to work alongside you every day?
You are about to become a major asset to the business and will add enormous value, so why be reticent and self-doubting?
Take a deep breath, remind yourself that you are a very special and unique person, and prepare to make a huge and positive impression.
This is the real deal, maybe a game changing opportunity.
Nobody is going to guarantee that you will be offered the job, and you may not even want it, it’s a two-way street, but make it a meaningful and memorable experience at the very least.
Get your head right, and view an interview as something to be enjoyed and experienced.
Why not? You have everything to gain by being bold and confident.