How to Calm Your Job Interview Jitters
Are you ready for your next job interview? If that question makes you nervous, that’s understandable – a job interview can make or break your chances of getting hired, so you might feel a great deal of pressure to make a good impression.
To help you prepare for your next interview, we asked Joana Loyola, a Talent Acquisition Specialist at Carecor Health Services, to share her tips on how to stay calm and feel confident.
Q: People often feel nervous or stressed out before a job interview. Joana, what advice can you share with job candidates?
A: I think people will feel more confident if they plan ahead and prepare. First, you should know as much as possible about the position you’re applying for, including job responsibilities, and you should learn about the company or organization.
Second, review your resumé and make sure it’s up to date. Sometimes I talk to candidates and find out their current employer isn’t on their resumé. This happens a lot with health care providers, because they might work in multiple places at the same time.
Also, think about what details could make a difference in your resumé. Let’s say I have experience doing a certain kind of project or leading a group. Putting that in my resumé adds to my experience and qualifications, and it could make a difference for me.
Q: What are some other ways to prepare for an interview?
A: I recommend practicing with a friend. You can find interview questions online, from websites like Monster, LinkedIn or Indeed. Find specific questions for the position you’re applying for, as well as general interview questions, and practice answering them out loud. In your real interview, the questions might not be exactly the same, but you’ll have some familiarity and feel more comfortable giving answers. That allows you to be more conversational and less formal, and you can feel more relaxed.
Q: When researching a job opportunity, what should people look for?
A: You can find a lot of information on a company’s website, including what they do, how they work, and their vision, mission and values. See if these details align with what you’re looking for in a new job and a new employer. For example, do you know what it’s like to work for a health care staffing agency? Knowing this kind of info also helps you understand what the interviewer is looking for, and that can help you make a good impact during the discussion.
If you know the name of the interviewer you’ll be speaking to, it’s a good idea to get to know them as well, by searching for them on the company website or on LinkedIn. You’ll get an idea of what this person does at the organization and what their interests are, which helps you relate to them and find commonalities.
You’re also welcome to bring questions to the interview. This shows me that you’re interested in learning about the company, the position and the people you could be working with. I want the interview to be a two-way conversation – and it’s better to ask questions now rather than find out later the job isn’t a good fit.
Q: How can people prepare for an online interview?
A: Find a quiet, comfortable place with no distractions. Test out your computer and microphone in advance. Log in 10 to 15 minutes before the interview time and test your equipment again, and make sure the video chat app is working and up to date. If you have an interview scheduled but didn’t receive a Zoom invitation, or if you need help with the technology, don’t wait until the last minute to ask.
You can also prepare by writing down a few notes for yourself. During a job interview, it’s easy to lose your train of thought, especially if you’re nervous – having notes available might help you feel less anxious. For example, you could write down some bullet points about your strengths and weaknesses, in case you’re asked about those.
Before the interview, make sure you’ve submitted every requirement on time, such as your resumé and any forms. On the day of the interview, prepare yourself to look good, even though it’s going to be online. You’ll feel more confident if you’re dressed nicely. (Get more tips for virtual interviews.)
Q: What if a job candidate has a gap in their work history?
A: If there’s a gap in your resumé, it’s best to be honest and straightforward about why. Don’t hold back on information, because we’ll eventually find out anyways. If you had a personal issue, then say so – you don’t have to provide all the details. In general, I’d rather interviewees be honest upfront rather than us finding out in the middle of the onboarding or hiring process.
Q: Do you have any final words of advice?
A: When it comes to job interviews, don’t wing it! I’ve done that before, and it didn’t do me any good. You should be well prepared, even if you’re just doing the interview for practice.