How do you NOT bite your nails? Is it possible to tame the butterflies ready to burst through your stomach? My 6 years of work as an actor contributed to this article. I’ve gathered these tips from a fusion of my work experience and from looking into what Forbes.com and Monster.com have to say on the topic of job interviewing.
Visualize the Job…
These tips will work as long as you are applying for a job you will enjoy… a job you can actually visualize yourself doing with a smile on your face…
The skills used by an actor, transferable into any job interview, are:
Breathing Technique (Focus/Calming exercises)
Researching (Preparation; know the company,)
Self Analyzing (Know how experience applies to job you want)
Rehearsing (imagine and sense the flow of the interview)
Listening (Observe and react with focus on their needs)
Affecting your “Scene Partner” (Establish relationship;Interviewer is friend)
“Treat any interview like an audition…”
To leave everything in the interview room, at the end you should walk away saying, “I showed them the best of me and now its up to them.”
Always remember to Breathe and…
Research the company and person you’re interviewing with or as the working actor would say, “auditioning for”.
Basically, if you want to gain an edge over the competition, know who’s who and what’s what, about the company your hoping to land a job with.
Research will help you:
- Know the culture and if possible a bit about the people you may work with. Monster.com and Forbes.com suggest looking into press releases and the company’s website for in depth insight.
- Find out what they need and how your skills will help end their candidate search.
- Study job qualifications and how it relates to other positions in the company.
- Expect (or not expect) to “shoot the wind”, build rapport. If you pay attention it most likely will be at the beginning, then its all business talk…some companies may “just want to talk” at the end. Rare few, may talk at both ends…this would be the “friend” type of interviewer Monster.com describes.
2) Sift and Rehearse
Pick out relevant information about yourself then practice sharing this experience – answer the question: how are you and your skills an asset to this company?
Match job qualifications with your experience. Actually say out loud how you can achieve the tasks of the potential job to yourself, to the mirror or a chair…even better, to a “mock interviewer.”
This will prevent going off into tangents or not answering questions accurately.
3) Prepare Materials, Review and Pray
Review your meticulously gathered notes the night before. Then, upon an early arrival, give yourself 30 min to an hour before you walk in to meditate/pray…let it go.
- Eliminate the fear of forgetting or any type of panic with brief important notes/questions by bringing them with you. Worst case scenario, they’ll appreciate to see you prepared.
- Enable you to print out resume and prep “wardrobe”, job focused attire, the day before.
- Reminds you to rest at ease, you’ve done the harder part of gathering info and sifting through your experience to make it relevant, now you can just go in and have a conversation…
4) Dress the Part
According to the culture of the company, show them you already get how they flow, from the inside and out…
now don’t forget to BREATHE…you did the research remember…now just be you…and get ready to LISTEN
As you walk in make sure you…
5) Connect Confidently
Make a confident and warm connection with everyone on the way into the interview room.
- Use eye contact and a genuine smile that says, “thanks for seeing me today, such an honor to meet you” let them initiate a handshake. If they offer their hand take it and squeeze it with a sense of “thanks so much”, not “hey check out my firm grip!”
6) Take Charge Subtly
Answering questions right off the bat with a calm pace, this is your time…maintain solid eye contact throughout. So STAY CALM and AFFECT them by truly LISTENING, then your answers will rock!!
- Well, if you follow tips 1-5 above, you’re already in great shape!!
- Mainly…keep BREATHING…listen…react, as if you’re having a cup of coffee with them…
*Caution: don’t talk too much…give them just enough info so that they may want to know more about what you’re saying…
- Example of “What would you do?” These type of questions require more attention to detail and procedure. The good news: here’s a chance to get creative and show a bit of how innovative you can be on the spot. (Prep by pre interview tips 1 and 2)
- Questions about yourself and your work ethic should be to the point and focused on how your experience makes you exemplary for this position, use what others have to say about your previous work as potential support, meaning, actual testimonials or recommendation letters if you have them handy…
7) Give a Strong and Graceful Exit
End strong and exit graciously. Bring some relevant questions to the table, about them and their offer. This shows them a serious consideration on your part, to integrate into this company.
Let them lead you out, whether it be verbal or physical. Thank them with the same warm eye contact (if not more relaxed) as the one you walked in with.
and keep this in mind:
- If they don’t offer a follow up session or conversation, ask when would be a good time to follow up…
- Regardless, send a thank you email or postcard within the week.
As you walk out…
Let them initiate a hand shake…if they don’t, its okay, just use your eyes to show gratitude as you say “thanks have a great day”
You’ve done it!! You’ve put these tips to work for you…Here’s the best part: If this does not swing your way, take it as prep for the next one. You’ll get better at it and eventually someone won’t be able to resist how ridiculously professional and effective you are for the job right?!