Let’s face it; job interviews are often stressful, nerve-wracking and just plain awkward. We all try our best to be prepared before going into each interview, but no matter how much we prepare, it is impossible to anticipate every twist and turn. If there’s no way of knowing exactly how an interview will play out–what questions the interviewer will ask or how your personalities will mesh–the best you can do is take steps to feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible. Check out these five tips for becoming more comfortable in a job interview:
1. Do your research
A big part of feeling confident in an interview is coming into it prepared. The best way to prepare for any interview is to research. Research the company. Learn everything you can about how the company started, what their goals are, who their audience is and what their company culture is like. If you come into the interview with knowledge, your questions and answers will sound more informed. Show the interviewer that you are serious about the position. Lastly, you should research the fastest commute to the office and determine exactly how much time you need to get there. Rushing will only make you more stressed.
2. Get plenty of sleep
When you don’t get enough sleep, your cognitive skills suffer. Your ability to problem-solve and make decisions is at a depreciated level, which will make your skills as an interviewee suffer. Make sure you are well-rested and on top of your game. Head to bed early the night before an interview. If you typically have a difficult time falling asleep, get some exercise a couple of hours before bedtime, have a cup of caffeine-free tea or read a book in bed. Do whatever you can to fall asleep at a reasonable hour.
3. Learn about the interviewer
We’ve all been there: you shake hands with the interviewer, introduce yourself, then realize you have nothing to say other than memorized answers to questions that haven’t been asked. Put yourself at ease by learning a little bit about the interviewer ahead of time. This doesn’t mean learning everything about them, just know the basics. LinkedIn is a good place to start. Where did he/she go to college? What companies did he/she work for previously? What groups is he/she a part of? Take your research a step further by checking out his/her Facebook profile. Do you have friends or interests in common? Having little pieces of knowledge in your back pocket will help fill any awkward silences throughout the interview.
4. Know your best traits
The purpose of an interview is to sell yourself to the interviewer. So, it is very important that you are aware of your best selling points. Consider past performance reviews; what did your manager frequently commend you on? Ask your coworkers what they think your best professional qualities are. Be confident about your best traits and use them in your interview to show who you are.
5. Create a conversation
One of the best ways to put yourself and the interviewer (who might also be uncomfortable) at ease is to start a conversation. After all, one thing the interviewer is looking for during an interview is to see how you would fit in with the other employees. If you can turn the question-and-answer format of an interview into an easy, flowing conversation, that will show him/her that you can work well with others. One easy way to start a conversation is by turning your answer to a question into another question for the interview. For example, the interviewer might ask you, “How long did you work for Microsoft?” You answer, “About 4 years. Have you ever been to their headquarters?” From there, a conversation can begin.
Finally, put an end to the dreaded awkward interview by becoming an interview expert. The biggest part of acing an interview is feeling comfortable. Once you master the ways to prepare and be comfortable for an interview, every interview in the future will start to feel like just another conversation.