There you are. Best suit on. Sat in a board room facing three very intimidating members of senior management. They’re trying not to be intimidating but they’re failing. Your mind wanders. Are you sitting right? Are you speaking loudly enough? Did you wear a suit when you were supposed to dress casual? Did you dress casual when you were supposed to wear a suit? They start to ask questions. The sweat begins to pour. Panic. Twitching. Fidgeting. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Okay I dramatised that just slightly, but I think most of us can agree that interviews are a little intimidating. Most weeks I go to a co-working space to work, and I always get so nervous for the people coming in to interview for some of the resident companies. This got me thinking about just how nerve-racking interviews are, and whether there might be some coping strategies that can be employed so that, when you’re asked your first question, your response isn’t something along the lines of “errrrrrrrrr, errrrrrrrr…..errrrrrr”.
Squeezing your buttocks
Apparently this is not a joke. Squeezing your buttocks can reduce nervous shaking.
Call me pessimistic, but I am quite pessimistic about this one. Haven’t we got enough to worry about when going for an interview? First we have to not fall out of the chair, not make random high-pitched sounds, and not say stupid things along the lines of ‘I don’t know where I’m going to be in five months let alone five years’.
We’re supposed to throw buttock clenching in with all of this? Hmmmmm.
Stand up while you wait
Well this is a tricky one, with plenty of potential for disaster. The thinking behind this little snippet of wisdom is that being stood up when your interviewers enter the room creates a better impression than if you are prying yourself out of a chair.
But who knows how long these potentially future-determining people are going to be. You could be standing for a long time. The perfect scenario would be one where you sit, but manage to clock your interviewers before they lay eyes on you. Winning!
Make the interviewer feel special
Now this makes sense, not only because someone who you make feel special is likely to treat you more favourably, but also because it takes the attention off you. If you can stop yourself from focusing inwardly during an interview, then your nervousness levels are going to decrease drastically.
Doing plenty of research on those who will be interviewing you can help a lot when it comes to this.
Remember there’s a reason you’re there
As the sweat pours off you and your legs shake uncontrollably (have you tried the buttock clenching?), just remember that you have been shortlisted. They like the cut of your jib. These are busy people, and they’re taking the time to grill you.
Don’t put them on a pedestal
Regardless of who is interviewing you, you should never be too in awe. Of course your interviewers should be respected as heavyweights in their field, but don’t be too intimidated. They are just people who have worked very hard to get where they are, just like you are willing to.
Be on time, but don’t be too early
There is nothing worse than being late for an interview, so you should always make sure you are there at least 10 minutes before you are supposed to be. However, if you arrive say 25 minutes before your interview, that is entirely too much time to be sat contemplating what is about to occur, and plenty of time for your nerves to build up. A nice compromise could be to get to the immediate area around 25 minutes beforehand so you know there is no chance you can be late; you could sooth the nerves with a warm drink and maybe some food and then head in 5 or 10 minutes before the interview start time.
The end of an interview is always a trying time. Your radar is going like the clappers. What is their tone of voice like? Are they asking you if you could start immediately? Do their eyes keep wandering to the sandwich sitting on the desk which they have been waiting to eat all day?
Personally I think all of this worrying is pointless. If they want you, they want you, and if they don’t, then it’s all about positivity; learn from your experience and absolutely destroy the next one! At least you have the buttock clenching trick down to a tee.