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Ace your job interview: part 4

Wanna Ace Your Job Interview?

It’s time for tip #4!

If this is your first time checking in on this series, take some time to go back and read the prior tips so you can know what to wear, know, and say in your interview. This week, let’s ask ourselves…

QUESTION #4:  What do they (the interviewer) think?

This is a big one.

The problem that many people face when they are entering into an interview is that they are too self-conscious.

To be self-conscious is to be preoccupied with yourself. It’s good to be self-aware; to know your strengths and weaknesses, and to be prepared with certain things to say… but there is such a thing as being too consumed with yourself.

While applying around for a job, you probably have run into at least one of those ‘personality assessment’ tests that are out there. I remember my first time trying to find a job, I went to the local Publix to apply on their in-store computer station.  I thought it would only take a minute or two, but I found myself standing there for 30 minutes (or more), filling out what seemed like hundreds of questions like: “True or False: I work my best under pressure,” and “A customer approaches you who is obviously angry and starts yelling at you. What do you do?”

Oh, how stressed out I would get over these tests! My mind would be racing – what if I got that question wrong? How would I handle an angry customer? I think I’d do this…and this seems like the right answer, but is that what I’d really do? *insert mental breakdown here* I couldn’t think clearly about the questions because I was so self-conscious and worried about answering incorrectly.

Many of us feel that exact same anxiety during an actual interview. We over-think and over-analyze everything we say and do until we go crazy. (Or maybe this is just me. Am I alone here, people?)

If you are like me, and you have found yourself too busy thinking about yourself during the interview (“Oh no, I said that wrong…” “Gosh, I should’ve changed this sentence on my resume… “ “I hope that I answered that correctly…”), you will overlook opportunities to win over your future employer. So, instead of thinking about “me, me, me” the entire interview – ask yourself, “what do they think?”

The reason I believe that it is important to get out of your own head, is because once you do, you’ll be able to read the room. Reading a room is one of the most valuable skills a person can have, and when you’re too consumed with yourself, it is very unlikely that you will be able to do this effectively. Pay attention to how the interviewer speaks; see if they have a sense of humor, or if they are very prim and proper. After that, tailor your speech and your actions to match theirs. If they are sitting with good posture, mirror them. If they are easy going and aren’t afraid to laugh in the interview, show a little more personality as you’re speaking with them.

There is a fine balance here of being yourself in the interview while also reflecting the communication style of the other person (or people) in the room.  It takes practice, but once you master this art, you’ll be able to not just hold your interviewer’s interest, but you will actually get them to like you! (Making them like you, if you didn’t know, is one of the most important steps to getting hired!)

To review: It is good to be self-aware, to know yourself, and to be prepared for the interview (or else my other posts in this series are irrelevant!) There just needs to be balance. Think about when you’re talking to a friend of yours. Will it benefit your relationship if you are only thinking of yourself every single time you speak with your friend? Not at all! Your relationship will fizzle out and die because you didn’t take time to listen to your friend.

So, when going into an interview, take time to truly listen to your interviewer and to observe them. Use the tips above on reading the room to get on the same playing field as the person you’re speaking with.And finally, take a deep breath. It’s understandable that interviews can be nerve-wrecking, and can seem to be overwhelming. But you can do it. Review that list you made last week of your strengths, and let yourself be encouraged. You can conquer the interview process! And you will only get better with each and every interview you have.

Have any questions for Hana? Leave your comment below!