Remember the protagonist Hari in Chetan Bhagat’s debut novel, ‘Five Point Someone’? How he always seemed to lose his voice in the exam vivas? He even resorted to drastic measures like taking vodka shots before the exam, and predictably ended up in a huge mess.
Hari’s predicament has struck a chord with millions of people (probably one of the many reasons why the book became an overnight sensation), who botch up job interviews due to intense interview nerves.
(This guest post is submitted by Qbera)
The big bad interview is just around the corner. Are you feeling apprehensive? Do you look at your more confident and suave friends with envy? But guess what! Communication skills can be cultivated, unlike inborn talents like singing, dancing or painting.
All great speakers began somewhere and beginnings were not pretty.
Numerous qualified and immensely talented aspirants have lost their cool under duress and displayed cringe-worthy (to them) stutters and shaky hands. Maybe you did as well. But you can work on yourself. Soon you will ooze confidence.
Now, nerves are not all that bad. It does provide you with that initial burst of spontaneity, after all. But after that? Not so good. You have worked hard to earn your degrees. Don’t let nerves breed self-doubts on your years of hard work.
Here are 5 easy tips on how to handle interview nerves and give the interview your best shot:
1) Positive self-reminders:
Something in your CV caught their eye. It could stand out amidst thousands of resumes. Isn’t that simply WOW? That’s the basics covered. They certainly think you capable enough or at least worthy enough to invest time and money into honing you. At the interview, they just want to see you present your professional qualifications and experiences in the given time. Allow yourself to bask in this revelation.
Of course some people are spontaneous enough to ace interviews and presentations without much groundwork. They have that commanding presence too. But that doesn’t mean the rest of you don’t stand a chance. Charisma and spontaneity have always found cutthroat competition in planning and preparation. Apart from being well-versed in your area of expertise, it can include reading up about the company, job description and interviewers. Do some social media stalking if you must.
3) Dummy run:
You know the answer, but your voice betrays. It has happened in the past. You are afraid it might happen this time too. Start rehearsing at least a few weeks in advance until you get it right. Practicing in front of a mirror works well. Work on your posture and please please don’t slouch. Decide what to do with your hands, but keep them visible. And most importantly- eye contact. You can also try recording these mock interviews on phone and track your progress.
4) Conciseness and staying on the topic:
Yes, they (the interview panel) expect you to open up- but in a way that’s appealing, gratifying and candid. Avoid rambling; it is a dead giveaway that your nerves are getting the better of you. Hardly what you call professional, isn’t it? It is better to organize your points and claims while rehearsing. Don’t forget to support your claims with previous work and references.
Also read: Badass Interview Process
5) Unreliable caffeine-fix:
Coffee-thoning before your interview is a very bad idea. So is feasting on chocolates or smoking. And yes, vodka shots (courtesy Hari) goes on the list too. The reason is simple science. The adrenaline rush is already there and the additional kick can only induce more anxiety. If you must, eat a fistful of dry fruits at least 15 minutes before the interview. A fail-safe way to sustain energy to the end.
Above all, nothing beats being yourself to come across as authentic, calm and poised. What’s your best advice to conquer interview nerves? Do share them with us and our readers.
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