From Luke Armstrong of Coburg Consultants
Breathing. All of a sudden you are conscious about your breathing. It’s really fast isn’t it? Slow it down, slow it down, slow it down, slow it down. Better. Are your palms sweaty? Gross, wipe them. You sure you shouldn’t pee one last time before they come to get you? What if they come and you’re not here? Better not. Oh no, is that the secretary?! “Hi, I’m…” *Mind goes blank*
Why are job interviews so incredibly stressful? For some, it’s the job imperative. For others, it’s a desire to be liked. There is uncertainty in the forthcoming questions. Some people are just plain shy.
Whatever the reason, job interviews don’t have to be torturous. In fact, enjoying the interview process can yield returns in the form of better rapport with your interviewer and more insightful responses. There are 36,100,000 articles on job interview techniques, and most of these are likely valid. But here we’ll try to present some lesser-known techniques from industry experts, behavioral psychology, and personal experience.
Research the company thoroughly. Learn everything you reasonably can about the company before you go in for the interview. Who were their visionary leaders? Recent major events? Major competitors? A good knowledge of the business and its industry could give you insight into the qualities the company is looking for, or even just give you fodder for conversation with your interviewer, which can be more of an asset than you may realize.
Research will help you engage your interviewer in dialogue, and this will help you bond and remove barriers to communication from both sides of the table. Approaching the interview as a conversation rather than a one-way performance will put you at ease and dissipate anxiety about “acing” the interview. Controlling anxiety is essential to interacting authentically with your interviewer – the kind of interaction that creates meaningful connection.
Self-confidence is another great way to get past anxiety. Less helpful interview tips pamphlets will offer abstractions on thinking about your strengths and committing to success. But Amy Cuddy, a professor and researcher at Harvard Business School, advocates for “power posing,” a method of using body postures to manage stressful situations. “Our bodies change our minds, and our minds can change our behaviour, and our behaviour can change our outcomes,” she said in her 2012 TED Talk.
But no matter how much power posing you do, some stress will exist.
“When your blood gets pumping and you’re fired up, you have to embrace it. It worked for me in sports and it’s worked for me in job interview situations too,” said Stuart Lang, a second-year MBA student. Stress is a natural reaction, so there’s no use in denying its eventuality.
These tips hold true whether you’re a second-year interviewing for postgrad employment, a first-year interviewing for a residency, or an undergraduate prospective student interviewing with our recruiters. Research the organization, engage your interviewer, be confident, and embrace the natural stress of the process and you’ll be wondering why you were so worked up in the first place.