I'm going to take a minute to brag about myself. I'm a mom of two beautiful children, I have a job, and I started my own resume consulting business. 6 weeks ago, I decided to start this blog and I honestly didn't know if I could do it. I was full of doubts. I doubted that I had enough time, energy and if I was a good enough writer. I put all those doubts aside and decided to do it anyway. In my very first post, I set the goal to write a blog entry for each area I identified as a way to improve resume performance. I'm proud to say that I completed that goal last week! With one goal accomplished, I'm setting a new goal. I'm going to dedicate my next three blog posts to how you can nail the interview. You might be thinking, "Alright, enough bragging already!" But I do have a point I'm trying to get at. I want you to brag too.
I've talked a lot about getting your resume looking good, sounding good, and how to get it out there for organizations to see. This week, I want to talk about what happens when all that hard work finally pays off and you start getting interviews! When you get an invitation to your next job interview, I want you to feel comfortable about tooting your own horn. This has never been a problem for me, but for some, bragging is right up there with nails on a chalkboard. It can make people feel uncomfortable. I'm all about being humble, but I throw my humbleness aside when it comes to a job interview. Your there to get that job right? There is no room for shyness. If you want to put your best foot forward and walk out of that interview knowing you couldn't have done better, you've got to get comfortable about bragging about yourself because if you don't, there's no one else in that interview room who will do it for you.
How do you get comfortable with it you ask? It's all about being prepared. Being Prepared = CONFIDENCE.
I'm going to be totally honest with you. I used to wing some of my interviews. I had the attitude that I knew where I'd been, what I'd done, and where I wanted to go. I thought preparing for an interview wasn't always necessary and too much preparation would psych myself out. I couldn't have been more wrong and as a result, some interviews I'd do okay and others I'd totally bomb. I had no consistency. After a series of failed interviews, I did some soul searching. I asked myself what the common denominator was in the interviews I bombed? It was me. The interviews where I didn't do well, were the ones I didn't adequately prepare for.
In today's blog, I'm going to walk you through my 3-2-1 process for interview preparation that will help you build the confidence to excel in your interviews. Follow this process and you'll find that your feelings of anxiety about selling yourself will ease, and you'll walk into that interview with a confident, winning attitude that will increase your chances of getting that job you deserve!
Do Your Homework
To build your confidence for the interview and perform well, it is essential to do your homework. Think of it this way. If you had a final exam for a course you were taking and wanted to be confident that you'd pass, wouldn't you open your book to study? It's the same concept. Doing your interview homework doesn't have to be intensive. A week before the interview, start your preparation. Research the organization, review the job posting, review the cover letter and resume you submitted for the position, and prepare some questions of your own.
Know Who You'll Be Meeting With
Have you ever walked into an interview thinking you'll be meeting with one person, but you suddenly realize you're being seated in front of a panel of three other people? I have. Can you say awkward? I remember that experience vividly and I was thrown off. My nerves went from a 3 to an 11 in about 10 seconds flat, I felt intimidated and I couldn't recover. I bombed that interview. I learned my lesson, and from that day forward I promised myself that it wouldn't happen again. I always ask who I will be meeting with and what they do for the company. Building confidence to nail your interview, simply starts with knowing who to expect at your meeting. The last thing you need on the day of the interview are surprises, it will kill your confidence.
Research the Organization
Hopefully you've already done some research about the organization when you were preparing your resume and cover letter, but just in case you haven't read my other blog posts. I'll remind you. Researching who you will be potentially working for is important not only for the customization of your resume, and the fact that if you get the job you'll be spending a large portion of your life there, it's vital for an interview because it's an expectation. Recruiters expect that you know details about the company and that you're prepared to share that information. Being caught not knowing anything about the organization can change the tone of an interview quickly.
I don't recommend spending a week memorizing their annual report, all you need to do is familiarize yourself with what they do, their vision, mission, values and any current media releases. All this information is readily available on their website.
Review the Job Posting Again
Building confidence so you can brag about yourself begins with knowing exactly what the organization is looking for. By the time you get to the interview it may have been a month or longer since you seen the job positing. You may have forgotten some of the details. Pull it out and remind yourself of the skills, competencies and qualifications they mention and take note of the keywords they use.
Review your Own Resume
You might think that you don't need to do this because you know your resume inside and out, but trust me on this one. In order to build your confidence to shine in the interview you need link and think. More recruiters are challenging candidates by getting them to qualify their answers with proven experiences using behavioural-based interview questions. These questions start with "Tell me about time when..." , they want you to tell them about a specific situation, what the issue was, what you did and what the outcome was. To get prepared, you need to link the skills and competencies required on the job posting to the experiences you have on your resume and think of situations that answer these type of questions. So, for example, if they ask for someone who has attention to detail, you should think of strong situational examples for at least two of your previous employment experiences. I plan on talking a lot more about behavioural-based interviews in my next blog entry. Stayed tuned.
Draft 5 - 10 Questions
The interview is not only the organization's opportunity to ask you questions, but it's also your chance to ask some of your own. Having prepared questions is a great confidence booster because it facilitates conversation and builds rapport. It engages the recruiter and gives them an opportunity to interact with you on a deeper level. Recruiters love answering your questions, in fact, they expect that you'll have some. Think of 5 to 10 questions that you could pose to the recruiter. Have lots ready because odds are some of them will be answered throughout the interview. Not sure what to ask? This article by the interview guys is a great read to get you thinking.
Do a Final Review and Have Your Notes Organized
This is pretty simple. Review your notes from the week and put them in a notebook that you can bring to the interview. Yes! It's more than okay to bring notes to your interview. I'm always impressed when someone comes that prepared. Have a copy of your submitted resume and cover letter for yourself, and have your references ready to submit.
Pick Out Your Power Outfit
When you look good don't you carry yourself with more confidence? Please keep reading. I'm not going to bore you with obvious advice like wearing a pair of ripped jeans or that awesome mini skirt that makes your ass look great is not a good idea. You're smart, you know this. I'm talking about taking the stress out of the day of the interview. Don't allow something like not finding the right outfit a couple of hours before you have to leave the house frazzle your nerves. Maybe, you can't relate, but I've done this. I've ripped everything out of my closet trying to find that dress shirt I love but I can't find it, or oops! there's a stain on my pants and need to find another pair that matches my shirt. Before I know it, I'm seriously stressing out. I learned to take that stress factor out my interview day and I pick out my outfit the day before. I also make sure that what I'm wearing isn't a distraction. It's important to be comfortable and not preoccupied by what your wearing while trying to have a conversation with someone.
Know Where Your Going
I have a story for you. I was going to an interview and I was so excited and proud of myself. I was fully prepared, I looked good and I was well ahead of schedule and enjoying a coffee before the meeting. When it was time to show up to the interview, I couldn't find the address. PANIC. I double checked and triple checked the address I wrote down and I still couldn't find it. 5 minutes late. DOUBLE PANIC! I had to call the company for directions. The company had recently moved buildings and I had the old address. To make a long story short, I ended up being 25 minutes late to the interview. I was frazzled and I looked haggard by the time I got there. Any confidence I had went out the door because I was convinced they weren't going to hire me because I was so late. Moral of this story. Know where you're going. Confirm the company address before the interview day and get a map if you're not sure of the area that you'll be going to.
Be a Good Time Manager
I'm not a great time manager. I try, I really do, but I 'm one of those people who always under estimates anomalies like traffic. For those of you who don't have this problem. Good on ya, but for those like me who struggle, just give some extra thought about how much time you need to get yourself where you need to be without rushing or worrying about being late.
Okay. This entire blog post has been about getting prepared and now I'm telling you not to. Yes, the day of the interview, I don't want you to prepare anymore. Fight the urge to keep reviewing your notes. You've done you're homework, be confident that you're ready. Don't cram before the exam they say. Cramming will only add to any stress you may be feeling. The day of the interview, you want to keep yourself in a calm, cool and collected place. You look good and you've done your preparation - all you need to do now is knock em' dead.
I hope you've found this post about building confidence to brag about yourself at your next interview through interview preparation valuable. These are tips that I use personally and use to guide my clients when I coach about interview preparation. They work! But before you go, I want you to remember this. Recruiters don't want you to fail. They've asked you to come for an interview because they see potential in you. You've probably been short-listed from a large pool of candidates, so you're already a winner. If you feel nerves setting in as the interview day approaches, remind yourself of this and know that you're prepared to get that job you deserve! Be confident in what you have to offer and go show that recruiter who's boss.
You know I got to do it! Shameless Plug Time: Check me out at resumesbycvboss.com
Next Week: Recruiter Secrets - The Job Interview Decoded
Photo Credits: Liftarn and Krzysiu
JC Halfkenny is CV Boss. With over 20 years of recruitment experience she has reviewed thousands of resumes and hired hundreds in various industries such as manufacturing, spa and wellness, finance, retail and aviation. As an experienced recruiter, she knows the secret of resume writing lies in knowing precisely what to put in, precisely what not to put in, and exactly what kind of a spin to put on a resume, to ensure it will stand out from the crowd.