Monday, July 26, 2010

How To Stop Nervousness From Ruining Your Chances Of Giving A Brilliant Interview

This past week, I was involved in interviewing several applicants for a sales position with a company. I got to experience something that I had forgotten about. NERVES!

Sweating, stammering your words, fidgeting, giving confused answers, dropping your words, all of these are a sure sign of your nervousness during an interview.

Though some nervousness is expected, occasionally our nervousness can become too much. I’ve been undone by nervousness. I’ve drawn a blank in the middle of an interview. Did it hurt me? I believe it did. Too much nervousness can ruin your chances.

I can’t let that happen. So today I’m going to tell you how to stop nervousness from ruining your chances of giving a brilliant interview.

The first thing we should realize is that calming our nerves starts long before we even get into the interview.

THE DAY BEFORE THE INTERVIEW

  1. As you all know VERY WELL BY NOW…preparation is a key. If you’ve not prepared correctly, then…too bad. Prep will help you focus and concentrate.
  2. Make sure you’ve gotten enough sleep. I cannot stress the importance of this. I come on the show sometimes when I’ve not had enough sleep. It’s really hard to be fresh and quick thinking if I spent the night before watching TV/Playing video games until 3am.
  3. For goodness sake, DO NOT DRINK the night before! NO MATTER WHAT…even if your nose falls off.
THE MORNING OF THE INTERVIEW
  1. Eat a good breakfast.
  2. Check your documents.
  3. Meditate or pray. Even if you are not religious. It can’t hurt!
  4. Arrive early. On the way there, listen to music that calms your nerves. Don’t think too much about questions. Don’t stress practicing cramming. You’ve prepped enough already.
  5. Visualize success. Think “can”. Visualize yourself going through the motions, answering questions brilliantly.
  6. Remember that you should not be worried about what they will think about you. You should be concerned about what you will express. Think value. What are you giving them?
  7. Meditate some more. Deep breaths.
  8. No coffee, no coke. Green Tea is okay. Try not to smoke. (Remember the bad breath principle.) Appealing to the senses.
SO HOW DO YOU STAY CALM DURING THE INTERVIEW?
  1. Remember to try and focus on communicating, not on being judged or on how you are perceived. I cannot stress this enough. Your job is to provide value, to share your resources. To be seen as a resourse person not a job begger.
  2. Try to remember that they want you there. Even if you are among tonnes of other applicants. They want you there.
  3. Avoid comparing yourself with others. Even if you are alone, stay present, and don’t drift off to other things.
  4. (This is better advice for preparation, but…) Know yourself. Know how you get when you are nervous. Know your patterns. Stay present with yourself. Do you forget what you were going to say? Do you bounce your knee? Do you sweat profusely? Then prepare to address the problem. Think about your answer before you say it, keep a hand on your knee to realize more quickly when it starts to bounce, take a dress handkerchief with you in your pocket, etc. Block the problems from happening.
  5. Posture posture posture. Focusing on your posture helps stay present.
  6. Be yourself, if possible. If you are a humourous person, try to be as you are. Remember, you are a resourse that the company will potentially hire. They want you, not some pretend version of you that you THINK will win their hearts.
  7. Remember that if you do mess up, it’s okay. Try to use humor. Say something like, “Please realize that I am nervous. Usually I speak in full sentences, but apparently not today.” Humor is good, when used gently and appropriately.
  8. Don’t give up. Don’t listen to your feelings. If your feelings start to tell you “You ruined it.” Don’t listen. They don’t know! Keep going, and NEVER GIVE UP!
  9. Remember that it’s just a test. Try not to think in terms of all or nothing. I’ve said this before, but it needs to be remembered.
  10. Don’t think you need to answer immediately. Take a moment. Take a breath. Then…plunge.
  11. Focus on your body. Practice relaxing the tension. Go loose. (I don’t mean melt into your chair, but untense your body. Breath into your stomach. Imagine your breath running down into your legs and hands. Focus on your breath. This is vital to staying calm! Vital to keep you from reacting to thoughts that come and infect you during the show.)

Interviews are tough enough as it is. Delivering a convincing sales pitch is too much of a challenge to have excessive nervousness to fight against too. So practice these tips and you’ll be certain to improve your chances!

For more information, go here and there.

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