Traditional interviews are still the go-to process as a way of evaluating candidates. HR and/or a hiring manager still ask candidates to talk about their skills and experiences as a way to determine if they are a fit for the job. This has been the industry standard for years! And because of this, it’s also a great source of stress! But the stress can be minimized by following some simple tips.
Depending on the company, your first interaction may be a telephone interview. These are usually quick, to the point and their purpose is to confirm that you meet specific requirements of the role. Make sure you are prepared. Don’t be surprised if the person calling starts in with their questions immediately after confirming they have the right person. When you are in job search mode, carry information with you at all times on the roles and companies you’ve applied to so you can access them quickly.
A phone interview may then be followed by an in-person interview or a panel interview. During an in-person interview questions may range from traditional to behavioural. Take your time to really listen to the question being asked and give yourself time to process. Don’t be worried about the silence. It’s not necessary to fill every moment. I’ve seen candidates come to an interview with a note pad to write down the key parts of my question. What a smart idea. By doing that you create a visual cue and it helps keep you focused when answering. Stress makes your brain do things it wouldn’t do under different circumstances. So the less you can leave to chance the better.
Behavioural questions work on the premise that past behaviour is a predictor of future behaviour. These questions usual start with “tell me about a time when…” I highly recommend that you have a copy of your resume in front of you as a way to easily recall past experiences. When answering behavioural questions make sure your answer has the following three sections:
This system will ensure that you provide a complete answer and keep you from getting off track – another symptom of stress!
Lastly, don’t forget about non-verbal cues, they can give away more than you know. Distracting hand gestures or lack of eye contact can affect your success. Specific body language like crossing your arms, your posture or fidgeting will factor into the decision making process. Take the time to do mock interviews with a friend of family member and have someone video tape it. It’s a great way to find out if you have any unconscious gestures or movements.
The interview process can be nerve racking or you can take control and do something about it.