Most of us can NOT sleep well the night before an important interview. Or even the week before. An interview can change the course of your life and certainly determine at least your near future, so it is pretty important. Therefore, it’s good to be prepared to relax during it, knowing it’s “all good“! Let us help you based on our own experience with interviews.
The scariest thing is probably thinking about all those questions you’ll get asked, so we have a separate article How to Prepare for an Interview about the questions you’ll get asked for sure and how to approach them! Now let’s tackle the rest of the issues we even forget to worry about during an interview!
1. Body Position
Be aware of how coffee affects you. If it makes you hyper – don’t drink it before an interview as it’ll make you jittery and shaky. But then, on the other hand, don’t look exhausted. No slumping down in the chair like you are liquid. Just imagine if you were the interviewer – would you like it if the candidate in front of you looked so relaxed that they’re basically melting. The best is to sit up straight and meet your interviewer at eye level – this will make you look confident.
2. Eye Contact
Talking about eye level – you should also keep eye contact. Eye contact, in general, is most people’s nightmare. A friend of mine told me a trick her teacher taught her. So, you do not need to actually stare into someone’s eyes because when you don’t feel like doing it, it just looks unnatural. Instead, look at their brows, as they won’t know the difference but it’ll be less stressful for you! Don’t let your eyes wander around the room aimlessly – it shows a lack of focus. Staring at your hands or the floor shows a lack of confidence and can be misinterpreted as if you have something to hide. The eyes are the door to a person’s soul so let the interviewer in!
3. Hand Gestures
Many people do weird things with their hands and fingers – twisting, turning, fidgeting. It’s normal, I guess because we don’t know what to do with them. You can read so much about what every hand pose means – crossing your arms in front of you is a sign of defense, behind your back – of insecurity, etc. So here’s the most simple solution that can’t go wrong: place your hands on the table and interlock your fingers. This way you’re forced to sit forward, not bury yourself into the chair plus you get to “challenge” the interviewer by showing him/her you’re not nervous (even if you are). I was going to talk about the importance of a firm hand shake but it’s quite obvious. Just 1 quick remark: my dear Spanish friends, don’t forget to reach out for a handshake, not lean in for kisses if you’re interviewing in the U.S. Just thought I should remind you of that!
4. Facial Expression
We’re accustomed to thinking of interviews as a super formal occasion but in the end, we are being interviewed by another human being. Therefore, it’s important to find the correct balance. My suggestion: clothes and hair (and makeup if you’re a girl) should be as formal as you think they should be for that position in that company. But here’s what doesn’t have to adjust to the situation: your smile. A smile breaks the ice and shows you’re more than just a CV sitting there in person. Even if the other person doesn’t smile – you should. It could be a test of your nerves in scary situations or that person could have had a bad day. Make it a good one for them by smiling and they might smile upon your fate.
Following up on the previous point, you’re speaking to a person, not to Siri. Don’t mumble – if they say “Could you repeat that” that means you should not just repeat the sentence but readjust your voice. Louder and quicker is better than quieter and slower. Maybe even practice in the elevator before the interview – say your name, your opening line and LISTEN to yourself while looking at yourself in the mirror. That way you’ll see and hear what the interviewer will see and hear. Your voice is as important as what you are saying – don’t forget that. Imagine you are speaking to a friend and you’ll know how to speak.
Hopefully, this helped you at least a bit. They sound like obvious tips but trust me – you have to sit down and think about all these aspects. You won’t have the capacity to do it in the important situation because there’s just too much to think about at the same time.
Good luck on your future interviews!