Even though I’ve interviewed hundreds of people (maybe more?!), I used to get nervous before my own job interviews.
With the pandemic causing so many people to reevaluate their current roles, I wanted to share my top five tips on feeling confident and relaxed in interviews, two traits that always stand out to me when talking to prospective hires. Even though you may not check every box on the job posting (please apply even if you don’t), or be on a ‘30 under 30’ list, if you feel like yourself in an interview, you’re naturally going to come across as more confident, more positive, and more engaging.
Tip 1: The night before your interview, write out five personal success stories, including one team win, and one with a big goal achieved that includes numbers and benchmarks. If you’re having trouble getting started, look for times when you bounced back from a difficult situation (including what you did to recover), worked amazingly with a team, led a project you were proud of, or made a mistake (including what you learned, and how you apply those learnings), and when you’ve shined.
Tip 2: Spend time researching what the company does, checking out their websites, social feeds, and any bonus content they share (For our candidates, this could include things like Properly’s cultural norms Medium post, or the DealMakers interview with our CEO Anshul). Note: be careful not to regurgitate content back to the person interviewing you – they know what they do already! Instead, pick a few points that really resonate with you to discuss.
Tip 3: Write out a list of questions. This is a tough one for a lot of people, so spend extra time showing you’ve done your research by referencing a product or service they sell or a recent article. E.g. “I saw the Globe and Mail article you were featured in last week that mentioned your company is focused on X; how does that impact Y?”
Tip 4: Be yourself! Both cheesy and true, being yourself is key for both you and the employer. If you’re putting on a show or faking enthusiasm, it may not be a fit, and you’ll both be happier in the long run if you choose to look elsewhere. On the flip side, because culture is so important with great teams, you’re really going to connect if you mention your love of Gilmore Girls and find out your interviewer is just as curious about who Rory should end up with (for the record, I am team Dean).
Tip 5: Give yourself plenty of time. If you’re feeling rushed in traffic (or wrapping up another Zoom call beforehand), you’re going to feel flustered and caught off-guard. Aim to arrive a bit early and take a stroll around the block, or book 15 minutes in your calendar ahead of time to just relax. This also goes for answering questions: there’s no race to answer quickly, so take your time if you need a minute to think of the right answer.
In the end, try to remember that the person behind the desk or computer screen is just like you, with their own good and bad days, wins, and struggles. In the end, they’re rooting for you to land this job, just like you are.
Do you have advice that’s always worked well for you in interviews? Share in the comments below!