C'mon, who isn't a bit uncomfortable during a job interview? It's normal. But who's to say you can't overcome some of those nervous quirks that are possibly holding you back from getting hired?
Potential bosses are getting a lot of subconscious information from things you might not even realize you're doing during the interview.
1. Don't talk after the pause.
There's a technique some job interviewers use. Once the candidate finishes answering their question, the interviewer remains silent. The point is to get the potential hiree to continue talking to fill in the awkward silence. It's a way to get people to give up way more information about themselves than they planned.
But when you're done answering, just stop talking. You can give a nod to let them know you're finished.
2. Don't be honest.
We're not saying you should lie, but you don't have to give it all away either. Be selective about what you reveal. When a boss asks a potential candidate a question, they're not testing your honesty. What they often look for instead is a sense of good judgement.
When they ask you to provide an example of a problem at your previous job, they don't necessarily want you to disclose how a tumultuous affair with a coworker distracted you from your work. Instead of praising you for your honesty, the interviewer will likely be thinking: "Really, he couldn't come up with any example that isn't so shocking?"
3. Don't answer right away.
Don't trip over yourself to answer a question the second after it was asked. It's not the Miss America pageant where you have one minute to solve the planet's biggest problems.
Your future boss wants a good answer, not a fast one. In fact, many candidates are so nervous that they don't even hear the question correctly. Listen first, then answer. There are natural-seeming stalling techniques like repeating the question or saying, "That's a great question."
They'll be impressed by your restraint and thoughtfulness.
4. Don't fidget.
We're all nervous and that's okay. The interviewer may see it as a sign of your interest in the position. Having said that, composure under pressure is even more impressive, so try not to fidget.
It's probably best not to hold something in your hands (like a pen or your resume) because you might play with it. Have your feet planted firmly on the floor and if you really need to get that nervous energy out, wiggle those toes.
If you happen to get seated in one of those dreaded swivel chairs, just don't do it. Not only will you look insecure, you'll make your potential boss dizzy.
5. Don't be grateful. (Well, not overly.)
Of course, you want to come across as humble and appreciative, but don't act like you can't even believe you're there. It'll give the interviewer cause to question if you're deserving of the position.
Offer a simple "thank you for your time" instead of saying "I'm so grateful to get the call." Save your grovelling and tell them how you'll be an asset instead.
6. Don't sell yourself.
You know all those "sales" techniques you've read about? Yeah, don't use those. Sell yourself by sharing your skills and traits, not with gimmicky gestures.
Don't do the overconfident, manic handshake. A simple shake, a genuine smile and eye contact is all you need upon greeting.
There's also no need to repeat the interviewers name a dozen times. That's just annoying. And above all else, never ever do the handshake and shoulder-touch combo. We'll leave that to the politicians.
7. Don't say you're a perfectionist.
This old cliché? Yep, people are still using it. Please do yourself a huge favor by not using the "I'm a perfectionist" answer to the "What's your greatest weakness?" question.
Not only is it a cop-out, but it might be most boring answer of all time. (And the lame answer proves you're actually not a perfectionist.)
The winning answer is to simply offer up an authentic weakness and then provide an impressive example of how you're overcoming it.
This is when you should also incorporate #2.
8. Don't walk in with coffee.
Yes, you want it, you need it, and you might die without it, but put the coffee cup down. Why? It gives off the vibe of being too casual.
Besides, there's too much potential for awkwardness. If there isn't a convenient place to rest the coffee, will you hold it the whole time? Have you thought of your breath? Now you'll need gum or a mint.
Does the interviewer think you're a jerk for not bringing them an extra coffee? They're definitely jealous. And what if the dreaded nervous, clumsy spill happens?
9. Don't talk about yourself.
What? Isn't that exactly what you're supposed to do in an interview? Kind of. Just don't act like the company is generic and you're giving automated answers. Show that you're interested in them in particular.
When asked a question about yourself, use it as an opportunity to show you've done your research and know how they work. Then, talk about what you can offer the company.
If they ask you why you want to work there, don't go on and on about yourself. Say something like, "Well, since Incorp Co. has built their reputation on costumer service and I won top regional sales, I'd be a great fit with your philosophy because…"
Now, you're a leg up on the other candidates. Get ready to make some real money.
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