Preparing for an interview can get very stressful. This is especially true for someone who is either desperate for the job or does not have much experience with interviews. Trust me, I get it. I recently went through an interview myself. Although I was not at a point where I was desperate for the job, it started off quite nerve wrecking. It happens to the best of us. Ultimately the interview went very well. I noticed a pattern between this interview and a few that I have had years ago. So I thought I would share with you the tips that help me be mentally prepared for an interview.

Your resume basically contains the information that shows that you meet the minimum requirement for the position. So the interview is not just another platform to regurgitate what is in your resume. The interviewers are usually looking for much more than that. They are basically looking to see if you be a cultural fit within the company, and to obviously confirm that you will be able to do the work. So how do you portray this in an hour? You have to be mentally prepared.

Relax

One of the worst things that can happen is to extend a sweaty palm as you shake your interviewers’ hands… so it is important that you relax. I know you are probably thinking that this is easier said than done. And I completely agree with you. Be that as it may, it is very important that you try and relax. You have passed the initial stages. Your resume stood out from the pile, it’s pretty obvious that you belong here. Now all that is left to do is to show and prove that you belong.

This is kind of difficult to do if you are a nervous wreck. The advice that I recently received is that the interviewers are looking to see the fire and passion within you. So show them just that. Show them that you are the right person for the job, because clearly they believe you would be perfect, that is why you even got an interview.

Most of the questions are designed to throw you off and to see how you react under pressure. So if you are well prepared, you need to be confident and believe in yourself. Just know that you are in that interview because you are capable, so show that you are.

Be Confident

Be confident because you belong, you just need to prove it. Warning: be careful that you do not come across as being cocky, as this will probably annoy the interviewers. One reason why you might feel nervous is because of your position before the interview. Try doing winning or superhero poses in the few minutes before your interview. This has proven to make you feel more confident, allowing you to portray your passion for the job easily during the interview. This TED talk by Amy Cuddy explains this in more detail. She talks about how body language shapes who we are and that you should “Fake it until you become it”. And your confidence will shine through in your interview.

Another way that I boost my confidence is by ensuring that I am dressed well. The questions alone are enough to throw you off, so you don’t want to be sitting there thinking about whether your shirt is see-through or your skirt is too short. So prepare the right outfit before the day of the interview. For ideas on what is appropriate, check out these office essentials.

Be Prepared

So we have established that in order to ace an interview and to present the best version of yourself, you need to relax and be confident. But this will not be easy to do unless you are prepared for the ordeal.

You can ensure you are prepared by going through the possible general questions, technical questions and scenarios that you may be asked. The interviewers want you to be truthful, but it is still very important to prepare your answers. This ensures that you present them in the best way possible that will portray your passion for the job and convince them to hire you. Warning: Don’t rehearse your answers or else you will definitely sound robotic. Just prepare enough so that you are not caught completely off guard.

I prepare for the general questions by researching and by finding out the best WAY to answer these questions. So my answers are unique and truthful about me, but I research the best way to present my answers. Scenarios are usually presented to test how you think and solve problems, so there is no easy way to prepare besides to research the common questions for your industry.

The questions that I dread the most are the technical questions, because they can ask virtually anything. I have overcome this by researching what the company deals with and brushing up on the basics in that field. What worked for me in the recent interview is that I researched the technical questions for the specific company. There are various sites such as Glassdoor that have a summary of possible interview questions based on the input from people who have already attended these interviews. So this is great source when preparing for your own interview.

Rest

I always ensure that I am well rested for an interview. Although the session may only be for an hour, I set aside the whole day for my interview. This ensures that I am not distracted by any work projects, deadlines or other things that life may throw at me when I am supposed to be focusing and preparing myself for my interview. I have found that this time is essential for me to prepare my mind and get ready to woo the interviewers.

During this time, I make sure that I have a good meal, my outfit is clean and ready to go and I plan out the route and time it will take to get to the venue 15 minutes early. This will help you be relaxed and confident in the interview because you have had more than enough time to prepare.

Last tip…

Lastly, research the company and the position and take note of any questions that you may have. Traditionally, we are taught to keep those questions for the end of the interview, but that is usually not how it goes for me. My interviews generally play out as conversations. It is never question and answer. The interviewers ask me questions and I ask them some too as they explain certain aspects to me.

Remember that although the company is interviewing you to see that you will be a fit for them, you are ALSO interviewing them to see if it would be a good place and environment for you to work in. So don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Of course the preparation of the actual questions and doing research is very important. But I have found that some people who are well prepared sometimes don’t make the cut because they do not get to show their passion and the fire that burns within them. This is usually due to being nervous, that is why it is very important to prepare yourself mentally as well! I hope these tips will help you as much as they have helped me. But if you have any questions, please send me an email or leave a comment below, I am more than willing to help you.

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