Take Control and Feel More Confident in Job Interviews

job interview

Interviews unnerve even the most confident job hunters. Your palms sweat, your self-doubt creeps into your mind, and you think, “What if I’m not qualified?” Or, “Will they like me?”

Jacqueline Whitmore, an internationally-recognized business etiquette expert, author of Poised for Success: Mastering The Four Qualities That Distinguish Outstanding Professionals and founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, says most people think about interviews as a way for the company to find the right employee, but job interviews are also a chance for the applicant to interview the company.

Whitmore’s advice to take control of the job interview, highlight your strengths, and go beyond the job description:

– Calm down. Anxiety often replaces confidence as you walk toward the boardroom for your interview. If you’ve been invited to interview, your resume already convinced the company that you’re qualified. If the employer thinks you have the education, experience and skills to do the job, you should too. Don’t think about your interview as a test. Instead, consider it a conversation.

 Go beyond Google. If you’ve done your research, you know how the company’s representatives present their business. Use your interview to dig deeper. Ask questions about company culture. Get a feel for what your interviewer enjoys about his or her job. Ask something like, “What do you enjoy most about your job?” Or, “What’s the best part of working here?” The answer will provide you with information on how the company treats its employees. If the interviewer can’t think of an answer or says something generic, consider it a red flag.

 Bring a notebook. Write your questions down before you head to the interview. Leave space beneath each question for the responses. You’ll appear prepared, confident and responsible. Plus, it will give you something to do with your hands if you feel nervous. Very few candidates take notes during an interview and your attention to detail will help you stand out. If you’re considering multiple job opportunities, you’ll be able to reference each company’s answers and evaluate the jobs fairly.

 Balance benefits and work. A majority of your questions should focus on the job and what you can do for the company instead of the benefits, like advancement and flextime. When you ask a benefit question, frame it in a way that highlights your skills. Ask something like, “Does the company invest in continuing education for its employees?” Or, “What training and development programs are available?” It shows you want to continue to learn and grow with the company.

– Show your interest. Ask an open-ended question such as, “How do you define success in this position?” This kind of question shows you want to be successful in your next job. You’ll send the message that you’re interested in working with the company and will seriously consider the position. The employer’s answer will give you insight into whether or not you’ll be a good fit.

 Be bold. Don’t be afraid to ask questions that may put the interviewer on the spot. Ask, “How does your company foster growth and bring out the best in its employees?” You’ll have the chance to see how the employer answers the question succinctly and accurately. Asking a bold question will oftentimes highlight your confidence. If you discover the job’s not the right choice for you, thank the employer and use the experience as a way to present yourself in a better light at your next interview.

For more information about Jacqueline Whitmore, visit her at jacquelinewhitmore.com and www.etiquetteexpert.com.