/ Asked by Stephan
I graduated technical school as an Audio Engineer, and I'm currently in school for Communication. I work warehouse jobs but I'm looking to transition over in to a corporate setting. A problem I am having when interview for a job is that I get nervous. Any suggestions on ways I can go about overcoming my fears of speaking (mainly finding the right words to say), and being nervous when it comes to interviews?
Answered by Kellie, Hiring Expert at Emerson, on Thursday, May 22, 2014
This is a very common topic for people starting their career search. I always believe that the more practice you have with employers asking you questions the easier it is to communicate your thoughts. The first place you may want to start is by talking to your career services department. They should be able to set up a mock interview session so you can practice your interviewing skills. It will also be an opportunity for an outsider to provide tips on how to best relay your experiences to others. Another common opportunity career services provide to students would be networking events with employers. While it may be nerve-racking to attend a social outing with employers at first you may come to find it to be a more casual atmosphere to practice answering employers’ questions. Best of luck!
Answered by Dana, Hiring Expert at ManpowerGroup, on Thursday, May 22, 2014
You’d be surprised to learn how many candidates have the exact same concern, and I am glad to see you brought this up! Nervousness affects candidates at all levels, and I’ve coached lots of people for tough interviews, even for high-level positions. There are some basic things I normally advise so that candidates feel more calm and collected during this critical part of the process, and do their very best. However, the most important step is determining the root cause of your nervousness…

Are you nervous because you don’t feel qualified for the role?

This can be addressed through good candidate preparation, prior to the interview. Take the time to read through the company’s job description or posting carefully, and practice connecting the experiences you’ve accrued to each specific point they describe. Be prepared to talk about what you’ve done previously, as well as how your experiences translate directly to the needs and demands of their corporate role. For example, be ready to describe times you’ve had to multi-task, work under a tight deadline, collaborate with coworkers from other departments, handle something independently, and/or partner with leadership on a special project. Look over your resume carefully, and take note of any transferable skills that your new employer might want to discuss, and what will “wow” them.

Are you nervous because you don’t know a lot about the company, or the interviewer?

Familiarize yourself with the company’s website, and print out their “About Us” section. As you are waiting in the lobby for your interview to begin, it might help to look over the job description one final time, along with a print-out about their organization’s mission, scope, and successes. Additionally, you might find out (or figure out) the name of the interviewer ahead of time. Take a look at their profile on a site like LinkedIn, if possible. It’s always nice to know the background of who you’ll be talking to, how long they have been with the company, if they were recently promoted, etc.

Are you nervous because you aren’t sure what questions they may ask?

Check out sample behavioral interview questions online, and practice some of your answers. You can even print these out, take notes, and have a friend or family member quiz you before the interview date. The point is to get comfortable with giving examples and answers when asked, and to show confidence during the interview, but to not sound like a robot. So be cautious about memorizing any exact phrases or answers. You want the interviewer to sense that you have prepared adequately for the meeting, but you also want the conversation to feel natural.

Lastly, even if you feel uneasy and anxious, try to control any outward signs of your nervousness. Everyone feels this way to some degree during interviewing, no matter how tenured you are in your career, and how much you prepare beforehand. The trick is to maintain composure during the interview, and display your best professional self, while showing enthusiasm and genuine interest in the opportunity.

If you tend to fidget during tough situations, clasp your hands in your lap out of sight, or gently rest them on the table in front of you. Try not to tap your feet, or move around too much in your chair. If you tend to drop eye-contact, do your best to avoid looking around the room, or at anything else which may be distracting you from the interviewer’s gaze. If you tend to choke up when you are on the spot, remember to take a deep breath and pause before replying to any questions. Most interviewers would rather have a candidate choose their words carefully, rather than a candidate who says too much (rambles), or too little (stumbles), and doesn’t seem relaxed.

And don’t forget to smile! The interviewer needs to see that you want to be there, and that you are friendly, flexible, and eager to learn more. That will go a long way.
Answered by Steve, Hiring Expert at Caterpillar Inc., on Friday, May 23, 2014
One of the keys to a successful interview is preparation.  I suggest going on-line and searching on typical interview questions.  Once you get an idea of the type of questions that may be asked, think about how they apply to you and practice your answers.  Most interview questions will be behavioral based, meaning the interviewer is trying to obtain example of your past behavior in certain situations, as it will, in theory, predict your future behavior.  For example, Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult customer.  They are looking for you to provide the situation, your behavior (what you did about it), and the outcome.  Think about this when answering their questions.  Also, a good way to practice for interviews, is to seek out informational interviews.  These are simply you sitting down with someone to learn about their company, department, etc. and to provide you feedback.  Bottom line, the more prepared you are, the less nervous you will be.
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