Interviews can have a way of scaring you. So can jumping out of perfectly good airplanes!

As one of my former instructors at the US Army AIRBORNE School told me years ago, "If you're not a little bit scared, something's wrong with you!" My Parachute School training prepared me for the jumps. In the unlikely event of an emergency, all that training and preparation stood ready to access. As a "5 Jump Chump", I really appreciated all the Non-Commissioned Officers did to help a green Lieutenant survive another training day.

Imagine if I'd simply ignored the wisdom provided by the Army' best instructors. They had a term for the end result, "Pay attention. Practice now in this safe environment. If you don't, you will become a "Soup Sandwich"! Now that's scary!

You see, the more you prepare and train for the interview, the less you'll be afraid. After all, who knows more about you than you?

If you've read any of the previous blog posts on this topic, you discovered some tips & tricks (or treats) to having a great interview - one that leads to a job offer and an exciting career. For now, I'd like to leave you with some keys to reducing the fear that interviews create:

  • Practice your answers to common interview questions. Make sure you sound natural when you answer. You don't want to sound like a "canned speech" or appear as though you memorized everything word-for-word. You should sound confident yet comfortable when answering. (Remember what we discussed on a previous blog post about videotaping your answers?)
  • Watch what you eat prior to the interview. If you have too much caffeine OR not enough food before your interview, you might be shaking all over the place. That will come across as nervousness. Unless you're applying for that jackhammer operator job, please take note.
  • Know the facts listed on your resume in detail. After all, this is a documented representation of your work and value. You need to know it cold. You should be able to articulate and explain everything shown on your resume. Then and only then can you focus on the matter at hand, the interview.
  • Remember the "So What? Rule". After you've been rambling on & on a bit, pause and silently ask yourself "So What?" Then audibly say, "So what that means to you is..." The idea here is to transform your response into something of value to the Interviewer. You need to make the connection to the items on your resume to a valid reason to hire you.
  • What would you like me to call you? The Interviewer may ask you if it is OK to call you by your first name or even a nickname (if provided). You can ask the same question. End result: You can personalize the interview by calling the Interviewer as they wish to be called.

Just know that preparation is the key! Training before you interview can minimize fears.

Don't be scared, train & prepare!

What other things have you done in order to reduce being afraid during an interview?