The process of preparing for a job interview often involves a time of stress, indecision, and self-doubt for many people. A successful interview occurs as the result of meaningful interactions between you and the potential employer, which happens when you are prepared, confident, and self-assured. When you are communicating effectively during the interview you are clearly articulating who you are, what you offer, and what you are seeking for your career.
As you prepare for your interview, consider not only what you know about the company and its position, along with relating your background to the advertised job – evaluate your state of mind and take time to practice the development of a mindset that is focused on your successful qualities, accomplishments, and skills that are transferrable to this position. You may have the perfect resume and a background that aligns well with the position; however, if you do not present yourself in a poised and confident manner, you will likely experience an unsuccessful outcome.
Manage Your Doubts
It is important for the success of your interview to understand the origin of any doubts or fears that arise so you can gain control of your thoughts, reactions, and emotions. If you aren't in control of how you feel it will likely manifest through your speech and your body language, especially if you have a negative feeling about a current or past employer. For example, you don't want to have a combative attitude and defensive posture as you are interacting with a prospective employer. Instead, you want to demonstrate poise through thoughtful, not reactive, responses. The result of developing a focused positive approach to the interview process is that you are likely to experience a sense of renewed self-confidence and a stronger belief in your skills, talents, and abilities.
Take Control of Your Fears
Fear controls us when it is viewed from a perspective of the unknown. It is easy to spot your fears when you find yourself beginning a sentence with "what if" and conclude with something negative. Once you understand the basis of those fears you can begin to prepare for any of the potential outcomes that you have considered. The fears, concerns, and doubts you may have can also be viewed as a reminder to be prepared and that there may be a need for an internal self-check. This mental check-up can begin by examining your attitude and self-talk. You may think "what have I gotten myself into?" or "how will I ever do this?" when you are scheduled for an interview. When these questions arise you need to take some time to prepare through a process of personal self-discovery and self-reflection.
Be Consciously Aware of Your Thoughts
"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you are right." – Henry Ford.
The job interview is a thinking process and one that can be enhanced with a positive mindset approach. When you experience fears or doubts, it is often an indicator you care about your performance, the position, and the company – but you may lack confidence about some aspect of your life or hold a negative view of something in your background and experience. Here are steps to take to recognize and control your thoughts:
- Ask yourself right now: Do you have any fears, concerns, or self-doubts about an upcoming job interview? If you do, what are the origins of those fears or concerns?
- If the answer is yes to the first question, ask yourself: What is the worst outcome you can imagine will happen during the interview?
- Next ask yourself this question: If the very worst outcome you can imagine does happen during the interview, what will you do? The key is to tackle those fears and doubts head-on and take away its influence on how you feel and impact on what you think.
You Are There for Information Too
A job interview is not one-sided and many who speak with potential employers tend to forget this important aspect of the process. You should be asking questions to determine if the job, along with the employer, will be a good match for your career both now and in the long-term. There is often a point when the interviewer will ask you for questions and that is the time when you should ask questions, about the company, the job, and anything else you are interested in knowing, especially if it is related to becoming a long-term employee. Keep in mind an interview is a two-way process and neither party to the conversation has absolute power to control the other.
While you may believe you want the job and none other, you should still investigate the employer to determine if your original research is accurate and this is a place you would work both now and in the future. You have a right to accept or reject a job offer, if one is made, and the only manner in which you can fairly evaluate an offer is through research. An interview is a time to conduct additional research. If a question is asked the interviewer cannot answer, more than likely the person will request time to look further into it and follow-up with you later. Your questions also demonstrate your thoughtful interest in this potential employer and the depth of thought you have put into preparation for the interview.
Develop an Attitude of Success
Another way to be prepared and minimize self-doubts is to conduct an assessment of your skills and background because you are going to be asked to explain what you offer during the interview. As you consider the strengths you possess and skills you have acquired throughout your career you can create a positive attitude about preparing for the interview and say to yourself: "I'm glad I have this opportunity to promote my skills and background," or "I will succeed," or "I see myself having a successful interview and it feels good." Regardless of the outcome of the interview you will learn something more about yourself, even if it confirmation that you can present yourself well.
Your state of mind or overall mindset can determine how you perform during a job interview. You hold an ability to present yourself in a positive manner by expressing the value you bring to the company and the skills you offer, which includes your ability to learn and adapt to new situations. If you develop and sustain a positive attitude, that enthusiasm will shine through your communication, your tone, and your overall presence. A job interview can bring out the worst or the very best in you, which can overshadow or enhance your potential for further consideration. The decision is up to you and the mindset you choose to maintain. When you choose to believe in the best of your abilities, regardless of how you perceive your past, you will give yourself an opportunity to perform your very best.
About Dr. Johnson
Dr. Johnson has worked in the field of higher education and distance learning since 2005. He specializes in distance learning, adult education, faculty development, online teaching, career management, and career development. Dr. J has a Ph.D. in Postsecondary and Adult Education, a Certificate in Training and Performance Improvement, and a Master of Business Administration, MBA. Presently Dr. J is a Core Faculty member for one of the premiere online universities, fulfilling his life's mission to teach, mentor, write, and inspire others.
As a scholar practitioner, Dr. J was published in a scholarly journal and he has been a featured presenter at an international distance learning conference. He has also published over 200 online articles about adult learning, higher education, distance learning, online teaching, and career development.
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