Interviewing for a job can be stressful, especially if it's a position that you're highly interested in. However, much of the anxiety of this situation can be alleviated with the right gameplan. Here are a few tips to help calm those nerves and give you the best possible chance to land that offer.
Do some research:
The benefits of having compiled some background research are severalfold. First, it lets you understand the company better, and gives you a better sense of how you'll fit in with the existing structure.What are the most important skills you can bring to the table? Knowing a little bit more about the organization will help you answer that question. In addition, being able to discuss projects that the the company is working on gives you the opportunity to contextualize your experience in a very concrete way.
It will also allow you to ask the most insightful possible questions. Remember: a job interview isn't just about proving to a company that you're the right fit for a role. It's also about finding out whether the role is a right fit for you. Being able to ask research-based questions will help you gain a more thorough understanding of how exactly a particular organization will work with your personal and professional goals.
Talk yourself up:
There are many times when humility is a virtue. A job interview is not one of them.
Remember: the person across the table from you only knows you insofar as you can describe yourself. While the rest of the people in your life might know that you're reliable, detail-oriented and creative just by your shared interactions, an interviewer only gets a brief slice of who you are. Thus, you can — and should — be more willing to talk yourself up, under the auspices that if you don't, nobody will.
While it's important to self-promote, it's also important to do so honestly. If you're hired for a position that you're not right for, based on experience that has been fabricated or embellished, you won't be a good fit in the role and it will be a waste of everybody's time. In addition, if the hiring managers catches you in a fib, it could negatively impact your ability to get the position at all, even if it's not actually particularly important to the role.
Instead, try to focus the interview on the good qualities that you actually possess, and the positive things you can bring to a company. No candidate is ever perfect, and you shouldn't make claims that you are.
Remember: the person to whom you're talking is human as you are. While poise and confidence are great assets, so too is an ability to recover if you misspeak or don't understand a question. It's critical not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good: it's actually a good sign if you can make a minor mistake during an interview and correct and move past it, rather than falling apart.
If you're not comfortable with an answer you gave, there's nothing wrong with backtracking to make sure that you've presented yourself in the best possible light. If you find yourself getting out of sorts or thinking that you've blown it, just take a deep breath, refocus and remember that they wouldn't have chosen to call you in for an interview if they did not think you showed promise.