Being called for a first interview is an exciting prospect, but it’s also one that is stressful. Here are some tips to help you overcome the top 10 first interview fears and present yourself in the best possible way.
1. You won’t arrive at the interview on time.
Look up the company address online and make a dry run before the day of the interview. If the directions are not clear, call to clarify before your appointment.
2. You aren’t sure of the spelling or pronunciation of the name of the person you will be meeting with.
Making a mistake in someone’s name is a major faux pas when going on a job interview, and one you will want to avoid at all costs. It’s better to call the company to get clarification about someone’s name than to say it incorrectly at the interview. You may find it helpful to write it down phonetically and practice saying it a few times before your meeting.
3. You won’t be dressed appropriately for the interview.
When in doubt, err on the side of being too conservative when getting dressed for an interview. You don’t necessarily need to wear a suit, but a neatly-pressed shirt and a tie is not a bad choice for men. Women can wear a skirt and blouse or a dress to an interview. Make sure your shoes are shined and in good repair, and keep jewelry to a minimum.
4. You won’t appear confident to the interviewer.
While it’s natural to feel a bit nervous when meeting new people, being interviewed shouldn’t shake your basic confidence in yourself as a person who is competent and has a lot to offer an employer. Take some time before your meeting to remind yourself of what you can bring to the table, and how you can help the employer reach its goals.
5. Your handshake will be too hard or too soft.
Shaking hands is a skill, and you can practice this in advance. Enlist the help of a friend or a family member until you feel comfortable. Ideally, you want to give a firm handshake that does not squeeze the other person’s hand too hard.
6. You will become tongue-tied when trying to describe your strengths and weaknesses.
Before sitting down with a potential employer, go through a list of common interview questions and practice your responses. You want to be well prepared for your meeting, but do avoid offering a “scripted” response to the questions on interview day.
7. You will not be able to remember dates or other important information from your resume.
Bring at least two copies of your resume and any documentation you wish to rely on at the interview with you. You can refer to it during the interview, if necessary, and it’s a good idea to provide a copy to your interviewer as well.
8. You will not be able to persuade the interviewer you will be a good fit.
Go through the job ad in detail before the interview and make note of how your skills and abilities would fit each point the employer is looking for.
9. You won’t fit in with the corporate culture if you are hired.
Do your homework about the company before the interview. Go online to check it out thoroughly. See if you know someone who works there or if anyone you know knows someone who does.
10. You will say too much/not enough/the wrong thing at the interview.
Once the interview is over, draw a line under it and let it go. You can’t go back in time and change anything. If you made a mistake, learn from it and use this knowledge for the next one but if you did your best, let that be good enough and don’t let it discourage you in your job search.