Hit the books
You wouldn’t go on a Tinder date without Googling, so why would you go on an interview cold turkey? Research your potential employer in full, says Caroline Ghosn, cofounder and CEO of Levo, a professional networking site. If you know anyone at the organization or can find connections through friends or Linkedin, ask them for insight. Your goal is to spend the interview talking about how you could contribute to the team, not listening passively while you’re brought up to speed.
know your interviewer
“Look at an interview as an organic part of building a relation- ship,” says Ghosn. Your interviewer is a human, not a job genie, and showing interest in this person will help to create a more authentic relationship from the get-go. If you get your interviewers’ names in advance, read their bios on the company page and check out their social-media sites.
organize your story
The first question is often “Tell me about yourself.” Frame your story in a concise, clear way so that your duties aren’t confusing. What have you achieved in past jobs that overlap with the specific role you’re interviewing for? Review your résumé and pick areas to highlight, and have stories in mind to illustrate any relevant expertise. Would you be working closely with another person? Come prepared with examples of past partnership successes, says Ghosn.
practice and make perfect
If you tend to get flustered during interviews, commit your answers to muscle memory in advance. Reading the company’s job description carefully will tip you off to answers that you can provide about your strengths and what you bring to the job— two common questions. Write out a list of questions that you might be asked, and practice your answers to each one. The goal isn’t to spit out responses robotically (creepy) but to look and feel poised (ding ding!).
polish your presentation
Fair or not, your speech patterns matter, says Laura Sherbin, director of research at the nonprofit Center for Talent Innovation. Filler words such as actually and like are so distracting, Sherbin has counted the number of times a candidate uses them. “Those words are difficult to ignore after a while,” she says. Ask a friend to interview you for practice. Then get feedback: What vibe did your body language give off? Did you speak too quickly? Or did you, um, you know, literally kill it?
psych yourself in
Turns out, your fightor-flight impulse isn’t so useful in a job interview. “The emotional part of your brain responds to the prospect of rejection by thinking, Danger!” says Keith Rollag, chair of the management division at Babson College and author of What to Do When You’re New. Tell yourself: This is just a conversation. They want to like me. Look up other job opportunities that you can apply for or networking events that you can attend just in case this gig doesn’t work out. It might help you feel less like everything is riding on this one, Rollag says. october 2016