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Nervous About a Job Interview?

By: Adam Peter Shinn

Are you on the job search? Is it time  get out on the scene and interview for a job? Are you nervous about it? Do you realize it can easily be in YOUR control? That’s right, the interview (feared and seen as an interrogation by many) can actually be controlled by you, the interviewee, if you prepare.

First, it’s important to keep in mind that an interview is a two-way street. Sure, the employer wants to see if you are qualified and a proper fit for the position, but simultaneously, you are trying to get enough information about the job to decide whether to accept or decline the offer. Remembering this will help you keep calm and realize that the interview is not 100% on you, the interviewee.

Doing research for a job will give you power in an interview. Take what you’ve learned and ask questions about it. This will make you seem invested in the company and give you some leverage against other interviewees who are just interested in a job. Also, asking questions may allow you to switch roles with the interviewers, letting them do most of the talking (which isn’t a bad thing at all).

Generally speaking, interviews call for a lot of common sense. You don’t want to go into the interview without a sense of professionalism and self-control. So, create a list of things you know you shouldn’t do in an interview and it will help you keep your focus on what you should do. (Hint: A lot of interview faux pas can be found  on the interview tips section of the University Career Center website at career.uncc.edu.) It is ideal to emanate positive energy and enthusiasm. Honestly, has there ever been a time you haven’t had a boost by talking to someone who was obviously in a good mood? Wear proper clothing: men wear a suit, tie, and shined-up shoes; women wear a suit or dress shirt and skirt at desirable length. Plan to arrive to your interview around 15 minutes early. This will ensure enough “cushion time” if you get lost on the way to it.

As far as responding to questions, interviews are mainly a test of how you think. Taking a brief moment to think about how to answer questions is fine. And developing a majority of responses as you go along (provided you know the general direction) is okay, too. Interviewers won’t expect you to perform flawlessly.

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