You forgot one important thing – the interview.
Yes, the interview is the all-too-critical stage of job searching often overlooked by junior and senior workers alike. It’s also an area of the process we could all use some brushing up on.
What makes interviewing so nerve-racking? “The questioning component” says Jim Watley, Human Resources Consultant and interviewing expert.
“Nearly everyone has something to hide when it comes to their current or previous work experiences. As humans do, we have a tendency to internalize our mistakes instead of brushing them off – and this heightened anxiety is amplified during an interview.”
There are a few simple things any person can do to alleviate this anxiety, according to Watley. Here’s a few tips for getting over the question and answerblahs.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
Watley says a restful evening the night before is wise so that you are “thinking clearly” – pivotal for coherent, well-thought-out answers to any and all work history questions. “I always tell people to put the kids to bed early, have a simple, quick dinner – whatever it takes to hit the sack on time. You want to achieve at least 8 hours – more is better though.”
- Practice evasive answers.
Without being too obvious, Watley advises people to think through and even speak aloud, responses to those tough questions you know are coming. “The key is to answer quickly, decisively and confidently. Your demeanor should suggest that what happened at that workplace that’s now in question – was simply a misunderstanding or out of your control entirely. Then move on, preferably with a question to the interviewer that will detract from the original line of questioning. “
- Focus on your strengths.
Regardless of the line of questioning, always find a way to bring the topic around to how great you are. “If the question is, ‘Why is there a two-year gap on your resume?’ your response should be something like ‘I took a hiatus and traveled abroad for two years. I learned a lot about myself and am now more committed to my professional goals,’”saysWatley. “Interviewers have a tendency to focus on the last thing you said – so if it’s positive – there’s no issue.”
Treat your next interview just like a formal speech or presentation; prepare as much as possible and the element of surprise – and failure, will decrease significantly.