When I go in for an interview, I’m nervous. I don’t know what it is. Something about sitting in front of a panel of people whose entire job in that moment is to judge me and my capabilities for something I really want to do — okay, so maybe it makes sense why I’m nervous. And for lots of people, those nerves are inevitable. It would be wonderful if we could just switch them off, but unfortunately, we can’t. There are a few things you can do to calm nerves and prepare for interviews in general, though. Just in time for board application season, too!
- Prep beforehand. There’s nothing worse — for your nerves or your actual performance — than going into an interview blind. Before you apply for a position, make sure you know what it entails, and why you would be a good fit for it. (Often it helps to review your written application that got you into the interview to begin with.) Also, know your answers to a few of the most common interview questions, like “Tell me about yourself,” and “What is your greatest strength and your greatest weakness?” You can find lists of common interview questions (like this one) with a quick online search.
- Try confidence-building exercises. While you may have limited success with these, they definitely work for some people and they’re worth trying out. Try things like intentionally using confident body language and making sure to take extra good care of yourself just before the interview. Wear an outfit that makes you feel powerful. If worse comes to worst, faking confidence as best you can during the interview will help, and can even boost your actual confidence.
- Learn to give a good handshake. One of the first impressions people will have of you is the handshake, so giving a good one is important. Don’t make it limp, but don’t be aggressive, either. If you’re not sure how to pull one off, find a friend or family member who gives a good handshake and ask them to teach you.
- Don’t be fake. While absolutely brutal honesty might not get you very far in an interview, neither will lies. Be honest with yourself about your strengths and weaknesses and your fit for the job at hand. If you’re really the best person for the job, then honesty will let the interviewers see just that.
- Plan something nice for yourself after the interview. Have plans to go out with friends or watch the newest Netflix show you’ve been planning to see. Then, no matter what happens during the interview, you’ll have either celebration or consolation plans in place.
Interviews can be scary, but they’re something everybody has to do — and something that everybody can get through! Hopefully, some of this advice can ease your interview experience and help you snag that board position you’ve been dreaming of.