In the July 26, 2011 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter, a job hunter says butterflies interfere with interviews. What can be done?
I consider myself a fairly intelligent and eloquent person with strong skills in my field. Yet, when I go into an interview I turn into Elmer Fudd! I tend to make such comments as, “I think I could be real good at this job!” I’m sure I’m like most people: I get the proverbial butterflies in my stomach.
Only after the interview do the things I should have said start flooding into my mind. (I’ve tried role-plays, but they do not seem to help.) I’m sure this has cost me opportunities. What can I do? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
Here’s the short version of my advice: (For the entire column, you need to subscribe to the free newsletter. Don’t miss another edition!)
Butterflies are very common, even among some of the most talented people I know (including executives). I’ll offer two suggestions to help you control butterflies.
1. Read Don’t Compete With Yourself. This article will teach you some simple ways to avoid pre-interview tension, and how to stay calm during your meeting.
2. Try The New Interview. Prepare a 20-minute presentation for the employer, and show how you’re going to contribute to the company’s profitability. This might sound daunting, especially to someone who gets nervous, but once you learn to do it for one employer, the next ones will be a lot easier.
The power of this approach lies in the fact that once you’re this prepared, you’ll never again get butterflies in your stomach.
You see, people get butterflies when they’re not completely prepared. They consequently (and naturally) feel unsure of themselves. I know what you’re thinking: “But I am prepared!” I doubt you are prepared to the extent I’m talking about.
Prepared means being able to outline two or three specific problems and challenges the employer faces, and then presenting a plan to handle them. (Don’t provide too much detail, because then you’d be working for free and giving away your assets.)
When you truly understand the business… (This is where some of my advice is omitted. To get the whole story next week, subscribe to the newsletter. It’s free! Don’t miss another edition!)…
If you think this level of preparation is a huge investment, you’re right. The employer thinks hiring you is a pretty huge investment, too. If you’re not prepared to do the job in the interview, then your competition — the candidate I coached to do what I suggest above — will blow you out of the water like a dead fish.
Consider this carefully: You can’t do this level of preparation for the 400 companies you’ve sent your resume to, because there aren’t 400 jobs for you. Thus, you must pick your targets very carefully.
When you achieve this level of business interaction, you are not interviewing. You are in a meeting where you’re doing the job. That’s such a liberating experience that nervousness almost completely disappears. It works. Try it.
Do you get butterflies in your stomach when you interview? Why do you think? Or do you have nerves of steel and demonstrate confidence? How do you do it?
Where does a good job candidate’s power come from? And how can you develop yours?