Tom Gimbel is the President and CEO of LaSalle Network, a Chicago-based staffing firm. Founded in 1998, LaSalle has served thousands of clients and candidates, placing job seekers in temporary, temporary-to-permanent and permanent positions. LaSalle is the only Illinois-based staffing firm named on the Inc. 500/5000 list for the last seven consecutive years. Read Tom’s latest on his blog, Past Five, or tweet him @TomGimbel.
April is stress awareness month (yes, it really exists!), and for the majority of jobseekers—92 percent according to a study by Everest College— find the most nerve-wracking part of the job-search process to be the interview. Why? Well, it’s hard to give a blanket statement for every candidate because everyone is different. For one candidate it could be fear of the unknown…for another fear of rejection.
At the end of the day, an interview is simply a conversation, and if a candidate is prepared and practices as they would for any other challenge in their life, it will help reduce some of that pre-interview anxiety.
Here are a few tips to help do that:
1. Study the company. It is amazing how much time someone is willing to invest to learn about their favorite sports team. They know the coaches background, players’ histories and stats, even specific plays…and yet when it comes to an interview, they don’t consider spending even half that time “studying” for their career. That means going further than just looking at the website. It means researching the company’s employees, communication style, culture…reading articles the company’s CEO or executive team has been featured in, knowing their competitors and their points of differentiation, understanding the industry. Confidence is key during an interview, and confidence comes with knowledge.
2. Set up informational meetings. After finding past and current employees on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook, don’t stop there. Set up a phone call, coffee or lunch meeting for strictly informational purposes. This is a chance to gain insider information on the company, its culture and the hiring process, and truly determine if it’s an organization you want to be a part of and why. Once you know this, you can better explain it during the interview process.
3. Role play. One of the top mistakes candidates make is one of the easiest to avoid… not role-playing possible interview questions. Role playing the interview with a friend or parent generates clear, concise answers. While practice doesn’t always make perfect, it certainly helps get rid of pre-interview nerves.
4. Collecting thoughts pre-interview. The ten minutes prior to the interview should be spent collecting thoughts, taking deep breaths and relaxing. Candidates should not be on their phones texting or checking Facebook. Not only does this look unprofessional, but it distracts the candidate from focusing on the next thirty minutes to an hour of conversation.