Interviewing candidates for jobs, one of the top conversation stoppers is a lack of self-confidence, mojo, or the belief that they are the best person for the job. I’ve learned that this is not always indicative of whether or not the candidate can do a good job, but sometimes a by product of a situation that occurred at their last position or in their personal lives. Stuff happens. I have placed people with low self-esteem into positions where they have morphed into a superstar, but not before we had a series of heart to heart chats focused on filling their “emotional tank”.
What is an emotional tank? Sports coaches, teachers and some parents will be able to tell you. Books on effective sports coaching advise that you have to fill up your child’s emotional tank by giving them praise, attention or compliments that will keep their confidence level high so that they will perform their best. The same holds true for candidates. Are you a job seeker that is on the market due to a series of unfortunate events? When you are interviewing, does the hiring manager come away feeling like you are making a lot of excuses? Is there a tone of desperation in your follow up?
Here are a few tips that might help you get your groove back so you are interviewing at your best:
- Never underestimate the importance of the mock interview. Practice talking about why you left your last position, and keep it high level, short and sweet. Honesty is the best policy here but try not to add too much opinion. I’ve seen people get nixed from consideration because of a flip comment they made regarding their previous boss or company.
- No excuses! Do not continue to go on about why you left or how you handled a particular situation after you’ve answered the question. Over-explaining makes you look guilty of something. If the interviewer doesn’t ask, don’t go in like a loaded gun ready to unload the whole story of why you didn’t get along with your mean old boss, or the nurse or your peers.
- Visualize yourself as a success in the position. What does that look like? How are you acting? Be that person in the interview but be sure not to come across as arrogant. Have a mental list of successes you’ve had in your career that are relevant.
- Fill ‘er up! Call the people that you have as career references and ask them to give you a reference on yourself- tell them not to hold back on the good stuff. This will fill up your emotional tank and give you an idea of how you are perceived by others. (May surprise you)
- Be prepared. Make sure you have done your research on the opportunity, the company and hopefully the interviewer. Have educated questions to ask about all of the above. (Never ask about benefits in the first interview!)
- Absolutely never, ever think that this is the only opportunity for you. You are learning about the company as much as they are learning about you. You have done your homework and they are doing theirs. They may choose to go with a different candidate, who may have different experience and just better chemistry than you did. Next!
- Follow up appropriately and do not appear desperate. At the end of your interview, ask when you should expect to hear back. Go home, send a thank you and do not follow up again until the time you were expecting to hear about next steps. Even give that an extra day if you have not heard back. If you don’t hear back, do not continue to follow up, although an email every 2 weeks is appropriate. Time moves at a different pace for hiring managers and job seekers. They may have significant travel, meetings or deadlines they are working with.
- Let it go. If you don’t hear anything within a week or two, follow up and then move on. Obsessing is not going to get you the job and may actually stop you from finding the next opportunity where you will be able to shine!
Written by Jodi Bach, Senior Recruiter at Bild & Company.