An interview is a lot like a first date. You might be nervous. You might be worried about how you'll be perceived. And you'll definitely be rehearsing what you plan on saying before meeting the other person.
The anticipation builds. Excitement increases. And then once you're in the moment itself, hopefully you're able to relax, trust your instincts, and allow your true self to shine through.
Because the truth about interviews (and first dates) is that authenticity and preparation are the keys to success.
It sounds simple, doesn't it?
Unfortunately, many people allow their anxiety to spoil their presentation. Don't get me wrong--interviews can be incredibly anxiety-provoking, especially when you really want the job.
After all, you're being evaluated. You're placed under a microscope. And sometimes you get thrown curve balls.
But don't allow your anxiety about the interview to overshadow the essence of the encounter--this is an exciting opportunity to showcase who you are. To connect with someone new. To start over.
And failing to prepare is setting yourself up for failure. You don't need to have everything memorized--after all, spontaneity and improvisation are attractive features--but you do need to have a basic understanding of who you are, what you value, and why you're a good fit with the other person.
To make sure that you get a second date and the job you deserve, know what behaviors to avoid. Learn from the mistakes of others.
Don't do these 13 things on an interview.
1. Don't be the loudest person in the room.
When you're the loudest person in the room--because of your attire, your body language, the volume of your voice, or how much you talk--it's because you're insecure.
Try a more balanced approach. Show that you can listen, think, and respond without needing to dominate the space.
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2. Don't oversell yourself.
You're not selling a used car. Rather than making yourself into a commodity, recognize that when you embody your values and deepen your presence with others, it naturally builds trust.
3. Don't be afraid to show your value.
If they want you to play a game, play the game. If they want you to demonstrate your skills, do it. Show Caesar that you can not only provide value in the future, but that you can do it right here, right now.
4. Don't forget to explain why you're a good fit.
You got the interview based on your credibility. Now it's time to play connect the dots: show how this job fits into your long-term plans and how you can fit into theirs.
5. Don't rush yourself or pretend to know things that you don't.
Slow down. It's okay to pause. It's okay to breathe. And it's okay to say the words "I don't know," and then ask additional clarifying questions.
6. Don't overshare deeply personal problems.
I know this is surprising, but most people don't know when you are freaking out on the inside. I know that you think everyone can see right through your suite into your rapidly beating heart, but they can't. So don't go around telling everyone that your palms are sweaty, knees are weak, and that your arms are heavy.
7. Don't hide behind the mask of professionalism.
Part of being yourself--your authentic and genuine self--means not acting like a robot. Don't just say what people want to hear, share your heart.
8. Don't lie unless you're prepared to keep lying.
I've never understood lying. It's just not worth the effort.
9. Don't continue talking for no reason.
Please be concise in an interview.
10. Don't be afraid to ask for feedback.
Instead of talking ad nauseam, ask them, "Does that give you enough or would you like me to elaborate further?"
11. Don't forget to ask questions and interview them.
People who are interested in a job have questions. Lots of questions. And when you don't ask them lots of questions, it makes it look like you don't care.
12. Don't spend too much time focusing on how you look.
Find a middle ground by thinking through your attire ahead of time, grooming properly, and then spending extra time preparing for the other parts of your interview. You know, the parts that matter most.
13. Don't worry about your performance after it's over.
After you've ended the interview, there's not much you can control.
While you can certainly benefit from engaging in self-reflection and determining how to improve your performance in the future, you can't go back in time.
Sometimes people don't like you. Other times the fit isn't quite right. And other times, people make mistakes and pass on great, qualified candidates.
The more that you can prepare, connect with the excitement of a first encounter, and allow your genuine self to shine through, the better you'll perform. And the more likely you'll be to get that illustrious call back.