Interviewing at Your Best: Landing the Job Before You Walk in the Door

By Dayna M. Mathews

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So, you’ve got an interview on Friday morning at 9am. At first, you’re really excited because it’s an interview for the job you’ve been eyeing now for months. You think, Wow, this is finally it! And then it comes; the anxiety, the fear, the nervousness. I’m not really that qualified for this. What if they ask me questions I don’t know how to answer? Ugh, they’re just gonna be judging me the whole time! Whatever, I guess we’ll see what happens. 

This is the kind of thought process I hear about time and time again when working with job-seekers. Unfortunately, most (but not all) of you have at least a small amount of this defeatist attitude within ten minutes of getting the call for the interview. All I can think is why?! I’m a firm believer that – and I’m confident recruiters and HR folks alike will confirm – if you get the call for the interview, you’ve already won half the battle! In other words, YOU are qualified; YOU have the skills they are looking for; YOU could be their next great employee.

Let me ask you this: if you were a hiring manager, scouring for hours over resumes and cover letters, would you waste your time offering an interview to someone who isn’t what you’re looking for? No, no you would not. I rest my case.

With this concept in mind, I want you to remember this: When they call you for that interview, it means you are awesome (or at least your resume writer is). It means you are qualified (because let’s hope your resume is filled with truths). And, most importantly, it means they think you have the potential to be their next top performer (which, of course, you do). Your only job now is to reinforce that mindset for them.

It all starts with you. And that head of yours. Yep, you’ve got it – it’s all about your mindset; your attitude.

As the famous Zig Ziglar says, “It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.”

So, let’s increase what I’ll call your “interview altitude” by changing your interview attitude. With these 3 tips, you will land that job before you walk in the door.

3 Tips To Land The Job Before You Walk In the Door

1. Take stock of your awesomeness. Right now. (But don’t let your head get too big).

Look over your resume, think about your current and/or past jobs, and focus on what you brought to the table. If you think about it, everything we do – whether it is washing dishes at Applebee’s or making outbound sales calls to businesses – produces results for the company. One way or another, that business could not have fully succeeded without you. Remember this, and give yourself credit where credit is due. That new admin process you implemented; that conflict resolution strategy you suggested; the form you created that made processes more efficient. All of these things, in addition to everything else you’ve contributed, are important for you to recognize right away. Without realizing your value, your attitude toward your success in that interview will not change.

2. Prepare, prepare, prepare. And then prepare some more. And even a little bit more.

Being fully prepared for the interview means 3 things: You fully understand and are able to articulate your value to the interviewer; you understand the job description inside and out; you have exhausted the research done on the company as well as your interviewer. These tasks can be easily accomplished, so don’t make excuses. Practice interviewing with a professional (like me!) at your local college career services office, workforce center, or seek out a career coach in your area. Study the job posting and seek to fully understand the responsibilities and qualifications of the position and how you meet those. Scour the company website to understand what they’re all about (remember that success in interviews is all about fit. Are you a fit?), Google the company to find reviews, articles and/or blog posts about them, and search on LinkedIn to find out information on your interviewer(s); this will make rapport building much easier.

3. Do some serious self-pep-talking. And remember: You are in control.

Ask yourself, “Will this job be mine?” If your answer is anything other than “YES!” you’ve got some serious mental attitude adjustments to make. When you allow yourself to go into an interview with the mental attitude of a new kid in town (shy, unsure of him/herself) you will, albeit unconsciously, act in ways that illustrate this mindset. Your responses will be filled with doubtful “um’s and uh’s”, you’ll probably fidget nervously, and you won’t ask for the job before you leave because you feel as if you don’t deserve it. When we have a mindset like this, we think everything is out of our control; that everything is up to them. In fact, YOU are in control. You have control over your first impression, how prepared you are, and how experienced you are.  That’s why I’m advising you to adopt the mental attitude of the most popular kid in school – well-liked, smart, attractive, kind and deserving of what you want. Do this, and I can promise you will be WAY more successful in your interviews. And, quite frankly, in every aspect of your life.

What are some other tips for increasing your “interview altitude”? I’d love to hear from you!

About the author

Dayna Mathews, Advisor in GCC’s Career & Employment Services Department, has been providing guidance and expert advice in all things career related since getting her start at the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development in 2009. Since moving to Phoenix in 2010, Dayna has worked her way up through the non-profit, for-profit, and currently, public sector of career ventures related to providing career counseling and job readiness services to individuals of varying ages and backgrounds. As the Career Services Advisor at GCC, Dayna provides students and community members with free resume assistance, job search strategies for success, workshops on a number of varying career related topics, interview skills training, and strengths-based career planning. Connect with Dayna on LinkedIn and Twitter @DMCareerPro to learn more. For further questions or to schedule an appointment, contact her directly at [email protected]


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