How to deal with jitters before a job interview?

The process of finding a job at some moments can be exhausting, stressful, and with a lot of doubts that accompany it. Candidates who are beginners in this process often feel lost and discouraged, and jitters are a very frequent companion of job interviews.

Jitters are a kind of fear that occurs in situations when a person estimates that they are not ready enough for an upcoming event or that they do not have enough capacity for it. As such, jitters can encourage a person to be further prepared for an upcoming event, and then we say it is stimulating stage fright. On the other hand, it can also make a person want to quit, or they become completely blocked, and then we call it inhibitive stage fright.

There are various techniques that are used and can help people who encounter jitters, anxiety, or nervousness before an important upcoming event. In subsequent lines, we will try to present practical techniques that can help you prepare for an important upcoming event.

 

1. What is the worst that can happen?

In situations when you feel nervous and insecure about your knowledge or skills, it is useful to ask yourself a question “What is the worst that can happen?”. It happens that people in stressful situations perceive those situations as worse and harder than they really are and anticipate consequences as more significant and more serious compared to what may really happen. When you ask yourself this question, you will realize that what can happen is not the worst thing and that the situation is not as bad and irreversible as it seemed to you at first glance. Then the feeling of tension and anxiety will be reduced, and this will help you be more relaxed about the upcoming event.

 

2. 4 – 7 – 8 breathing exercise

This is a technique that can significantly help you rid yourself of the feeling of tension just before an important event. It is straightforward, and it takes about five minutes to perform it:

  • Place yourself comfortably in a chair and close your eyes
  • Breathe deep through your nose counting to 4
  • Then, hold your breath counting to 7
  • Exhale slowly counting to 8

You can repeat this technique several times. Deep breaths will help you inhale the oxygen into your system, which is very important for its functioning. Holding breath helps us intake oxygen into our bloodstream and reach all cells of the organism. The last step, the exhale, will slow the heart’s work and return it to normal. This exercise can also serve when you have troubles sleeping.

 

3. Superhero posture

Different pieces of psychological research confirm the thesis that taking a specific position of the body can affect the increase in confidence. The pose of superheroes involves standing in the so-called open position, with spread legs, your hands on hips and with eyes looking up. This posture can cause changes in behaviour and neuroendocrinological system (an increase of testosterone, as well as a reduction of cortisol, often referred to as the stress hormone). Besides, people who occupy the pose of superheroes have a greater tendency to take risks.

 

4. Progressive muscular relaxation

This technique allows us to have deep muscle relaxation, as it reduces the feeling of tension and anxiety. For this technique, you can take out 15 minutes and also exercise in everyday situations. The essence of the exercise is alternating contractions (about 5 seconds) and the relaxation of a certain group of muscles. Between each muscle group, take a 15-seconds recess. You can start the exercise from your head, and down to the following muscle regions:

  • head (lifting of the forehead)
  • neck (lifting the shoulders high to the neck)
  • back (touching the shoulder blades)
  • hands (relaxing and tightening the fist)
  • chest (deep breath)
  • stomach (retracting the stomach)
  • legs (relaxing and tightening of the whole leg)
  • calves (relaxing and tightening)
  • feet (strong push of toes to the interior of the foot)

Switching between tension and relaxation, you will learn to distinguish these conditions and become more aware of the parts of your body that are particularly tense.

In the previous rows, we went through just some of the techniques that exist, and that can greatly help you fight stage fright. None of these techniques can guarantee that you will never have any more jitters, which should not happen indeed. As we have stated at the beginning of the text, stage fright can have a positive impact and stimulate you. These techniques can help you relax and start thinking about a constructive and productive way that is aimed at presenting yourself in the best light of an upcoming event.

Get a job with a LinkedIn profile

For anyone who starts looking for a job, the first or a new one, a profile on LinkedIn can help a lot, but only if it is properly made and visible.

LinkedIn is a global social network intended for business people. In addition to employees, many companies have official pages there, and therefore, in addition to connecting with colleagues and potential employers, you can find useful articles and job ads.

As one of the essential tools in the recruitment process, recruiters often use LinkedIn to search for adequate candidates for specific positions. During a search, they focus on several basic items, and we will present the most important aspects that your profile should cover:

Location: Make sure to set the exact location where you are interested in working, specify the country in which you reside.

Specify the exact job title you currently occupy, but also make a brief description of your most important responsibilities. The same job description is often called differently in different companies, so a job description will help recruiters understand what you do precisely.

Make sure that the name of the position and the period which you spent in each company match the information you have specified in your CV.

When you change your employer or position, change the data in your profile on time so that you do not get accidentally contacted for a workplace from which you progressed further a few years ago.

Specify languages you speak and the approximate level of your knowledge.

Specify keywords such as programs in which you work and skills, both technical or social that you have because these are the keywords that recruiters will use to seek for you.

Additional: Make your profile credible. Leave recommendations for colleagues you collaborate with or had an opportunity to cooperate in the past. Then ask them to write their experience in working with you. A good recommendation on LinkedIn can mean a lot, especially if you were recommended as a competent or diligent colleague and expert.

Show your interest in the area where you want to develop yourself: attend online courses in that area and attach your certificates.

Build your network: Connect with your colleagues, influential people from your industry, but also with people from HR, so you get on their radar.

Write articles and comments, show your knowledge in action, and the more active you are, the sooner you will get noticed by managers who can later offer you cooperation.

Even if you are not actively looking for a job right now, it is good to have an updated and active profile on this social network because when a wish or a need to change it occurs, you will be a step closer to a new offer. On the other hand, it is always good to be open to new opportunities, because there may be an opportunity only one InMail away from you.

How to prepare for a job interview?

There is plenty of advice on how to prepare for a job interview, but we often do not pay enough attention to one aspect of this process that may be crucial for a job to be obtained.

When interviewing candidates for a specific job, recruiters always analyze the motivation of each person for that particular job, and for the work in the company they applied for. If someone is a great lover of technology and applied for a position in technical support in an IT company, then their enthusiasm will be felt during an interview. Or if someone has studied marketing, speaks great English, and wants to work as a marketing assistant in a company that runs online campaigns, they will certainly be very excited for an opportunity to present their skills and knowledge to get a job like that. This spark in one’s eyes is sometimes crucial when recruiters are choosing the right person for a job, so you should focus on the preparation for an interview about how to show that you are motivated for that particular workplace.

Apply for jobs you are interested in

People who have affinities to particular industries or jobs know a lot about companies operating in given areas. They follow news of the development of these companies, read articles and professional literature on trends within these industries, and are regularly up to date with innovations. It is easy for them, isn’t it? What about those who only ask for better employment in terms of wages, or better team atmosphere, or just regular working hours? Is it possible that companies will employ only those who are in love with their industry? We can say that a company will always give advantage to people who have a strong motivation to thrive and develop in an area that is close to them. On a job interview, motivation to learn about a given area and how much is a person at ease in that area will always be firstly assessed. If, for example, you have a candidate who adores modern technology and is good at solving mathematical and logical tasks, and one whose interests are in the field of communication and international relations, both candidates will be equally considered for a call centre operator. But the job will be given to a person who shows the desire and enthusiasm to learn about their new position.

Think about your motivation for a specific position

In most cases, during an interview, you will be asked why you applied for a job, why you want to work for and what you know about the company. You won’t believe it, but a large percentage of people say they have not read a detailed job description or a description of a company because they thought that more information would be heard during an interview. It is a standard logic, in the sense that a job description seemed interesting to me, I applied for a job, they called me, and now why do I have to prepare for that? If they like my knowledge, I guess it makes sense that they will take me on? Unfortunately, the reality is different though. It has been shown that people who have a strong desire and motivation to work in a specific workplace achieve better results; they are more satisfied with their jobs, learn faster and progress within a company. That is why a company estimates how someone is motivated when they first meet that person in the first place.

Find out more information about the company

The best way to show that you are motivated is to read information about a company and familiarize yourself with how they do business. The first source of information is the company’s website. Here you can see which products/services a company has, what kind of customers they support (whether a product/service is intended for business clients or individuals), what is the tone that a company communicates (whether it is strictly business, or relaxed, more oriented towards young people), which locations the company operates at, etc. Most companies now have a section titled “About Us” where you can see how a company describes itself and its corporate culture. Sometimes there is information about managers who work there. It is always useful when you see resumes, even photos of people who run the company. On Google, search for how many employees there are in a company. This is important information because it is not the same to work for a conglomerate that operates on three continents or a small start-up company with 10 employees. If you have a LinkedIn profile, you can view profiles of all employees in a given company. All this can help you better assess whether your motivation is still at a high level, or you may have concluded that it is not a working environment for you.

If you estimate that this is the right opportunity, then try to remember a few pieces of information (at least about a company’s number of employees and activities) and share that during an interview. Make your efforts, which you have invested primarily to assess whether it is a good opportunity for you, worthwhile. Show recruiters how much you invested before an interview, and convey your thinking why you see yourself in that work environment. It is not easy to get a job with so many competitors, but with such an approach, you increase your chances of actually getting that job!

The phenomenon with which we encounter more frequently – Ghosting

The term “ghosting” was connected in the past to the sudden interruption of personal connection – between partners or friends. It represents an act of unannounced and unexpected termination of any contact in person, through a phone or social networks, without any explanation. Another person remains deprived of an explanation, and that reflects on the emotional state of the other side. A person chooses to act in a “ghosting” way in the hope that the other side will understand the hint and desire for termination of relations, without a clear and personal expression of the need for that or an explanation. People who disconnect the relationship tend to avoid emotional discomfort in this way without thinking about how the other side will feel.

Lately, ghosting is increasingly present in the relationship between employers and future employees. An increasing number of candidates avoids informing a future employer that they have changed their mind about a job application. Candidates who are actively seeking jobs, often send their application to a large number of addresses, without examining details about the company or a job ad, sometimes even without seriously considering their intention to change their current job. At the time when there is a call for a job interview, a candidate decides not to answer the phone, hangs up the phone after they hear who calls them, do not show up for an interview, avoid to answer an offer they received or they simply stop coming to their workplace after they have started working.

The right to change opinion is an assertive right of every individual, and especially in the business world, there should be understanding if candidates change their mind and quit. However, modern ways of communication have contributed to the impairment of communication, and sometimes it seems that the cessation of every way of communication is an acceptable form to disclose an unpleasant piece of information to the other side. Many people avoid conflicts naturally, and this seems like an easier way to avoid potentially unpleasant situations.

This phenomenon is most commonly seen with young people, who have less professional experience, and unfortunately, are unaware that such a way of communication leaves a bad impression for future opportunities. Even if you change your mind, it is always good to answer a call and explain the reason, because a changed opinion leaves a better impression than poorly developed communication skills.

Motivational Letter

Sometimes, as one of the first steps in the selection process, candidates are required to present a motivational letter with their biography. Like its name says, a motivational letter should be in the form of a letter explaining your motivation to apply to that particular position. We are describing a few helpful tips that might help you with this and make your writing easier.

Purpose

A motivational letter serves as a complement to your CV. It allows you to present yourself better to a future employer and to get distinguished among other candidates. Therefore, do not discuss inputs which you already explained in your CV, but use this space to show that you are really interested in a company, as well as a specific job, and also emphasize your successes and achievements that you have not specified in your CV.

Form

A motivational letter should be clear and compact. Make sure everything you have to say fits into one A4 page. Start with “Dear,” and ideally write to (Mr/Mrs/Ms and their last name) a manager of a sector which you are applying for. If you fail to find this information, you can refer to a company or HR team. Write in the first person, formally, but with a tone that calls for future cooperation.

In the first paragraph, introduce yourself and briefly explain your reasons for applying.

Before you write a second paragraph, explore well a company that announced a vacancy and think why you want to work with them. Explain why you believe that position is appropriate for you and what are reasons, objectives, and achievements of a company that made you interested in building your career with them.

In the third paragraph, describe your knowledge and skills, describe them through examples, and clarify to your future employer which qualities you have that can help them. Write about your long-term goals, express enthusiasm for progress, and explain why you are better compared to other candidates.

Always end a letter with a nice greeting and an invitation to a live introduction. In your signature, leave contact information – email and phone number in case they want to contact you.

Before sending, be sure to read the letter and check all spelling errors. Write a letter in a language in which an ad has been published, and before sending it, be sure to save it as a PDF file.

A good CV is a ticket to get a job

When writing a CV (Curriculum Vitae), one should stick to the motto “less is more.” A CV should contain key items that will keep the attention of someone reading it on the information that will help you get a job. A CV should not exceed two pages, and it would be ideal if all data could fit one. You can use templates that divide information into sections so that your presentation to your future employer is clear and space is fully used.

Spatially, we can imagine a CV as a studio apartment – it should be functional, so, it should only contain the most important elements, and then, it should be neat so that one can easily go through it. A CV should be regularly cleaned of information that is no longer relevant but creates unnecessary jams. For example, if you are a student looking for your first job, it is OK to explain different volunteer experiences and numerous conferences that you have participated in, but if you have already had several years of experience, you can omit information about seminars that are not closely associated with the position you apply for.

The most important elements of a CV are personal/contact data, education, work experience, foreign languages, and computer knowledge. All of this should only be specified if it adds to your values and makes you a desirable candidate given the criteria specified in a job description.

The CV design itself should contribute to its functionality: try to reduce data and do not go away from the essence. When choosing a font, make sure that it is easy to read and professional, and to make content understandable, use bullets instead of long sentences.

In an introduction, next to your name and surname, be sure to provide your contact phone and email address, in a visible place, where it will be easily accessible. Since job interviews are confidential, it would be best to leave your mobile phone number so that someone in the HR sector can contact you directly, not someone from at your home or a colleague. An email address should be professional (name.surname@mail.com) so that you make a good impression.

If you decide to enrich your work biography with a photo, then let it be as recent and faithful as possible so that you can be easily remembered through a selection process later. Photos with other people, pets, or from different events, or nightlife, should not be found in a CV.

You may omit information about your residence address, date of birth, citizenship (if you are not a foreign citizen) because it is not of crucial importance. When previewing a CV, a recruiter wants to establish whether you meet job criteria, or whether you have the necessary knowledge and experience. If you do, they will invite you to an interview where you can discuss whether an address of your residence may have any impact on your arrival at a workplace.

Data on marital status, children, served military time and similar personal information should also be avoided because it is not important in the selection process, and you can better use that space to list your skills and professional achievements.

Working experience is a vital item of this document and therefore, should take most of the space. When specifying your work experiences, put them in reverse order – one by one, specify working experiences from the most recent experience till the last one. Try to make all items clean and meaningful: feel free to bold job titles and employers’ names so they could be easy to identify, and specify locations only if you worked in different cities or countries. Be sure to specify dates – a month and year as a period when you worked so that a recruiter would have a clear insight into duration and chronology of your employment.

For each job that you think is relevant to a position that you apply for, specify responsibilities and achievements in a few items, mainly if a lot of the tasks you have performed are not contained in the name of a position you worked at. Highlight the most important topics so that you do not go unnoticed and to emphasize that you have the qualities that distinguish you from other candidates.

If you have no experience, use this space to talk about the relationship between your interests and skills with the required criteria for a specific position. Also, be sure to specify internships you attended during your schooling, student jobs, and your participation in seminars to better present your commitment and motivation to your future employer.

When specifying education, you should also stick to reverse chronologies, i.e., specify first the highest education title you have acquired. Elementary school data is not relevant since it is mandatory and the same for everyone. You can omit high school data if you have studied, especially if you have been on master or doctoral studies. Graduates should specify a vocation title they have acquired, but an average grade often does not affect a selection process, so you do not have to put it, although it can be a good indicator of your commitment if it is a high one.

Foreign languages section does not have to take too much space because it is not necessary to break each language to write/read/understand sections, it is sufficient to specify the approximate level of your knowledge. If you have a certificate, it is always a good idea to specify that as an additional confirmation.

Computer skills is also an item that deserves space in your resume, and you can describe knowledge of each specified program similar to a level of languages you speak — from basic to advanced.

Although hobbies and interests speak a lot about personality, it is not necessary to specify them. In the next round of selection, an interviewer will ask you more about that to get to know you better. They will also ask you questions about the characteristics that are desirable for a particular position, and you do not have to spend space to list attributes that are already listed in a job ad.

Specify having a driver’s license only if a job ad says that it is a requirement to fulfil your work duties, although it is not a bad idea if you leave it in a CV anyway.

When the text of a job ad is published in a foreign language, always attach a version of a CV in the same language. Before sending, check the full text that you are sending, because typos or grammatical errors make a bad impression. If you believe that you are a person who pays attention to details, this is a great way to show it in action. Because of different versions of a program, fonts may change, or a picture and rows could mix, so in the end, be sure to save the document as a PDF file to avoid this and make sure that it reaches an employer looking the same as on your computer.

Finally, a CV should be your personal hallmark. Although there are finished templates (European Form and similar), it is still advised to use only the structure, but to choose your own font, detailed descriptions of duties on previous jobs, and the entire visual design. In this way, your computer skills could be seen, as well as your effort and initiative. Do your best when preparing your CV, it is your ticket to get a job!