Thursday, February 28, 2013

Enthusiasm in the Interview - Your Not So Secret Weapon

Congratulations on your interview! Now one piece of advice: you might be qualified, experienced, competent, recommended, professional, informed AND well spoken; but without enthusiasm you won’t shine in your interview.  Just showing up to the interview isn’t enough.  You need to give the impression that you are excited to be there! 

The stress of an interview can send you into fight-or-flight response.  Your body becomes tense, you become super-alert, and your bloodstream fills with adrenaline.  If you’re one of those lucky people who gets dry mouth, that’s going to happen too (hint: always take water if it’s offered).  The brain no longer focuses on minutia but the big picture, which isn’t helpful when you’re trying to remember the details of your accomplishments at your last job.  This is the reason people freeze up, can’t remember what they wanted to say, and trip over their words.  Someone who freezes silent, or gets tongue-tied and apologetic isn’t selling themselves.  And to the interviewer, this behavior can make someone look disinterested or scatterbrained.  At this point, it’s not practical to focus on calming yourself down.  You’re in this situation and you want to come out the other side with a good interview.  You can do this by embracing your freak-out!

The body has the same physiological response to fear as to excitement.  So just tell yourself you’re just that excited about this position!  Take all that nervous energy and instead of trying to suppress it, let it escape in your responses.  And don’t hide the fact that you are excited about the prospect of doing this job, not just getting it.

There are plenty of other articles on how to be prepared, so I won’t cover this here.  Just keep in mind that doing your research and practicing your talking points gives you something to say when you need to elaborate and your brain freezes up. 

When the interview ends, you want to ensure that you have left the impression that you are not only qualified for the job, but that you actively want to do it!  When you leave, they could be saying “She tripped up that question and she looked like she didn’t want to be here” or “she tripped up that question, but she is clearly excited about this work.”  In this job market, where there plenty of experienced, qualified candidates, your enthusiasm can tip a decision in your favor. 

Joyce Abbott Holds a BA in Anthropology and an MA in Library Science.  She has worked in for-profits, non-profits, and local government everywhere from customer service, to librarianship, to corporate records management.  She believes the point of life is to never stop growing and pushing yourself into something new.  You can connect with Joyce on!

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