It’s ok to be nervous, it’s not ok to panic
Throughout my life of working in several different positions, many of which have included interviewing and hiring/firing others, I find it very interesting how different people react to different situations.
I can’t say I’ve ever held an interview where the person was calm, cool, and collected to the point I didn’t notice a hint of nervousness. A lot of times, unfortunately, the person feels to be under so much “pressure” to perform well, they go into a panic state.
Good Leaders Ask Good Questions
One thing I have learned from hours and hours of podcasts, reading books, and just plain experience is anyone can give good answers to ordinary questions. I can ace an interview with anyone if you want to give me plain-Jane questions.
My interviews are a little different though. My questions are made to shake the interviewee into actually thinking and responding with a little bit of emotion and personality.
Good leaders will ask good shaking questions. Be prepared, if you go into an interview, for out of the normal questions. Here are a few questions I ask my interviewees that not many people ask:
- If you’re hired, loved everything about the job, and were paid the salary you asked for, what other offers from other companies would you consider taking?
- The thought process behind this question is the fact of everyone has a price. If the job you’re interviewing for is your sweet spot job, make sure you say that, but be honest with them and yourself, if you find another company that offers you the exact same job with more benefits, it’s ok to tell them about this as well.
- When have you been most satisfied in your life?
- Here, I’m looking for the answer that tells me what your sweet spot is and how I can better fit you in my company. If I’m hiring for someone to do payroll, and you were most satisfied when you got to travel and meet new people, this might not be the position for you. I do not consider this to be a disqualifying question, however, the answer could tell me how happy and effective you’ll be in your new role.
- What’s your personal mission statement?
- I’m going to be honest, I’ve never had anyone come into an interview prepared for this question. Many people, if not most, will tell me what I “want” to hear, but few are true and honest by telling me they don’t have one. I consider honesty over making something up on the fly every time I ask the question.
- If your answer consists of “Be all I can be, do the best I can, provide great service,” or anything of that nature please Google “Develop personal mission statement” or go to some sites like www.michaelhyatt.com, www.goinswriter.com, or www.acuff.me to find more information about writing a true personal mission statement.
- What have you done to improve yourself in the past 2 years?
- The answers I get for this question surprise me most days. I feel this is a very straight forward question, and yet, I still get answers such as “I’ve grown by working with others better.” What does that even mean?
- I’m looking for something tangible. A measurable goal or action which you’ve done to improve yourself. Something more along the lines of “I’ve started eating healthier with a goal to lose weight and/or improve my health,” “I’ve read a book a month (two months/quarter/whatever) to learn more about….,” or “I started going back to school for…”
- This isn’t a trick question, I want to legitimately know how you’re attempting to improve yourself personally or professionally.
Be Yourself and Breathe
As an interviewee, you have to be ready to answer tough questions, especially if the interviewer is an experienced one who has great questions.
The key to being ready is to be yourself and breathe. Take some time before any interview and research the company so you know what they’re about and who they are. If you know a little about the company you’ll instantly set yourself apart from 95% of the competition.
While you’re searching around on the internet, search for some interview questions and find articles talking about great questions & great answers. There are hundreds if not thousands out there.
Smile, breathe, firm handshake, breathe, maintain eye contact, breathe, be yourself!
I heard a story about how some military special force members calm themselves down before going into a campaign. They breathe in for 4 seconds, they hold for 4 seconds, they exhale for 4 seconds, and hold for 4 seconds. I don’t recommend doing this while you’re actually IN the interview, but try it before your next one.
I really believe if you would calm your mind and relax, which this breathing technique allows, you will be able to go into your next interview cool, calm, and collected, ready for any question they throw at you (so long as you are prepared for the off the wall questions similar to what’s above).
What are some ways you have stayed calm or attempted to stay calm in an interview? Or if you have interviewed a lot of people, what are some things you look for or ask? I’d love to hear your thoughts on my Facebook page – Here.