Ace Your Interview

by Helen Raine

Even the calmest of souls will feel a surge of adrenaline in a job interview – that ‘you versus the panel’ feeling is the fuel injection for your fight-or-flight response – but you can diffuse the tension with our Zen ideas.

Dampen the Spirits

Summer is over but the scourge of the sweaty handshake can still be upon us. Stop your palms from giving you away by arriving early, so you have time to cool off in the A/C. You can also try running cold water over your wrists in the bathroom. When it comes to the handshake itself, avoid doing a ‘Donald’ – this is not a wrestling match – but make sure you put your palm into it; limp fingers are an instant interview turn-off. If you’re not sure whether your handshake is up to par, practice with an honest friend.

Super Candidate

It sounds dotty but Harvard researchers found that when people held a ‘high power’ stance before their interview, they earned better scores. Body language not only affects how the interviewer sees you, it changes how you perceive yourself. So, while you are cooling your wrists in the bathroom, pretend you are Christopher Reeve taking to the skies, head up, chest open. Put your hands on your hips and hold the pose for a few seconds. Once you are in the interview room, keep up the positive body language by standing equally on both feet, with an open posture towards the interviewers. Control your hands too – nothing says ‘nervous’ like obsessively fiddling with hair or jewelry.

Oil the Palm

No, we don’t mean offering a bribe; we’re talking essential oils. Jasmine is good for confidence – rub a few drops onto your wrists before you arrive. At best, these essential oils can help you relax; at worst, you’ll smell delicious and benefit from the placebo effect.

Hurry up and Wait

Waiting…. it’s the worst part. It might be tempting to frantically swot up on the job in those last few minutes, but instead, try revisiting a memory that makes you happy; you will look calm and relaxed when the interviewer comes to find you.

Preparation, preparation, preparation

It’s not a quick fix – in fact, preparing for an interview takes a lot of time – but preparation is one of the best tonics for interview nerves. Scope out your potential employer online to get a feel for their brand and values. Look up their webpage to find out what projects they are involved in; read their press releases and news coverage. Then, even if you’ve fluffed a couple of questions, just breathe out the negative, breathe in the positive (it might sound like hippy claptrap, but it works) and remember that you did the work behind the scenes. Insert some of that knowledge into your next answer. 

Round Table

You might feel like you are in the spotlight during an interview, but Malta has a skills shortage and the reality is that you are also finding out whether you want to work for this particular business. Viewing the experience that way can go a long way to helping with nerves.

So keep these points in mind when preparing for a job interview. jobsinmalta.com wishes you the best of luck in your hunt for a new job!


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