It’s great news when you’re called in for an interview. Your resume made the cut and you’re ready to move on to the next step. You’re halfway there. One major problem is that people think if you’re called in for an interview, you’re as good as hired. Be aware that you might be interviewed along with dozens of other candidates.
So don’t act like you’ve got the job when you sit down to interview. You’ve still got a lot of selling to do. In fact, overconfidence can actually work against you. Overconfidence can actually come off as indifference: it shows a lack of eagerness and enthusiasm, two traits enormously important for potential candidates.
The key to a good interview is one of balance: you must be confident but not overconfident, relaxed but not to the point of being unprofessional, practiced but not mundane, informative but concise. Think you can handle all that? There’s a reason that people don’t long to enter the interview process. It can be difficult to straddle all those lines.
In addition, no one really likes to be judged in real life, but that is exactly what happens in each and every interview. If you make a mistake, this will be noted. It can cause any potential candidate to have a fit of nerves. Perhaps the best advice to give regarding the interview process is this: you are bound to make a mistake or two. Obviously, you want to try not to, but nobody’s perfect. So long as you have a realistic perception of your capabilities, you won’t get too flustered when you do make a mistake, perhaps digging yourself a deeper hole.
In some sense, the interview depends a lot on the interviewer. You don’t expect to get along perfectly with each and every person you meet, the same goes for a job interview. In some interviews, there will be an instant chemistry with the interviewer. In another interview, it will be more like pulling teeth. In some cases, a bad interview might not even be your fault—you pulled out everything from your bag of tricks and still didn’t get a good response.
Expect this: some interviews will just not go as well as you’d like, even with ample preparation. If you feel like an interview is steering off course, change your tactics. Just because something worked in an interview yesterday, does not mean it will work in an interview today. You must be able to read the tendencies of your interviewer. Perhaps he wants to talk about your future goals more than your past experience. Perhaps he responds well to flattery, or not at all.
Each interview is a totally new experience and should be approached as such. A good job interviewee adapts to each interview, rather than bringing the same game plan to each interview. While you should most definitely prepare for each interview—preparing answers to common questions and researching the business—you should also be expected to change your plan midstream according to the personality of the interviewer. If you do, you will be much more likely to nail the interview.