How to Succeed at Your Job Interviews

Release Interview Nerves and Be Confident!

Authored by Pat Bishop

Like anything in life, if something is important to you, it is worth putting in the necessary effort and planning for your success. Usually, if you give any goal some thought, you will discover a number of smaller steps which can make the task easier. This is particularly true when you wish to succeed at an interview, and give yourself the best chance of getting that job.



Here are some suggested steps to ensure that you have prepared as thoroughly as possible for your interview.

Do you really want the job – is this your kind of work?

Now is the time to decide whether this job, with its various tasks and required skills, is what you really want to do. Although the job title and salary might be attractive, you need to give serious thought to whether the role is one which really interests you, and will maintain your enthusiasm and drive.

Make sure you thoroughly research the company. For example, do you know what they produce? Do you understand the company structure? How long have they been trading? This knowledge will help to boost your confidence at your interview, and will also impress your interviewers. It will also help you to decide whether you really do want to work for this company.

Is this work that you’ve done before? If not, how much can you bring to the job in terms of transferable skills? For example, you may like to have a management job, but unless you can prove your organisational and management abilities either from previous jobs, or comparable life experiences, you may be over-reaching and setting yourself up for failure.

Once you’ve considered these points, a helpful technique is to ask yourself why you want this particular job, and to repeat this five times. If you can answer each why’ differently, but in a very positive way and quite quickly, you will be much clearer about your motivation for wanting this job. This can enhance how you approach the interview, and the over all impression you will give. If you can’t answer these questions easily, then perhaps you should reconsider.

Knowing your CV and handling questions

It is crucial to prepare yourself for the interview before the day of the interview. This can involve aspects such as deciding what you are going to wear for the interview, as well as getting familiar with your own CV (resume). There is nothing more embarrassing than being asked questions based on your CV, and not being able to answer them because you’ve forgotten about something which you stated.

It is perfectly acceptable to take a copy of your CV, or brief notes, into the interview with you in order to jog your memory. But do keep these as brief as possible and ensure they are relevant to the job description. It’s not very impressive to hold up the interview while you search through reams of paper for an appropriate response.

You should also feel free to jot down any questions, particularly a multi-part question, in order for you to focus more clearly on the issue. This will help you to feel confident about giving a comprehensive reply. Remember that you can always ask an interviewer to clarify, or repeat, any questions. You can also ask the interviewer to come back to a particular question if you need further time to think.

Ensure your successful arrival

You will want to make a good impression straight away. Turning up late for your interview and making excuses regarding getting lost, or public transport letting you down, will not get you off to a good start. It is therefore vital to ensure you know the route in advance, and to give yourself plenty of time to cope with any unexpected events such as traffic jams, transport failure or other emergencies.

If possible, have a practice run before the day. This will help you to estimate more accurately how much time you will need to allow for travel, and will help soothe any nerves on the day.

Rehearse answers to popular questions

Your confidence will be enhanced if you rehearse answering typical interview questions. Some people find it helpful to rehearse their answers out loud. For example, speaking in front of a mirror, a friend, or even your cat or dog!

Popular questions which you may be asked are:-

  • issues around equal opportunities
  • what unique qualities you can bring to the role
  • what your strengths and weaknesses are
  • examples of how you have dealt with difficult situations and people
  • what motivates you
  • how you shown initiative and taken the lead in a previous role
    Techniques to help you feel calm and confident

    There are a variety of techniques which you can use depending on your own personal preferences. Here are some ideas:-


  • take three or four slow, deep breaths whenever you feel the need to calm yourself
  • learn a technique like self-hypnosis, or use a self-hypnosis CD
  • tell yourself as you go up the stairs, or up in the lift to the interview that ‘I am going up in confidence’
  • tell yourself as you walk across the floor ‘I am one step nearer my goals’.
  • remember that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.
  • use your imagination to mentally rehearse feeling confident and relaxed throughout the interview
  • some people find using the Bach flower rescue remedy helpful
  • ensure you get a good night’s sleep the night before the interview
    Have your questions ready

    Interviewers will always give you the opportunity to ask questions, normally at the end of the interview. It will impress them, and also demonstrate that you are keen to secure the position, if you manage to ask at least two or three questions. Here are some ideas:-


  • how do you see me fitting into this role and this organisation?
  • what availability is there for training and development?
  • can you give me some idea of the future opportunities within this organisation?
  • what do you see as being the major challenges for this role/department in the forthcoming year?
  • how soon can I expect a decision from you?
    After the interview

    Once you’ve completed the interview, no matter what your views may be on your performance, do congratulate yourself and let go of any worries – you’ve done the very best you can, well done!

    Remember to put a date in your diary to contact the organisation in order to find out whether they’ve come to a decision. At the interview you will have been told when you could expect a decision, so if you don’t hear by that date, allow a few more days, and then contact them.

    Whether or not you have been successful, remember to ask for feedback about your performance in order to allow yourself to learn from the experience.

    You may also find it useful to spend a little time in self-reflection, and consider what you may have done differently if given a second chance. This is a useful way of learning any lessons, in order that you can make changes to the way in which you tackle any future interviews.


    Although this can seem like a lot of work towards an interview, it will pay dividends now and in the future. Every interview you have refines and enhances your interview technique, and will also add to your confidence.

    If you feel a need to boost your confidence, hypnotherapy is a great way to overcome any nerves so that you can present yourself at your very best.



    Pat Bishop, Clinical HypnotherapistEmail:


    Article Posted – 12th February 2007. Copyright Pat Bishop

    IMPORTANT No article may be reproduced in any way, shape or form without the express permission of the author.


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