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Lynne Carlson
Lynne Carlson

Planet4iT


5 Tips to take the Jitters Out of an Interview

Interviews are stressful.  Whether this is your dream job you are interviewing for, a promotion, or your first job there are little things you can do to help ease the stress.  There are very few people in the world who don't get pre-interview jitters.  These jitters will be worse if you are not prepared for your interview.  Here are my 5 tips for helping to get you to the interview with a few less jitters.  

1. Don't be late

There is no valid excuse for being late to an interview.  You should plan on being there at least 10 to 15 minutes early.  You don't need to check in until 5 minutes before but at least be in the building 10 to 15 minutes before the interview.  This allows you to go to the washroom and check your hair, teeth, wash your hands and relax before you are called in.  

2. Do a Practice Run

If you aren't sure where you are going or where parking is or how long it will take then do a practice run.  Schedule your practice run around the same time as the interview if you can to get a feel for traffic flow and/or public transportation glitches.  Nothing worse then being on the subway and having an emergency stoppage.  Find that nearest taxi stand and get going.  

3. Prepare your Outfit the night before

Yes, layout your whole outfit.  Hopefully you have picked up your suit from the cleaners ahead of time.  This is also a good way to know if you have to leave earlier to pick up a new pair of nylons.  Are your shoes shined?  Yes people do still shine their shoes or at least get the dust and grime off of them.  Remember don't overdo the cologne or perfume, if possible just don't use any.  Cleanliness and hygiene is more important than your cologne.  

4. Prepare your Kit

Take a couple of extra hard copies of your resume with you.  They will ask you questions relating to your resume so this gives you the chance to reread it before your interview.  Kleenex, a couple of safety pins, a charged phone , breath mints, can come in handy in case of an emergency.  Don't forget to put in a hard copy of your references (that you have prepped ahead of time) just in case the interview goes really well and they want to move to the next stage.  

5. Find out how to pronounce the Interviewer's Name

In our multi-cultural Canada it's important to verify how to pronounce the person's name.  The last thing you want to do is walk in and say "Hi Mr/Mrs ........" and have them say "well my name is .........".  Ask your recruiter, phone the actual company and ask for their extension - hopefully if you pronounce it wrong they will correct it for you.  Write it down phonetically so you will remember the pronunciation.  

Being prepared for your interview will help to set the tone for the whole interview.  Let me know what little practices/rituals you do before an interview to help you start your interview off on the right foot.  

 


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It is important to assess or clarify exactly what you are looking for short term and where you want to be long term. Remember, when changing your career, it also affects your family life and your social life. So, don't forget to include these categories in your list. Here are 8 categories to help you analyze your next career change:

  • What is your objective
  • What type of organization
  • Supervisory or not
  • Salary
  • Type of employment
  • Location
  • New technologies
  • You and/or your family

WHAT IS YOUR OBJECTIVE

Are you looking to gain new skills?

Do you want to move into a leadership position?

What technologies do you like working with the most?

Where do you want to be in 5 years and what will help you get there?

WHAT TYPE OF ORGANIZATION

Is there a specific industry you are interested in, i.e. finance, manufacturing, health, government?

Would you be interested in a large national/international company where there is room for transfers to other locations?

How about a start-up? Do you have the skills that could take a start-up to the next level? Or do you just like the excitement of new and innovative environments?

Do you like bureaucracy or are you more comfortable in a family environment?

SUPERVISOR OR NOT

Some people are made to be in a supervisory position, other people find it very challenging. There is nothing wrong with either side. It is important for you to analyze yourself and decide if you like and want the extra challenges that go with supervising people.

Do you like a challenging puzzle? If you like getting involved in a puzzle, then supervising might not be for you.

Supervising means making time for people and their problems and idiosyncrasies.

You must be tough and soft and fair.

HOW IMPORTANT IS SALARY

Is money the most important thing in your life right now? No shame in admitting this. Money makes the world go ‘round and helps you buy a house, go on a vacation, or pay off a loan.

Is learning a new skill more important than the salary?

Is this a good time to add extra experience and education to your resume and not worry as much about the salary? Sometimes a long-term career path means not necessarily going for the big pay cheque.

CONTRACT OR PERMANENT

Do you like the security of a permanent position? These can include scheduled raises, health benefits, vacation time, possibility for advancement. Your job may be like your family.

OR

Are you more comfortable being a contractor and being your own boss? Like having control of your salary and where the write-offs go? The larger salary compensates for time off between jobs. Do you like the idea of being able to take a summer off or travel for 4 months? Do you find that new people, new systems, new companies enhance your work experience, or do they give you stress?

LOCATION – TO COMMUTE OR NOT

Commuting is a big deal breaker on my list.

Do you like to drive?

Are you and the company close to public transportation?

How about the expense of car, parking, public transportation?

How long does the commute take? Are you going to be happy with needing an extra 2 hours for transportation?

Don't forget to think about those long Canadian winters when you factor in commuting.

NEW AND INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES

Are you comfortable with the technologies you are using, or do you want to train with the new technologies on the marketplace?

Keep up to date on new/emerging technologies and what companies/systems are using them.

What’s hot, what’s not? COBOL, Java, Hadoop. What companies offer training in the new technologies?

Read industry publications to keep up to date on emerging technologies.

Do you need to go back to school or take a course/certificate?

YOU AND YOUR FAMILY

Times change and so do you. Just graduated, no family ties – then long hours and travelling with your job are great. Add a family into the scenario or have an older parent you need to help with. Your needs change and so do theirs.

There is nothing more fun than coaching one of your kids at yours/their favourite sport. Will the new job provide the opportunity to get home early enough for that?

Does the new company have a day care centre?

Health Benefits can make a huge difference in your lifestyle.

Older parents, spouse’s career, are you at an age when you would like a little more time off. These are all factors that you have to analyze when you are looking for a new position.

WHAT FACTOR IS THE DEAL BREAKER FOR YOU?

Everyone has different needs. As you grow in your career your needs will change. It’s important to analyze each factor for each time in your life. Be honest! Changing careers and companies is a hard decision and not something you want to regret.

Start with these 8 factors and analyze each one.