Careerbuilder’s WorkBuzz website quoted Vijay Ingam, CFA in a recent article titled “The little white lies we tell during a job search.”
The best way to get over your anxiety is being prepared. Spend as much time as you can to get ready for the interview both in researching the company and preparing answers to common interview questions.
If you find that you are still nervous about job interview, than we suggest rehearsing under less than ideal circumstances. Our suggestions are as follows:
Loud Music Strategy
Play some music you don’t like loud enough that it interferes with your thoughts but doesn’t wake the neighbors. Then rehearse your answers to common job interview questions. Don’t try to talk over the music just deal with it. Practicing for your interview under less than ideal circumstances will help you do better.
Insulting Friend Strategy
Ask your friends to help you rehearse for you job interview. Tell them they can say anything mean or insulting they want to say to you (within reason), while they ask you common job interview questions. You cannot respond to their insults, only respond to the job interview question they are asking you.
The conversation should go something like this:
Friend: “Why are you interested in working for company x? By the way, I think your car is really ugly.”
You: “I really admire company x for reason a, reason b and reason c. [do not respond to car comment]”
Friend: “Your room is always such a mess. You are such a slob. What is your greatest weakness?”
You: “My greatest weakness is my math skills. I overcame this weakness by studying extra hard for my math final exams. [Do not respond to slob comment.]”
Both of these strategies are very childish, which is why they are so effective at getting rid of anxiety. The real job interview will never be as bad as the artificial situation you created when you were practicing for it.
I advise all of my clients to be honest in their job interviews. “You can sugar coat the truth but never lie.”
As a cautionary tale, I’ll mention a friend from business school that recently had to let go of a new employee. The employee was great, but she had lied on her job application. As a policy, my friend’s company asks applicants to disclose all the jobs they have had for in the last 5 years. She hadn’t mentioned that she had recently worked as a waitress in a restaurant because she had been fired from that job. The sad part is that this woman would have still gotten the job if she had been honest. My friend could have cared less that his potential employee had been a bad waitress. After all, the job was secretarial.
After a few weeks at my friend’s company, the employee mentioned to another employee that she had worked as a waitress at a nearby restaurant. My friend noted this was not disclosed on her job application and confronted her about it. She admitted lying and he had to let her go. He felt bad about losing a good employee, but he couldn’t keep a liar in his company.
Please be honest in your job application and interview.
Lately, I’ve had a few clients who expressed concerns about skills or subject matter tests during an interview. I thought I’d create a blog entry about the topic to help. I’ve also added the information below to The Definitive Guide on How to Ace Your Interview and Get the Job.
Sometimes employers will give you skills or subject matter tests to assess your knowledge of the software programs and other skills or knowledge you need for the position. They will usually warn you ahead of time so you can be prepared for such testing. Sometimes an employer will use testing software that is designed to assess your skills and knowledge. Other times they will ask you to demonstrate your ability to do a few common functions on a computer program or answer a few questions about a specific subject.
The best way to prepare for a skills test is to know the subject or computer program you are being tested on but be aware that sometimes skills tests can be on aspects of a subject or computer program that you do not use regularly. Interview SOS suggests the following preparations:
Tests on Microsoft Office Applications (Microsoft Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Access, or Outlook)
Before taking a skills test on a Microsoft Office program, we suggest you use the Professor Teaches Office 2010 from Individual Software. It’s a great program that shows you how to usethe most basic functions on each of the major programs of the Microsoft Office Suite. Expect to spend 3–4 hours learning the basic functions for each program. We suggest doing both the basic and advanced lessons for each office program prior to a skills test.
We suggest using either Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing or Typing Instructor before taking a test to improve your typing skills. Depending on your current typing skills and those required for the position, you should anticipate spending 10–40 hours learning to type well if you don’t have the skill already.
To prepare for tests on accounting software such as Sage Peachtree, we suggest using Mastering Peachtree Made Easy Training Tutorial. To learn QuickBooks, we suggest Mastering QuickBooks Made Easy v. 2013 Video Training Tutorial Course DVD-ROM .
If you anticipate a subject test on something like financial accounting or nursing, we suggest spending a few hours reviewing a respected textbook on the subject even if you feel you are already knowledgeable.
There were 28 elk outside my cabin in the redwoods. They didn’t stop me from meeting a client over Skype.
I’m in a cabin in the Redwood Forest seven hours north of San Francisco. My family is out hiking so my only companions are the 28 elk grazing outside our cabin (I counted them). I have no cell phone coverage here, but I do have internet. Therefore, I was able to have a successful job interview coaching session with a new client this afternoon using Skype.
The versatility of Skype and Google Video Chat is amazing. I can really help a client anywhere in the world. You could be next!
I have decided to start providing job interview preparation services by phone, Skype and Google voice and video chat. In fact, my whole company, Interview SOS, is based on that concept.
Joy and Vijay at the Thailand Exhibit at Shanghai Expo 2010
I have to thank my friend Joy for the idea. (Enclosed is a photo of me and Joy at the Shanghai Expo in China in 2010.) Several months ago, Joy asked me for help with her job interviews for positions in law. The problem is that Joy lives in Shanghai and I live in Los Angeles!
So, I decided to help Joy by videoconferencing with her over Skype for a few hours. Joy was like a regular career coaching client; the only difference was we were videoconferencing instead of meeting in person in Los Angeles. I could help Joy overcome her nervousness, identify the strengths in her job application, and prepare answers to tough job interview questions very efficiently by videoconference. She subsequently landed a job at a prestigious law firm in Shanghai. It made me realize that I could provide the same job interview coaching services for anyone in the world.
There are huge benefits to getting career coaching by internet videoconference or phone:
- Skype and Google are free
- It saves time in commuting.
- You can get a career coaching session anywhere in the world
So if you’re looking for someone to help you prepare for a job interview please contact me and we’ll schedule a time to talk via Skype. And if you’re looking for a sharp corporate lawyer in Shanghai, Joy is definitely the one for you.