2 out of 3 people fail job interviews even before they open their mouth and what to do about it
About 90% of people come away from an interview kicking themselves because they know they should have performed better had it not been for their nerves or anxiety, and it is so easy to deal with, given a little know-how.
Whilst many people put interview failure down to excuses like:
- I didn’t want the job anyway
- They had someone in mind and they were just going through the motions
- The asked all the wrong questions
- They were really off putting
- I was over qualified for the job really
The reality is most people fail their interview before they have even opened their mouth and not for ANY of the above reasons or 1000 others.
80% of the decision to hire someone is based on what the interviewers see and hear on the day and only about 20% is based on what is in your CV or your qualifications. When you think about it, the interviewers have already sifted the CV’s and qualifications and they have only invited the people they think are qualified. These are busy people and these days they are not short of applicants so you can bet that they do not wish to waste their time interviewing a bunch of no-hopers. If you get an interview it is for a very good reason – you are qualified.
Repeat 100 times – the interview is not to show you are qualified for the job. They already know that.
In short success in the interview comes down to three things:
- Do you come across as a competent person?
- Do you appear to be easy to get on with?
- Do you come across as someone who will fit in with their team? and,
- Were you lying on your CV.
Unless there is an assessment process as well the interview is NOT about whether you are actually competent but whether you APPEAR to be competent. They can not tell if you are competent without actually getting you to do the job, the references are meant for this. This is all about perception; Do you appear to be competent?
Just think about your perception of what a competent person looks and behaves like. I bet that perception does not include a nervous or anxious person. Competent includes being confident, composed and looking comfortable / confident with your subject area.
What they want to see and hear
Put yourself in the interviewers place. What would you want to see and hear from the ideal candidate?
- Answers questions with ease
- Is at ease with their subject area
- Gives them something they didn’t know – surprises them with new knowledge
- Is responsive and agile
- Can hold a good conversation
What they don’t want to see and hear
- Someone who is hard work
- Can’t think what to say
- Just answers with really short one sentence answers – suggests you don’t know your stuff.
- Is defensive
- Talks too fast to be comprehensible
Nerves can affect performance to such an extent that during an interview people can find that they can’t think straight, find themselves talking way too fast, talking on automatic – find that you are talking without really knowing what you are saying. In severe cases individuals can find that they get blank mind syndrome where they can’t think of anything to say, even when they have rehearsed the answer beforehand.Often people find them selves going back over and over the interview afterwards wishing they had said x or y.
Speak to any experienced interviewer and they will often say they can spot the nervous people as they walk in to the interview room. On the other hand they can usually spot a competent, confident person within seconds also. How we appear and how we perform are usually connected.
Oddly people who are calm, confident and composed in such situations can rarely explain how they do it. However research has been able to show how anybody can become a lot calmer and more confident, often within seconds. Usually we are our own worst enemy when it comes to job interview nerves. For example when we are nervous we tend to act out of habit and many of those habits make things worse.
One of the many pieces of advice we give people going for a job interview is never ever sit down when you are waiting to go through for your interview. In the Fear Course Handbook: How To Do Job Interviews Without Nerves or Anxiety we show you:
- What confident people do that nervous people don’t but could, easily.
- The 5 things people eat and drink that actually makes them more nervous
- The ONE big mistake nervous people make that is an instant fail in a job interview situation
- What to do when your mind goes blank during the interview
- How to calm down instantly
and much more.