Are you up for this job interview?

This morning, you heard your neighbor yell through the wall: “Damn it honey, where did you put my white shirt? I meet my most important client this morning, and I am late, he’s gonna tear me apart!” You might infer from it that, one: your neighbor is not very considerate for his wife, even that he feels more important than her; and two: he’s treating both himself and his couple with less care than this decisive client. In the blink of an eye, you picture with a smile how the meeting is going to unfold…

Tomorrow, it’s your turn to have an important interview. You obtained from a colleague a key informal interview with the Executive director of a company in your field, or a HR from a large group subsidiary has summoned you because you are “shortlisted”. In any case, stakes are high. You have done your homework on the company business, results, strategy, organization chart, of course the job position and its main missions, the profile of the person who receives you. Finally, your introduction talk is fine-tuned. But isn’t there something missing? With all that preparation, you forgot to ask yourself one question, and a good one at that: how do you feel?
The meeting getting closer, you can either feel good about yourself, and know that you’re not going by chance (in short let’s say you’re “OK”) or you can feel like not being up to it, not prepared enough, even being insignificant as the stress sets in (the “not OK” situation).

Find all this trivial? Maybe because you’re just halfway…

Next big question is how you consider your recruiter

Take one step back and analyze now how you see your interlocutor: if, before the meeting, you assume he or she is an accomplished professional, honest, who knows his/her stuff, you consider him/her as OK ; if by cons you say to yourself “it’s probably one of those ignorant HR who know nothing about science”, “this interview is intended to corner me” or “that person manages a company of 5000 people, she will talk down to me”, you put him/her in the “not OK” zone.

Stress can trick people’s mind into thinking they are of greater or lesser value than their interlocutor, affecting the turn of a meeting, as soon as its first seconds. If you have ever lined up for hours at a counter of an hospital or a border control, you already experienced this! Back to the topic, all professional recruiters know how to spot signs of irritation, impatience and, of course, lack of confidence. 
Hence the worst would obviously to feel “not OK” and project this feeling onto your interlocutor, which necessarily turns the job interview into a giant trap. Fortunately this is rarely the case!
Anyway, the best way to create the favorable circumstances for this interview, might it lead for a job or not, is to consider that it will take place between two professionals, who both have skills, expectations, issues, projects and love their occupations. Your clarity, your enthusiasm and your ability to listen and to push the exchange forward will be your best ambassadors on the D-day.
So when the assistant comes to pick you up, keep saying to yourself: “I’m OK, he/she’s OK” and things will probably turn out just fine!

Till next time!
This article was originally published on ABG website by Vincent Mignotte, Executive Director at ABG (click here to read it in French)

*********** Bonus Reads ************

. Feeling anxious about ever finding a job after your PhD? You shouldn’t, here’s why (The Thesis Whisperer)

. How to prepare for a job interview” by Liz Ryan (LinkedIn)

. “8 signs you just nailed that job interview(Business Insider)

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