Everyone gets a little nervous before a job interview. That's natural. But you need not go in with sweaty palms if you go prepared. Below are some useful techniques that will help you present yourself as the competent professional that you are to a prospective employer.
- Schedule interviews in ascending order of appeal and importance whenever possible. Your performance in interview situations will improve with practice and evaluation, and you can use that to your advantage.
- Keep a record of details of your upcoming interviews, including the time, location, the name of the interviewer, and how to pronounce the name of the company and the person who will be interviewing you correctly. If the interview is in another city, note any travel expenses that will be met by the prospective employer. Never cancel an interview appointment unless you have a personal emergency.
- Research the operation you plan to visit. Try to find out about its history and philosophy, as well as names and titles of decision-makers you should meet.
- Make a list of questions to ask about the company, the golf course and the job itself. Interviews serve a dual purpose: While the employer learns about you, you gather information to help you decide whether this is the right job for you.
- If possible, arrange to arrive early enough to walk the course before the interview. That may make it easier to give relevant examples and demonstrate your interest in the course.
- Get used to talking about what your current job entails. Practice enough -- and preferably with someone who can provide constructive criticism -- so that your communication is logical and orderly.
- Anticipate general questions about your training, your reasons for choosing this profession, why you are interested in this job, and so on.
- Prepare for hard questions, including why you left/lost your last job. Script a confident and truthful answer that shows you in the best possible light. It helps if you and your former employer agreed on an "exit statement" -- a brief and positive description of the reason(s) for leaving your previous job. Some possible wording:
- a change in senior management
- abolishment of your job
- an improper match between you and the position you were hired for
- blocked professional growth
- a desire for a career change
- or a wish to relocate
- Dress professionally. Don't underdress. Men should at least wear a sports coat, tie and slacks. Women should wear a conservative dress or jacket/skirt combination. Employers assume you will never dress better than you do for an interview.
- Take several copies of your short- and long-version résumés and a separate typed list of references. For yourself, take another copy of each version of your résumé, your research notes, previous correspondence and the list of questions you intend to ask. Review them all beforehand, especially your résumé. The person interviewing you will, so don't put yourself in the embarrassing position of stumbling over an answer that's right there in black and white.
- Arrive a few minutes early and double-check your appearance to make sure you are neat and well-groomed. Note the names of receptionists, secretaries and assistants for your follow-up activities. Review company materials such as brochures and newsletters, and pay attention to the appearance and behavior of the people who work there. These observations will give you a sense of the organization's "culture" and important clues as to what the interviewer is looking for.
- Take a few deep breaths to help ease your nervousness. Many top athletes and successful business people say affirmation and visualization techniques work for them. Remind yourself that you are capable and qualified for the position, and picture yourself answering questions calmly, intelligently and confidently.