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Seven Steps to Ace the Interview

By Brandi Haven

There is no doubt about it: Interviews are nerve-racking! 
 Sweaty palms, increased heart rate, upset stomach, forgetfulness, and negative thoughts are all common symptoms of nervousness, especially before a big interview.  How do you overcome these?  I am sorry to say, there really isn’t a surefire way to get rid of those nerves completely, but I do have a few tips for alleviating some of the anxiety in preparing for the big day.

Business Handshake

First of all, remind yourself that employers anticipate the interviewee to be nervous, and they don’t expect you to have the right answer to every question. But they are going to be selfish and dig around to make sure you will be the right candidate for their culture and clientele.  It is important to go into the interview knowing and understanding that fact because you will only get one shot at making that first impression.

Your goal is to convince the employer that you are the right one for the job.  It is not bragging.  It is being confident in your skills and capabilities.  You must go into an interview looking at it from their perspective.  What can you offer them?  What will you do for their business? 

Stop thinking about why you want the job, why you need the job, and what the job will do for your future. Instead, try to focus on your strengths and how that can help the organization succeed.  Stand out from the crowd and give the employer what they want.

Here are seven simple steps to stand out, give your nerves a rest, and completely ace that upcoming interview:

  1. Due Diligence:  Do your research!  Never go into an interview blind and do not rely upon what others have to say about the organization.  Find out as much about the company as you can.  Then, match your skills to the mission and values of the company.  When speaking about your skills or past experience, relate it back to the company and how it will benefit them to have you on board.
  2. Attire:  Dress to impress:  Look sharp, act sharp, be sharp!
  3. Arrival:  Five minutes early is 10 minutes late.  Plan to be at the interview at least 15 minutes early; this will give you the opportunity to fill out any necessary paperwork, relax, and observe the organizational culture.
  4. Enthusiasm:  Show the employer a genuine and sincere interest in the position.
  5. Body Language:  Eye contact.  No fidgeting.  Sit confidently.
  6. Ask Questions:  Never ask about money or benefits, and keep the questions professional.  I recommend asking three to five questions that you prepared prior to the interview.
  7. Be Confident:  Remind yourself that the employer was impressed enough by your resume and saw something that made them think that you would be a good fit for the position.

Lastly, remember that out of multiple resumes received, YOU were part of the handful picked for an interview.  Your resume stood out from the rest; now it is time for you to stand out as a professional.

Best of luck!

As a Career Services Advisor at Bryan University, Brandi Haven works with students and graduates to set goals, reach goals, and succeed in their careers.  Having worked in multiple facets of the healthcare industry and higher education, Brandi strives to empower students to effectively advance their careers and their education within their chosen industry.  Brandi is a registered medical assistant, holds a bachelor’s degree in healthcare administration/management and will complete her master’s degree in healthcare administration/education in 2014. She may be contacted via email at

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