I recently coached a woman who was preparing for an interview the following day. Although her resume made it evident that she did not have a direct customer success background, she had a good experience in the Customer Success Management position she was applying for. She had also included a thoughtful cover letter that explained how her personal experience was highly relevant to the role. Having impressed the first panelist she had moved to the second round.
Yet, she wasn’t confident about this round. I see this all too often. Many people go down a rabbit hole worrying about how they aren’t qualified for a role or how they are going to botch an otherwise perfect job opportunity. This fear has most often been expressed by the women I’ve worked with.
Don’t you think it’s time to stop this self-doubt and reframe your mindset?
Here are some takeaways from our conversation that I hope will help others who are nervous about their own upcoming successful interview.
Don’t be Nervous!
It can be as obvious on Zoom as it is in-person and will hold you back from presenting your best self. (My favorite Ted talk on this subject is by Amy Cuddy and it can be found here. I recommend watching it before that next big meeting … and don’t forget to go to the bathroom and do that power stretch!)
If you find yourself getting nervous, take a few deep breaths and remind yourself that you are here for a reason – people are interested in your skillset and they want to learn more about you. Help them by clearly answering their questions. Often when people are nervous, they will either talk too fast, draw a blank, or repeat themselves. Pause for a moment and reset your mind if you find yourself in this situation. Taking a few moments of silence to think is perfectly alright and most interviewers appreciate the fact.
Mentally walk through the interview in advance and write down the agenda, end goal, and the questions you want to cover, especially if you get only a few minutes at the end of the call. This will make you feel relaxed, help you gain control of the meeting, while also sending a signal to the interviewer that you have come prepared.
Write it Down
The questions should be thoughtful and not about the topics you typically find online. For example, if the company’s mission is published on the website, do not waste your time asking about it. Instead, ask a question related to the mission like how the company’s customer success team is implementing the mission statement in ensuring that its customers are adopting the platform.
Research the Company and Interviewer(s)
As part of the preparation, know who your audience is. This will help you craft your questions and will also help you answer questions with relevant examples that the interviewer can relate to. Google the company and the interviewers. This may seem obvious but you will be surprised at how many people don’t do their homework ahead of the interview. (Crystal is an interesting LinkedIn addon that gives you insights into the person or team that will be interviewing you. Being able to understand who the person is, what they care about, and what they do will help you engage in a meaningful conversation.
You might also consider applying Crystal to your own profile as part of your successful interview preparation. This will give you an idea of how the community perceives you as well. I went through this interesting exercise just recently and I believe Crystal described me quite well). Apart from being interesting it also gives you an upper hand during the interview process.
Lead the Conversation with Confidence
Focus on all the positive skills you bring to the table – NOT why you aren’t the right candidate. The candidate whom I coached started off our conversation by explaining why her background isn’t exactly related to the job. I politely stopped her and asked her to list out the reasons why her experience was relevant. This mind-shift exercise is important each time you find yourself thinking about why you aren’t going to get the job.
Be ready to name the top 3 reasons why they should hire you over everyone else. This exercise forces you to develop confidence and helps you believe in yourself, especially when you are feeling stressed about the upcoming interview. If you have a standing desk or a counter where you can place your computer, stand up during the interview.
Whenever I speak to an audience or teach, I stand up. I find it gives me more energy and helps me focus on the conversation better. Make sure you are looking directly into the camera and at your audience. This shows them you are paying attention. Jot down anything you hear that is important, so you can refer to it later.
Be Ready to Impress
This means testing and feeling comfortable with Zoom or WebEx or GoogleMeet or whatever platform they send you. Download it and get comfortable unmuting yourself and using technology. Have all your lights on, a bright room will radiate positive energy. Logon a few minutes early to make sure there aren’t any issues. I recommend getting dressed up in formal attire, even if you are interviewing online. Be prepared to turn on your camera and smile! Smiling exudes confidence and will immediately make you feel more at ease. If you are going to an interview in person, know where to park, which bus to take, and how long it will take to get there (plan to show up early in case there are any issues along the way.
Preparing for successful interviews with the right mindset, research, and confidence is critical to your success. You did land that interview. You now owe it to yourself to logon or walk into that room and be ready to present your entire self with energy, clear communication, and confidence.
If you need a little extra help with preparing for your next interview, you can book a session with our team here.
Emilia D’Anzica is the founder and CEO of Growth Molecules. She focuses on customer success strategy and team coaching, helping companies build scalable programs and individuals bring out their best.