In the last section, we discussed different types of interviews that your unemployed client might experience and how to prepare for them. The four types of interviews we will discuss are telephone, in-person, follow-up, and panel interviews.
In this section we will discuss the "Interview Checklist" which is a checklist you might consider discussing with your client who is preparing to interview for a new job.
It is of course anxiety producing for your client to go in to an interview after they have not had to experience the interview process in years. While your clients have gone through the process before, it may be helpful to go over some pointers with them to relieve their anxiety.
When Dana, who was mentioned in a previous track, received an invitation to interview for a new position, she told me, "The last time I interviewed was 10 years ago for the job I just got fired from." Dana found it helpful to walk through the process to prepare for her interview with a new job at a different company.
Below is a checklist we discussed in her preparation. These items are broken down based on time relative to the interview (before, during, and after). Could these checklist items be helpful for your clients who will be going through the interview process?
Morning of the Interview:
Here are four tasks that your client can do the morning of their interview to help them relax and prepare for their interview. I shared these four tasks with Dana and she stated that following them during her next interview helped ease her anxiety.
1. Use relaxation techniques that have worked for you in the past, like deep breathing.
2. Go through your checklist of items you need to bring to the interview, for example resume, notepad, pen, and iPad containing work samples.
3. Make sure to wear interview appropriate clothing. I stated to Dana, "If possible, the night before you can pick out your clothing and press whatever needs to be pressed." Your client's cultural diversity and level of employment needs to be considered. Clearly it is not appropriate to coach all clients to wear black suits and white shirts or blouses.
4. Give yourself enough time to get to the interview. I stated to Dana, "If you are able to drive to the location a day or two beforehand it could ease your anxiety."
I find it important to tell my clients, "You never get a second change to make a first impression; and showing up late to an interview can create irreversable damage. Unfortunately I have found clients showing up late to interviews happens more often then I would like. Does your client have a reliable alarm clock? Since the interview process is stressful, he or she may be avoidant about the interview and subconciously sabatoge themsef by showing up late.
While Waiting for the Interview:
When your client has arrived for their interview, below are eight items to keep in mind to create a positive impression.
1. If you get a ride to the interview, do not bring the person who provided transportation into the building to sit with you. I stated to Dana,
2. While you are waiting and during the interview, of course, do not smoke, eat, or chew gum.
3. Leave your sunglasses in your car or in your purse or pocket.
4. If you need to apply makeup or comb your hair, use the restroom not out in the waiting room.
5. Make a good first impression with everyone you meet including the receptionist.
6. Do not make calls until after your interview and do not use your phone unless during the interview you are asked about information or references that you need to access your phone to obtain.
7. Instead of nervously sitting, read any company literature that is in the waiting room or go over any research notes you have created.
8. Do not be upset if the interviewer is running late. I stated to Dana, "If this happens, just remain calm and continue brushing up on your research notes. Just keep in mind that some employers use this as an interview strategy to see how well you handle delays."
During the Interview:
As a review from the previous track, I stated, "Body language during the interview is important." Here are six body language and behavior tips to help your client, as well as their interviewer, be more comfortable during the interview. Would it be beneficial to role play the following with your client:
1. Sit up and lean slightly forward in your chair.
2. Stay aware of your interviewer’s body language.
3. Show you are interested by genuinely nodding or making other positive gestures.
4. Don’t wear perfume or cologne that carries too strong an odor.
5. If the interview is interrupted, offer to step out of the room if they need privacy.
6. If your interview is by phone, consider setting yourself up near a mirror so you can monitor your facial expressions. However, evaluate if using a mirror might disrupt your client's focus.
I stated to Dana, "There are also a few body language moves that will show your interviewer that you are not interested or are off-putting. These types of body languages should be avoided during your interview." These are the seven body languages to avoid that I shared with Dana. Evaluate the level of insightfulness your client has and whether mentioning these might backfire and the list of the above positives should be the only ones introduced into this session.
1. Avoid rubbing the back of your head or neck
2. Avoid rubbing or touching your nose. I stated to Dana, "Your interviewer may see this as dishonest or gross."
3. Avoid folding your arms across your chest. I stated to Dana, "This may come across as unfriendly".
4. Avoid crossing and shaking your leg. I stated, "This foot flipping can be distracting for your interviewer and may give them the idea that you are nervous."
5. Avoid leaning your body toward the door. I stated to Dana, "This may make your interviewer feel like you want to leave".
6. Avoid slouching in your seat. I stated to Dana, "This body language may indicate to your interviewer that you are bored or disinterested in the conversation."
7. Avoid distancing yourself from the conversation by staring blankly.
One thing that can be uncomfortable for your client to talk about is their unemployment. Dana shared with me, "I don’t know how to talk about my unemployment in a positive way. I don’t want them to get a bad impression of me because I am critical of my past work experience." I stated, "Be honest but do not talk negatively about your employer or the business. If the interviewer asks about negatives about the company, turn a negative you experienced into a positive by giving an example of ways in which you have gone about correcting the problem and working environment for everyone."
Do you have an unemployed client like Dana whose anxiety related to interviewing could be lessened from going over the above interview checklist?
In this section we went over the "Interview Checklist" which is a checklist you can go over with your client who is preparing to interview for a new job. For the morning of the interview, you can encourage your client to use relaxation techniques, go through checklist items, pick out appropriate interview attire, and allow enough time to get to the interview.
While waiting for the interview, encourage your client to not bring in another person; do not smoke, eat, or chew gum; leave sunglasses in the car or in a purse or pocket; apply makeup or comb hair in the restroom and not the waiting room; make a good first impression with everyone; do not make calls; read company literature while waiting; and remain calm if the interviewer is running late. In this section we also talked about appropriate body language during an interview.
Six examples of body language and behavior that your client can use during his or her interview are: Sit up and lean slightly forward in your chair; Stay aware of your interviewer’s body language and try to mirror their body language during the interview; Show you are interested by nodding or making other positive gestures; Don’t wear anything like perfume or cologne that carries too strong an odor; If the interview is interrupted, offer to step out of the room if they need privacy; If your interview is by phone, set yourself up near a mirror so you can monitor your facial expressions and if you stand during a phone interview, it could help you remain focused and engaged.
In contrast, the seven examples of body language that your client should avoid during their interview that you can share are rubbing the back of your head or neck; rubbing or touching your nose; fold your arms across your chest; crossing your legs and shaking your leg; leaning your body toward the door; slouch in your seat; and distancing yourself from the conversation though staring blankly
In the next section, we will discuss how your client can overcome their fear of the job market. We will discuss six tips your client can use to managing his or her fear when it comes to the job market.
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Cuddy, A. J. C., Wilmuth, C. A., Yap, A. J., & Carney, D. R. (2015). Preparatory power posing affects nonverbal presence and job interview performance. Journal of Applied Psychology, 100(4), 1286–1295.
Powell, D. M., Stanley, D. J., & Brown, K. N. (2018). Meta-analysis of the relation between interview anxiety and interview performance. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science / Revue canadienne des sciences du comportement, 50(4), 195–207.
Schmidt, B., Warns, L., Hellmer, M., Ulrich, N., & Hewig, J. (2018). What makes us feel good or bad: Mood induction and individual differences in a job interview setting. Journal of Individual Differences, 39(3), 142–150.
What are the six examples of body language and behavior that your clients can use to make themselves and their interviewer more comfortable during their interview?
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