THE BLOG
01/29/2015 06:58 am ET Updated Mar 31, 2015

The Defining Moments Of Every Job Interview

Answer: It's the 30 minutes before it begins!

You have been called in for a job interview and you want to do your best. Are you confident you can convey the qualities and style employers are looking to find? Are you prepared to set yourself apart with the impact of your first impression? Are you ready to make your interviewers sit up and take notice of your winning combination of personality, professionalism and skills savvy?

The success of your job interview depends upon several criteria: how confidently you present yourself, your ability to speak to your strengths and how well you match your skills and experience to the requirements of the position. You must also appear poised, well prepared and enthusiastic about the job, the organization and your plans to contribute to the company's goals. In other words, you need to shine!

The key to being at your best lies in the 30 critical minutes prior to the start of the interview. So when your next interview comes up, get yourself psyched to win with these five success strategies.

#1 Timing is Everything
Plan to reach your destination well ahead of time. There is nothing more stressful than realizing you will be late for this all-important meeting. In fact, you will want to arrive at least a half-hour before your appointed time. Although you'll get there early, do not walk into your interviewer's office prior to 10 minutes before schedule. (Arriving too early might make your interviewer feel pressured. And, knowing that you are sitting there, even become a bit annoyed.) Rather, use this extra time productively; these 30 minutes are key to your performance during the actual interview.

#2 Relax & Refresh
Sit in your car, take a number of deep breaths and relax as much possible. With your eyes closed, envision yourself calmly and confidently conversing with your interviewer and presenting your points with ease. Then, in this relaxed state, take out a copy of your resume and review examples of your past performance that you want to be certain to bring up. Go over them one more time and practice them aloud so that they are fresh in your mind. This additional recitation can prove invaluable, as it will serve as a reminder of your skills as a candidate.

#3 Review and Anticipate
Review the job description once again and anticipate any objections your interviewer(s) may have to hiring you. (Ideally, you've already identified aspects of your experience that may not meet all of the requirements for the position -- those that are likely to come up in the interview.) Practice aloud the ways you can and will overcome these potential roadblocks with examples of how you've handled similar issues in the past.

#4 Focus on the Value You Will Add Ensure your confidence level remains high by focusing on the reasons you will outperform the competition. Spend several minutes reminding yourself of your unique strengths:
  • Why are you the #1 candidate for this job?
  • What can you bring to the position that others cannot?
  • How is your background especially well suited to the demands of the work?
  • In which ways do you plan to make a significant contribution?
#5 Power-Up Your Nonverbal Messages
  • About 10 minutes prior to the interview, head for the nearest restroom and do a last minute check before the mirror. You want to make certain everything is in place and you are looking your best.
  • Spend a couple of minutes and practice your "power posing." (Bathroom stalls make the perfect spot to power pose.) Social psychologist Amy Cuddy studied candidates who practiced power posing (assuming an erect, open, and expansive stance) for two-minutes just prior to a job interview. The results were astounding! Candidates who power posed were perceived as more confident and more competent. They also reduced their levels of cortisol (the body's stress hormone) by 25 percent and increased their level of testosterone by 20 percent.

After you have completed your five success strategies, take one more deep breath, straighten your posture, watch your eye contact and head for the interviewer's door. And, most importantly, remember to smile! You can feel confident in your abilities because you are now well prepared, can speak to your skills and strengths and you're able to articulate your competitive edge with ease. So stand tall and anticipate success -- you truly are ready to ace the interview!

Mary Eileen Williams is a Nationally Board Certified Career Counselor with a Master's Degree in Career Development and twenty years' experience assisting midlife jobseekers to achieve satisfying careers. Her book, Land the Job You Love: 10 Surefire Strategies for Jobseekers Over 50, is a step-by-step guide that shows you how you can turn your age into an advantage and brand yourself for success. Updated in 2014, it's packed with even more critical information aimed at providing mature applicants with the tools they need to gain the edge over the competition and successfully navigate the modern job market. Visit her website at Feisty Side of Fifty.com and celebrate your sassy side!

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