Set a Tone
The tone of the meeting depends on the personality of the interviewer. He may ask a straight line of professional questions and answers, or be more lighthearted and laid-back. Regardless of the manner of the interviewer, you should always prepare your answers in a very professional way.
One mistake that candidates often make is to prepare for each question by brainstorming the “perfect” answer. They think about the kind of answer the perfect candidate would give and use that. In most of these instances, the job seeker is wasting the company's time.
Trying to project the perfect image can only result in disaster because often the interviewer sees right through it. On the other hand, if the interviewer buys into the candidate's perfect persona, she may be surprised when—once hired—the candidate does not perform as perfectly as expected.
Though you shouldn't highlight your faults to the employer, neither should you pretend to be someone or something you are not. Many career experts think that the best way to set and maintain a professional tone throughout an interview is to create a sort of job interview persona.
Think about the many personal traits a job interviewer would be interested in and be sure to project those characteristics. Which of your traits would make you a strong candidate and set you apart from the rest of the candidates? Think about the many successful people you know or have heard about and the personality traits that make them good leaders. How can you convey to the interviewer that these qualifications are part of your own professional nature?
Lack of self-confidence and the stress it causes will invariably affect your performance in the interview, especially through lack of preparation due to senseless worrying. If you've stumbled over a question and feel your confidence begin to slip, take a deep breath and recompose yourself.
Think of yourself as a calm, cool, and collected individual; be relaxed enough to allow a bit of your personality into the conversation. With any luck, your research has provided you with an understanding of the company's vision. If you can link this vision to your own personal vision for your career, you should make a strong impression on your interviewer.
Remember, however, that in the end you have no control over the outcome of an interview; you do not decide whether or not you get the job. In many cases, you could conduct yourself perfectly throughout the interview and still not get the job. On the other hand, you could feel like you've botched the entire interview and still receive an offer.
Human resources specialists say that the majority of the resumes they receive wind up in the trash basket. When you're invited to an interview, you should be proud of yourself for that achievement alone.
The only thing you do have control over during the interview is what you do and say while you're there. Always keep the following key qualities an interviewer is looking for in the back of your mind and be sure to convey your aptitude in each of them:
Think of these qualities in every answer you give and everything you say, and you should have no problem projecting the image of a confident and competent candidate.