I remember approaching a very fancy looking building for an interview one day and was completely intimidated as I stood and watched a combination of well dressed, seemingly ‘with it’ people glide, stride and march towards the gleaming glass doors, swipping their entry cards along the way, immediately branding themselves as ‘Employed’. This feeling intensified as I sat in the waiting room and I found myself thinking “I can’t possibly work here! I won’t know anything!”.
I assumed that because these people looked a certain way and acted a certain way that I would be completely inferior. Plus I had been unemployed for a few months and my self-esteem wasn’t so hot. Appearances can be deceiving though as I quickly realised they were just people. They had their issues and their hang ups and their quirks, just like me.
When I tried to boil it down as to why I was intimidated I realised it was because of one thing: I was unemployed and they were not. I had put them on a pedestal for no reason at all other than the fact that I wanted a job. And I had forgotten that the very people I was feeling intimidated by were in the exact same position as me X number of days/weeks ago.
Please keep that in mind when you are gearing up to meet new employers, either at an interview or an event at university like a careers expo or employer presentation. Meeting and talking to them isn’t so scary when you remember that they have to put out their washing and vacuum their bedroom as well. Here are a few tips though to help you along the way:
At the careers expo: all it takes to make an impression at the expo is a little bit of time and research, here’s another 5 quick tips to ace career expos. Employers have come to engage with you to get you interested in their company but bear in mind that a variety of people could be at the stand at any given moment. It might be someone from HR, or a new graduate in a particular service line, it could be a senior partner or a manager. They will know some information about some things, but not everything. i.e. the senior partner might sell the company really well but know nothing about the application process. Don’t be put off if they can’t help and don’t be shy to ask who would be best to answer your question. If they aren’t there on the day ask for their contact details
At the employer presentation: just because someone is wearing a suit doesn’t make them any better at networking than you. They may or may not have had a little more practice but they could be just as nervous as you or only want to talk to the people that they know (regardless of what their boss has told them to do!). Keep this in mind when you are trying to connect with them.
At the interview: tell yourself over and over “they like me on paper, I wouldn’t be here if they didn’t”. Employers all know what it’s like to be interviewed and chances are they felt exactly the same way as you do now. Practice the power pose that Amy Cuddy recommends to give you an extra confidence boost and don’t be afraid to admit that you’re nervous – often it helps to get it out in the open! For what it’s worth, at my own interview in that fancy looking building I said those exact words and they laughed (kindly) and that’s all it took to calm me down. Success!