The day before a big interview, many job seekers find themselves running through a list of fears in their heads, evaluating all the ways things could go wrong. But a job interview doesn’t have to be such a scary endeavor. In fact, there are several aspects of an interview that many job seekers tend to worry about unnecessarily.
Here are four things not to worry about during a job interview:
1. Your GPA. This is something many college students stress over, but the fact is, most hiring managers are more concerned with your skills, experience, and competence than this number. Although a good GPA can certainly indicate stellar academic performance and dedication, don’t worry if yours isn’t as high as you would have hoped. Seriously, I’ve been on a lot of interviews over the years—more than I care to admit—and I’ve never once been asked about my GPA.
Employers are more concerned with your experience and skills than your GPA. In fact, you don’t even have to put it on your resume—if it’s not in your best interest, just leave it out.
2. Predicting what questions will be asked. So many job seekers attempt to identify exactly what questions the hiring manager may ask, but this is a poisonous thought process that only leads to more stress. While I obviously strongly encourage you to practice and be prepared, there’s just no way to predict the direction an interview might take.
Instead of trying to uncover what you may be asked, remind yourself you’re a competent individual with plenty of past experience to draw from to answer any question that might come your way. As long as you can communicate effectively and have a great attitude, you’ll make an excellent impression no matter what.
3. Stumbling over an answer. Don’t worry if you need to take time to think out an answer. Just say something like, “Good question! I just need a moment to think about that,” and take a second to take a deep breath and collect your thoughts. The hiring manager will appreciate a well-thought out answer over one that seems rushed just for the sake of being quick.
Speaking of stumbling… let’s say you’re worried about actually botching an answer once you’re finally able to form words. The world isn’t going to end. At that point, you’d either correct yourself right then and there or in your follow-up note. No biggie, so don’t sweat this scenario before the interview even begins.
4. Not being 100 percent qualified. You wouldn’t have made it to the interview part of the hiring process if you didn’t look good on paper. Do you have competition for the position? Absolutely, and in some cases probably fairly stiff competition. But thinking about everyone else will drive you mad. Instead, know (and be able to coherently talk about) exactly what you bring to the table and how those skills and characteristics would benefit the company. That’s really all you can do.
When it comes down to it, a job interview doesn’t have to be a scary process. Worrying about these elements will just distract you from portraying yourself as the bright, intelligent, hard-working individual you really are. So take a deep breath, relax—and good luck!