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Interview Anxiety: How to Stop Being Afraid and Start Going to Interviews

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Imagine this: you've graduated from CodeGym, and even written a program for your friends, but you haven't worked on a commercial project yet. Job openings in the IT market are looking for junior developers with at least a year or a year and a half of work experience. And this requirement stops you from sending out your resume. Olga, HR Manager at CodeGym, says being afraid of rejection is pointless. We asked Olga about how to overcome irrational anxiety at your first interviews. She gave us some tips on how to present yourself in an interview.Interview anxiety: how to stop being afraid and start going to interviews - 1

Stop being afraid of your lack of experience

This is trivial yet effective advice. Absolutely everybody starts their careers at the very beginning. Some people manage to overcome their newbie status and realize their full potential, while others, paralyzed by their fears and weaknesses, languish at the same level or achieve far less than what they dream of. You must understand that someone entering a new professional field cannot know everything. At any age, a person can retrain and end up at the very bottom of the career ladder. Only a few are lucky enough to be given a job by an acquaintance. 99% of applicants are rejected multiple times due to lack of experience. It's important to be honest with yourself and answer this question: "Did I do everything I could to get the job? What does a junior developer need to know to get the job?"

Monitor basic job requirements in the market

You can monitor the basic requirements for the IT market and at certain companies where you want to get a job. The end result of your training should be complete satisfaction with your level of knowledge. If you realize that you don't fully meet the job requirements, you should try to get closer to them and then go for an interview. But I don't recommend delaying for a long time the moment when you start going to interviews, because you will always be capable of improving.

Show that you are self-motivated

A candidate may have a great CV, and he may have the required hard and soft skills, but he may not demonstrate motivation to work at the company, or his motivation may not coincide with the company's goals. This might not work in the applicant's favor. People are motivated to work for various reasons: for some, salary is paramount; for some, realizing their inner potential is most important; for others, it's being part of a team; for still others, their job is just a stepping stone to achieving an ultimate goal. You ought to analyze the company where you are going for an interview and adapt the presentation of your motivation accordingly. Before you express what motivates you, figure out what your interviewer would like to hear. If you're interviewing at a startup or medium-sized company and say, "I need this job to make my first million," the company cannot offer you that. That sort of motivation will probably work against the applicant. In this case, you're better off talking about the fact that you have an interest in developing and launching projects from scratch.

Demonstrate professional activity

In your interview, tell them about how you are actively studying new technologies. For example, you might tell this story: you've learned Java, are mastering frameworks, and are now studying additional technologies that will help you develop more complex and interesting projects in the future. This shows that you see your future in software development and will eagerly develop the relevant knowledge and skills. It's important to show off any experience you have, even work on a non-profit project. You can mention pro-bono projects, internships, and any trainings you've completed.

Learn a little more about the company you are interviewing

Almost always, the folks making hiring decisions prefer candidates who explicitly state why they are interested in that specific job opening at that specific company. You can explain why you are interested in the company and the position not only in the terms of the tasks you will be doing, but also in a more global sense, for example, in regards to the company's social responsibility commitment. I recommend that you study information about the company and tie your motivation in applying for the job to what the company is trying to achieve.

Be honest

If you have completed the course and have not worked anywhere before, but you want to appear cool and experienced, you're going to stumble. Your experience will be verified during the technical interview and during your subsequent employment. If you talk about skills you don't have, you are doing yourself a disservice. And people are inclined to like others who are honest. If you realize that your knowledge is lacking, it is better to shift the focus from that shortcoming to how you are eager to learn and grow in the new job.

Do a practice interview

You can ask a friend, wife, or husband to do a practice interview for you to practice responding to questions and fight your fear of interviews. They can ask general questions regarding the first phase of the interview with HR. It's also a good idea to find an experienced developer to test your technical knowledge. The more experience you have in answering difficult questions, the more confident you will feel in an interview.

But what if you send out your resume and are not invited for an interview?

First, check the resume itself — look for errors, assess the format (how readable it is). Remember that the perfect resume is concise, informative, and on-topic. It's super cool to tweak your resume for every new vacancy you apply for, if there are slightly different job requirements. A relevant resume is 90% of success. Don't forget to indicate your correct phone number, email address, and links on social networks. Second, sometimes (if you are really interested in a job opening and you know you meet all the requirements) you can and even should contact a recruiter via chat or a phone call to make sure that your resume was received. Doing this shows your interest, and you ensure that your resume ended up in the right hands. And if your resume was rejected, you can ask for feedback. Believe me, resumes are channeled into the spam folder quite frequently, and with a large inflow of applications across multiple job openings, recruiters can easily miss your CV. Third, pay attention to your salary expectations and those specified in the job posting. If you include this information in your resume, it may hurt you. For example, if a job offers a salary of $5000, but your resume states that you want $10,000, then it is very likely that you will not be contacted to continue the dialogue. In general, try to assess yourself objectively. Fourth, if your skill set matches 95% of the requested skills, then don't fail to mention that you can master the other 5% required for the job, or that you have already had some fleeting interaction with them. The important thing is to say it. Fifth, don't vanish — check your email and LinkedIn regularly. If you get a reply and are asked to perform a test task or provide clarifying information about your resume, try to respond in a timely manner. The competition among would-be junior developers is intense, and good fortune usually smiles on the most nimble candidates. Don't be discouraged and don't panic! Rejections are normal. We get into the companies that we should get into. Nothing happens by accident. Any protracted period taken to find a job can be simultaneously spent on training and practice, playing sports, and recharging yourself emotionally. Chat with any junior and senior developers you know. Find out how their job searches are going or what cool life hacks they have discovered. Perhaps someone will recommend you at the company where they work. In general, take action.Interview Anxiety: How to Stop Being Afraid and Start Going to Interviews - 2
Comments (1)
Jonaskinny Level 25, Redondo Beach, United States
24 February 2022
Just taking action is excellent advice, sometimes that's all it takes for new folks to realize they are good enough for a junior slot at a company with a supportive culture. Some of the best programmers are also their own toughest critics. Also, don't underestimate the importance of culture in finding an employer. It should be a two-way street on the interview, so make sure they are a company you actively want to work for, and both you and the companies you choose to apply to will benefit from this approach.