Banish interview jitters

You're preparing for a job interview. You're nervous. Of course you are. You'd be a fool not to be.

Whether angling for a job or a promotion, you're going to be on the hot seat and you want to make the best impression possible.

Some interesting research conducted at the University of Western Ontario suggests that men would be wise to prepare for the interview like women.

How's that?

Justin Feeney, a doctoral candidate in industrial organisational psychology, says women are more likely to be rated highly in interviews because of coping mechanisms they tend to use before the interview.

Feeney and two fellow researchers have completed two rounds of studies that tracked pre-interview anxiety and then actual interview performance, as rated by real-life interviewers.

The first study had a sample size of 276, the second 145.

Overall, the women expressed more worries, but then they tended to do something about it.

"They read books on interviewing, they did mock interviews, they got encouragement from their friends, so they went into the interview with higher confidence," Feeney said in a telephone interview.

In contrast, men tended to downplay how much they cared about the interview and made light of it with their friends, "and as a result, they did worse in interview performance," he said.

The Society for Industrial and Organisational Psychology is interested in the results of the Western Ontario research and may publish more information about it.

If the findings indicate that pre-interview "social support" is as important as job-specific preparation, that could influence advice that career consultants give to job hunters and how mentors structure their coaching of candidates for promotion inside an organisation.

Bottom line: To calm pre-interview jitters, talk about the interview and practice. You'll do better — male or female.