Many years ago, when interviewing for an analyst position at a consulting firm, I was directed to wait in the reception area before the interview, only to find three other people who were clearly there to interview for the same job. One woman was nervously flipping through index cards trying to memorize her talking points – likely facts and figures she was planning to recite to demonstrate her knowledge of the firm. There was only one male candidate. He shifted around in his chair like he had eaten too many beans for lunch. The other woman sat straight in her chair, calm. I picked up a newspaper from the coffee table and sat back in the chair trying to appear confidant.
The latter two of us got offered a job, as I suspected we would. Maybe we were more experienced – who knows – but we were likely offered a position, in part, because we seemed comfortable in our environment. By the time you have an interview, the potential employer has probably decided you are capable of doing the job. The interview is an opportunity to determine if you fit in and if you really want the job for what the job is, not due to lack of other options.
So without dismissing the anxiety surrounding finding work in a down economy, relax; calm and confidence may be the biggest distinguishing factors in an interview that get you the job.