Its okay… to be scared of interviews

Feeling that job interview anxiety? Scared that you are just going to fall apart? Well, lets embrace it and do something about it.

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I can not think of one interview where I haven’t felt like I was going to throw up. It niggles for days. I have even had nightmares where I woke up screaming ‘I meant to wear trousers, I’m so sorry… I don’t know why I’m in a wedding dress!’. The boyfriend found that one hilarious.

And it does not seem to matter what the jobs for, from bar work to dream job. I am Megan and I have a phobia of job interviews. There I said it.

The CV is my fail safe. I am good at them. I can design them in detail to the job I am applying for. I can spend hours on them. Get feedback from others on them. But the job interview- well that ones just down to 30-60 minutes of me and whatever falls out of my mouth.

I have had my fair share of interviews over the years. From the phone interview to the coffee shop ‘informal chat’. Five panel strong interviews to the ‘our receptionist is going to interview you’ interview (yes this happened). But there all the same in the end.

So over time, I have put together a little list to prepare. And it goes something like this:

Outfit:

This has everything to do with supporting me and nothing to do with actually looking professional (although obviously this matters.) I choose/buy an outfit that I am happy with and have stood in front of the mirror with for at least a few hours…. and then I hang it up on the outside of my wardrobe and that is where it stays for at least a couple of days before the big event. It reminds me that one thing is done and I don’t have to worry about it. On the morning of the event, I put it on and keep it on. No stressing. It was fine 3 days ago, its fine now.

Route:

Where the hell is this place? Down to the bloody room. I once had an interview in a hotel… situated in a district… of hotels… all owned by Mercure Group. Nightmare. If you have enough time ahead of the interview, walk the route, practice the bus stops, find the car park. Or at least walk it on Google street maps. Just know where you are going. And do not trust taxi drivers. They do not know everywhere!

Hear a voice:

I am all for email communications as you are unlikely to get the wrong address like you would writing it down during a phone call. Having said that, I have found that just to help peel my stress down from the ceiling, its nice to the hear the voice of a representative of the company before attending the interview. Whether its the actual interviewee, someone from HR or just the receptionist, build a rapport before you’ve even stepping into the building. Any excuse from double checking the address, whether you need to bring anything, parking… from here you can show your warmness and enthusiasm with a ‘Lovely, thank you very much. I’m really looking forward to the interview…’. In the past, I had a receptionist practically crossing every finger and toe for me as she remembered our nice phone call the day before. It meant they were not a robotic function but just other people like me.

Water Water Water:

Take your own bottle or ask for a glass. I once attended an interview where they expected very detailed answers and had lots of follow up questions. By the final 10 minutes of the interview I had a ridiculously dry mouth and could hardly speak for coughing.

MANTRA: STOP/THINK/THEN SPEAK

Do your research/Don’t worry if you don’t know everything:

You are never going to second guess what they are going to ask you but just taking an interest in the companies history, website, projects, success etc- it does shine through in an interview. On the back of this, you are not going to know everything! If you are worried about not being able to answer their questions clearly, stop/think/thenspeak. Nobody is expecting rapid fire answers. And there is nothing wrong with saying ‘Sorry, can you explain that a little further/give me an example?’

It does end:

One of truest things that gets me through a lot in life, whether that may be a tattoo, a boring meeting, an embarrassing doctors appointment OR an interview…. they do end.

What could happen?:

Something that my Mum has got me into that really works when dealing with anxiety before an interview. I write down the worst things that could happen and then what I could potentially do about them:

What if I miss my train to the interview? – TAXI! Or possibly plan on just being ridiculously early? Ring ahead and at least let them know. It actually happens a lot more often than you think.

What if I spill coffee on my shirt on the way in? – Extra shirt in my bag (planned head of course), ice breaker for the interview? Don’t take my jacket off?

What if the interviewer is an absolute dick?- Just do my best? Complain after? Hope I don’t get the job so I don’t have to work with such an idiot?

What if they ask me what my weaknesses are?- Plan Plan Plan answer/Tell them that’s an outdated, overused, pointless question? (Maybe not that last one)

Everything I am saying is helpful for you to excel in the interview obviously. But if you do all these things, they are actually going to help your anxiety. Because if you have done all of them, what is there to worry about? I treat my interviews like I am talking to friends of friends. They want to know a little about you, you want to know a little about them. You are both looking for a match in interest. And if its not there? It wasn’t meant to be.

Have you got any tips for getting over those pre-interview jitters? Please comment below and share with is 🙂

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