A common fear is the dreaded job interview. While there’s a lot of help out there on how to overcome this fear, fear still paralyzes some people from even applying for better jobs than they have. As you’ve found this post, maybe I can help you put this fear in its place a little, and increase your self-confidence in the process. Reading certainly won’t hurt.
Whether you are shy, introverted, nervous, unsure of yourself or any combination of these, you’re still deserving of a job that brings you satisfaction from the work you perform. Whether it’s a desire for a happier workplace, more income and benefits, a new challenge or just a desire for a fresh start, I suspect something has you wanting more.
Here’s a question for you: If you could send a company your resume, have them call your references, and then offer you a job bypassing the interview, would you be applying for jobs in the next day or two? If the answer is yes, than it’s important for you to realize that it is primarily or only your fear of the job interview that’s holding you back. By overcoming this fear, you’re on your way to the job you want.
First of all, it’s okay to be anxious even thinking about it. Take a few deep breaths. You’ll overcome your extreme anxiety in time, not immediately so give yourself permission to feel the way you do. Let’s look at getting a new job this way. You see an ad for a job so the employer has a need for someone. You want to explore the possibility of working there, so you start by finding out what you can about the company and the job. There’s a job description on their website maybe, and information about the organization. Good start.
If you look at the job posting, you’ll likely see the skills and qualifications the employer is looking for in the person they would like to hire. Do you have most or all of those skills and qualifications? If you do, feel good about that. Recognize right away that you’ve got what they say they want, because that’s important for your self-confidence as you think about speaking with them.
Here’s a very important thing to realize. Questions interviewers are likely to ask you are going to be centered on those very same skills and qualifications. So if you are going for a job as an Accountant, you’ll likely be asked questions related to your experience using specific accounting software the company uses. Going for a job as a Receptionist, you’d get questions asking about your experience providing good customer service and greeting people on the phone or in person.
One good thing to do is to think about your current and past jobs, and come up with a specific time when you provided great customer service or in the case of the Accountant, perhaps your track record of being audited at year-end and passing with flying colours. In other words, you can anticipate and make good guesses about the questions you’ll likely be asked, long before you sit down with someone from the company at an interview.
Let’s say the interviewer asks you to share a weakness. Have you considered saying that while you are a really good Accountant or Receptionist, you find job interviews are very stressful? While you might be worried that you are showing them a flaw and your chances are zero now, most of the time, that’s not what happens. The interviewer wants to picture you as an employee. So if you don’t tell them this isn’t your usual self, they are left wondering exactly that.
Everyone has one or a few areas that they are not strong in. If job interviews is one of yours, this isn’t going to be an issue once you are hired now is it? No. You’ll have first day nervousness which is normal, you’ll want to fit in and stress a little about that too maybe, but it passes.
Although you get all stressed out about interviews, the very thing you need to do is the very thing you are probably dreading having me suggest; do some practice interviews. Do yourself a favour though and please don’t ask your spouse, family or friend to help you. They may want to help, but they aren’t trained to do this. Get the help of an Employment Counsellor, Career Coach or Job Coach. You can start by calling an employment help centre in your community.
This column isn’t going to transform you or eliminate your fear of the job interview. It is a start though. The biggest hurdle you must overcome to doing well in a future job interview is wanting to improve and making the decision to do something about it. Without doing something, your anxiety will remain, results will likely be the same and your fears will be confirmed. Sadly, then you’ll believe as you do now, that you can’t change – but you can!
A job interview is really just a conversation. Employers are under pressure too. They need someone with your skills and qualifications. You can do that job. What you really want help with is marketing yourself, feeling good about your potential answers to their questions and seeing value in what you’ve accomplished. This is what professionals can help you believe.
You can do this.