“We’d like for you to come in for an interview at 1:00 Tuesday afternoon.”
“Umm are you sure you can’t fit me in on Monday morning?…okay Tuesday at 1:00, thank you for your time.”
Palms sweating…stomach churning…and it’s only Friday. A whole weekend of no sleep (do I still have that bottle of night-time pain relief medicine?), lots of exercise, and maybe a book or two so I don’t have to think about the monster I’m about to face.
Am I the only person who feels like I’ll vomit all over myself when I hear the word “interview”? Is there anyone else out there who would come up with any excuse at all NOT to walk into that office and sit down to answer the same questions that have been already asked time and time again? I’ve read the books. I’ve heard the experts. I know what to do and what not to do when facing that ominous being I dread so much. I know how to dress. I know how to smile. I know what I want to say.
But I can’t do it. I cannot word my answers to where they make sense. In fact, I’ve been told I have no skills whatsoever when it comes to the interview (by an ex-employer!). My very first interview for a teaching position in an elementary school is as follows:
Interviewer: Why do you feel you’ll be a good teacher?
Me: Well, I’ve always loved children. I’ve always had them around me. I even have very young brothers. I love to teach…excuse me is there a water fountain nearby?
Interviewer: We will only be a few moments more. Tell me how you feel about the holistic approach to teaching.
Me: Well, I believe in a curriculum that meets the needs of all children in all levels. I once had a child who couldn’t read and was really good in math so I helped him by giving him word problems which made him enjoy what he was trying to read…ummmm I don’t believe I’m answering your question…could you ask again?
As I drove away from that encounter, I replayed every question and every “right” answer. I was eloquent and thorough, and seemed to be well informed and intelligent.
So, what’s my problem?
That was ten years ago. I still have yet to accomplish a good interview. I’ve had plenty of jobs, but they were all given after I’d proven myself in other ways. I made contacts, showed my skills, and in the actual meeting, it was more like a conversation than an interview. To this day, the thought of sitting in front of a desk with a person who doesn’t know me, asking all kinds of random and sometimes personal questions, makes my stomach queasy!
I am not a speaker. I can write a letter to “boost” myself. I can be extremely confident in written form. This is another way I’ve compensated for my lack of interviewing abilities.
But you know what? Upon discovering that the interviewer is sometimes just as nervous as the interviewee, I realized something. They are just human beings with a need. I’m trying to convince them that I can fulfill that need. If this other individual happens to disagree with me, then I say “Thank You” and try again. Hopefully each time I’m becoming more confident in my abilities and more willing to accept that what this person on the other side of the desk thinks of me is not personal, but it relates to a need. I can’t always know all aspects of this job, and I have to trust that there is, somewhere, a job for me!
Overcoming your fear is not mandatory in finding a job opportunity to match your needs. But there is balance, and as the old cliché states: “We fear what we do not know”. Learn to compensate for your weak spots by finding your strengths, and realize that someday soon you could be the one on the other side of that desk, trying to fill a need.Why You Should Go to the Interview Even if You Do Not Want To by Granted Contributor