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To beg you all for some interview help?

(31 Posts)
FlameGrilled Thu 02-Jun-16 10:25:36

I know iabu to post this here but I'm really hoping someone might be able to give me some advice please?

I've managed to secure an interview for a job similar to what I'm doing now. My current job is ending soon as it's fixed term and posts are quite rare in this field (mostly I have applied for funding rather than interviewing for posts). The job I'm interviewing for also pays more than the industry average which is adding to my anxiety.

I've never been good at interviews, I get so worked up and anxious, I stutter and forget what I wanted to say and sometimes the questions. This is worse the more I want the job. I'm feeling anxious just typing this blush. I'm confident I can do the job but I'm terrified of the interview. The last job I interviewed for involved a presentation which I ballsed up spectacularly and it's still vivid in my memory - I didn't get the job. This job has some kind of pre interview task but I don't know what that is.

So, how do you prepare well for an interview? What sort of things should I be thinking about? How do you control nerves and anxiety?

The other thing is I'm not sure what to wear. I always wear suits to interviews but I don't currently have one that fits. Should I definitely wear one? If so I will go and buy one today.

I'd be ever so grateful if anyone can give me some words of wisdom. TIA flowers.

PamelaPatricia Thu 02-Jun-16 10:43:04

Congratulations on securing an interview. Already you have proved that you have a lot to offer.

Make sure you have considered questions they will ask and how you would respond. You know this stuff so going through hypothetical scenarios reminds you of what you do know. And if there are gaps in your knowledge or answers that you know could be better - maybe you waffle or genuinely don't know what the interviewer wants to know - take time to find out the answers or practise your phrasing.

I think a suit looks good but also feels good. When I am suited and booted I feel more confident and I project that. In turn, people respond positively to me.

Before interviews (and exams), I always make a playlist of songs that will encourage and empower me. They are generally upbeat and remind me that (on my best day) I can achieve what is required of me. 'Because we can can can' by Fatboy Slim (from 'Moulin Rouge') is a particular favourite of mine.

Good luck flowers

PamelaPatricia Thu 02-Jun-16 10:46:57

Just wanted to add, YANBU to ask for help. This is important to you and you deserve to give it your best shot. Focus on your strengths and remember that you have already impressed them enough to be invited to interview. When at the interview only focus on your performance and not on others' (if others are interviewed at the same time). Just try to enjoy it smile

AnnaMarlowe Thu 02-Jun-16 10:51:51

A fantastic dress would be fine these days but if you would feel more confident in a suit buy one.

Write out your 'STARs' (situation, task, action, results) think of some difficult situations that you've dealt with and how you resolved them.

Think of key achievements/projects/tasks you've undertaken and write out brief stars for them.

Think of the actual interview a bit like acting in a play. You are playing the best version of you. It doesn't matter if you are nervous - fake it!

Big smile really helps. If you can tell yourself you are going to get the job in as confident a voice as you can muster. smile

Practice- get someone to ask you questions or google questions and answer them in the mirror.

MonkeyPJs Thu 02-Jun-16 10:52:02

My top tip is to go through the job description, and write down 2 examples you have of each of the competencies from your experience in the work force - one, then a backup in case the question you are asked doesn't quite fit. Most interviews are competency based these days (in my field at least!) so that should cover you for much of the interview. Since doing this my hit rate for getting jobs has gone up considerably.

I always think of answers to the following Q's as well: Why do you want to work here? What is a good e.g. of you working in a team? Tell me about a time you've had to deal with a difficult situation, what did you do about it and what was the result?

Re the suit, you need to feel comfortable in whatever you are wearing. Once I wore a suit jacket that was a bit tight and was so nervous about a button popping I felt self conscious and distracted, and am sure that was one of the reasons I didn't get the job offer I wanted afterward.

BadLad Thu 02-Jun-16 10:58:42

Plan some questions to ask them at the end. Look at the company website to make sure your questions aren't answered on it.

Disinterested Thu 02-Jun-16 11:00:46

Congratulations on getting an interview, they have obviously seen something in you that they like and you should keep this in mind before your interview.

I am also not a good interviewee. I tend to stutter and forget my answers, so I don't have much advice to give, but please consider the fact that the interview may also be nervous and they are only human - so if you feel overwhelmed with nerves, just take a breath and say "I'm sorry, I am a little nervous" (they usually appreciate the honesty!). Also, if they offer a drink, don't do the British thing of politely declining it as it may save your bacon if you get the nervous dry mouth.

Best of luck for your interview, I'm sure you'll do a lot better than you are currently anticipating.

hellsbellsmelons Thu 02-Jun-16 11:01:03

Make sure you research the company.
Have lots of questions typed out or written down to ask.
I have a list of questions that I revise and adjust for an interview:-

Why did the previous job holder leave?

What are the training and development opportunities?

What is the career progression potential at your business?

What is the company culture at the business?

What is your personal management style?

How do you plan to deal with changes in the market?

How do your employees wind down?

Why has the position become available?
What obstacles does the organisation anticipate in meeting its goals?
What challenges will I face?
What are the plans for the department, i.e. growth?
If growing, where is this growth coming from?
What is the most pressing directive for the new position? (1st thing I will have to deal with)
What is your background and how have you progressed within the company?
What is your position within the team?
What training will be given/provided?
Is there somebody already doing this job and will I get to spend time with them?
What would a day/week on the job look like?
What value will I add?
What strengths are you looking for in the person that will fill this position?
How much decision making authority will I have?
What resources are available to this position to achieve primary goals?
If I am successful what will I have accomplished after 3 months / 1 year, i.e. development path?
How much travel is involved during an average month?
Now you’ve had the chance to get to know me, do you have any concerns about my ability to do the job?
Can we discuss them and see if they can be overcome?

TheWordOfBagheera Thu 02-Jun-16 11:04:07

Some good advice from previous posters, the smiling is nice and simple but effective.

I'd also add:

Imagine that's it's you interviewing them to see if you want the job, it can make you feel more confident.

Have some questions ready at the end for when they ask you if you have any. Only asking one is fine, but you'll need a couple ready in case they've already answered the one you had stored up.

If you find yourself getting in a muddle because you're nervous, don't panic. Nothing wrong with laughing and saying "sorry, I'm a little nervous, let me start that again".

Mouikey Thu 02-Jun-16 21:18:58

Others have provided brilliant advice... as someone who is often on an interview panel, I would suggest:

* always making eye contact with the person asking the question, but include others on the panel.
* deffo ask questions at the end and make them pertinent (the questions you ask actually can make quite an impression).
* why not write some prompts down when they ask the question - help keep you on track.
* don't overly compensate for your nervousness and not stop talking - know when you have answered the question and stop!!! Very very long interviews aren't always a good thing!
* ask to see where you will sit, give you a bit of an impression of the team/dynamics of the office (although not all places will facilitate this).
* often our organisation asks "why do you want this job?" and "what in your previous work experience can you bring to this role?"
* suits are good, if you don't have one ensure you go smart and not smart casual... first impressions count!
* on that note take a deep breath put a huge smile on your face and make sure you shake the panel members hands!
* know that you know your stuff, and finally the interview is where you get to interview them too... if you get any weird vibes consider whether you would really want to work there!!

Good luck

FlameGrilled Thu 02-Jun-16 21:48:20

Thank you ever so much everyone - that's all been so useful. I've gone and bought myself a new suit so that's sorted.

It's actually a temporary position within the local authority and I'll be doing mostly field work. I've thought of a couple of good questions I think. I'm also making a list of potential questions and making some notes. This kind of work is usually funded project to project so I'm considering taking some examples of things I've done on previous projects. Does that sound like a good idea?

The thing I struggle with is that the questions feel so wide and vague. So taking the challenging situation question, I've obviously got experience of those but not sure how to identify what I actually did to get through them iyswim? My confidence just seems to abandon me when I'm put on the spot!

I will report back tomorrow and let you all know how it went. Thank you all once again for the advice and messages of luck flowers.

MatildaTheCat Thu 02-Jun-16 21:59:55

My ds recently interviewed for a job that I thought he had no chance of getting. I gave him a lot of advice similar to that above. He also went on YouTube and watched some interview technique videos which he found exceedingly useful. He said that every question he had rehearsed came up in the interview.

He got the job.

Good luck.

DunderMifflin Thu 02-Jun-16 22:09:21

With the challenging situation question, I imagine what I ideally would have done in a real situation (actually picture the steps in your head) and describe this. Rehearse the scenario and use lots of 'I' not 'we' in your answer.

This might sound like you're lying but I think that they want to know you have the aptitude to work through a problem and come up with a good solution, you don't actually have to have done it.

I'm preparing for an interview next week and will be doing this!

FlameGrilled Fri 03-Jun-16 15:27:25

Hi everyone, well I've done the interview so thought I'd update. It went ok I think but there were a couple of questions I couldn't answer properly because even though I do the job already, the approach can be so variable and I'm not even aware of separate steps I take to do certain things. They said they've got loads of interviews for the role unsurprisingly so I don't think I've got it but keeping my fingers crossed all the same. I feel a bit deflated and kicking myself for letting nerves get the better of me.

Thanks again for all your advice. It's definitely something I'll keep in mind for future interviews flowers.

mum2Bomg Fri 03-Jun-16 15:39:12

There's a killer question I always ask at the end of an interview, but it's ballsy. It's got me (I believe) some amazing jobs with National Broadcasters and international companies. Ready? "Do you have any concerns about my ability to do this job?" If they say no, they're confirming to themselves (and any other interviewers) how they feel. If they say yes then they'll explain what and you have a chance to answer their points. You only have to be on top form for an hour...believe in yourself!

Crinkle77 Fri 03-Jun-16 15:55:19

Watching this thread with interest as I am the same as you. No matter how much I prepare my answers I get in to the interview and my nerves make me go blank. I think sometimes I have over prepared and ended up tying myself in knots and then tried not preparing as much then found myself out of my depth. I have taken notes in, not taken notes in, rehearsed, deep breathing, everything you could think of but nothing seems to work. I have had quite a few interviews in the past couple of years and people keep saying to me that I must be getting good at them now but I still find them traumatic.

FlameGrilled Fri 03-Jun-16 15:59:15

mum, I had a couple of questions already picked out but I momentarily considered asking that question but chickened out. I was so nervous that I was struggling to form proper sentences and kept forgetting words but they seemed to understand that it was down to nerves. At one point I felt like I was going really well and then they asked a question which I didn't have a definitive answer for so waffled a bit. They repeated it so I know I didn't answer it properly but had nothing more to add. There was a written assessment which was harder than I thought but I did my best.

What makes it harder is that I have relatively recently diagnosed hypothyroidism and I'm still suffering from brain fog and slur and jumble my words but wasn't always like this. It's knocked my confidence hugely as I just feel so stupid sometimes. And I have horrendous anxiety too. I find interviews so hard - the stress and anxiety then the post interview analysis where I'm kicking myself for coming across as a complete and utter idiot. I just hope the could see past that because I am good at my job and really passionate about it.

FlameGrilled Fri 03-Jun-16 16:02:47

Cross post crinkle. I cracked a joke at the interview that I'd googled interview phobia as I find them so hard! I really don't like talking about myself and stress and nerves have a similar effect as you describe. I think I might research if there's any courses or CBT or something that can help me overcome nerves because actually, the more interviews I do, the worse I get because I have more examples of where I've messed up!

Really not feeling confident right now sad.

mum2Bomg Fri 03-Jun-16 17:12:10

Have you ever told them that you get anxious in interviews? If I'm ever interviewing and someone say that then I take more time to make them feel settled and give them more time to answer the questions. They want you to be the right person, they're not seeing you for the sake of it - you must have a lot to offer. It might help?

Alwayschanging1 Fri 03-Jun-16 17:35:08

Hold one thought in your head - the interviewers want to give you the job.
That's why they are there.
Also remember that first impressions count - most people make up their mind very quickly and then spend the rest of the interview looking for evidence to back up the first impression.
So big smile, firm handshake, good eye contact in the first 60 seconds are critical.

FlameGrilled Fri 03-Jun-16 17:56:43

Thai you both. Yes, I admitted I was nervous, made a bit of a joke out of it. We didn't do handshakes as it didn't feel appropriate in the moment but I had intended to. I think I did ok at the first impressions. I was smiley and chatty and having a joke with the reception staff and one of the interview panel was there but I didn't know it at the time. They were really good at interviewing and allowing me time etc. to write down the questions and I thanked them for making it an easier experience for me. I'm just not so good at selling myself and my internal dialogue is telling me that of course all the other candidates will have given better answers! I'm still cringing but a glass of wine tonight should help me put it behind me.

FlameGrilled Fri 03-Jun-16 18:05:26

*Thank blush typing too fast

mum2Bomg Fri 03-Jun-16 19:07:47

Oh do let us know what happens FlameGrilled. Even if they gave better answers if they didn't give the right impression you'll smash it. Best of luck!🍀

FlameGrilled Thu 09-Jun-16 09:34:44

Hi all, I still haven't heard anything back about the job. I was told at interview that I'd hear back early next week (I.e. this week) but it wasn't clear if that was just for successful applicants. At this point I'm pretty sure I haven't got the job but I'm not sure what to do now. Do I contact them to ask? Perhaps ask for interview feedback?

I know the lead interviewer and have her email address, in fact, my name was mentioned in a recent email thread regarding something going on in my current job that their department is also involved in in a roundabout way. Would it be acceptable to email her do you think? Just want to be put out of my misery because I'm jumping everytime my phone goes off!

ephemeralfairy Thu 09-Jun-16 09:43:01

Oh Flame I know how you feel. I had an interview just after Xmas and didn't get the 'rejection' email for ten days!!

Is there a central HR/recruitment person you could contact? I really don't think it's unreasonable to ask, you want to know so you can move on and focus on looking for other jobs!

It is in my opinion rude and unprofessional to leave candidates hanging for so long post-interview. It is not hard to do a copy-and-paste rejection email.

Also I would definitely ask for feedback. That is part of HR's job.

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