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Interviews with someone you're terrified of

(10 Posts)
Kernowgal Thu 10-Oct-13 20:12:01

Just got the great news that I have an interview for a job I would really like, in another department at work.

However, one half of the interview panel is one of the senior managers, and he is terrifying. He is very exact, doesn't suffer fools, and can be rather humourless. The thought of an interview with him is giving me the heebiegeebies, as he has a habit of staring at you quizzically as you're answering a question, leaving you thinking you've answered wrongly and then waffling to fill the awkward silence; all the while his right eyebrow gets higher and higher.

So, any techniques for staying calm and not waffling nervously? He is actually a nice bloke and I get on well with him, but I have The Fear.

Chottie Thu 10-Oct-13 20:27:07

On the plus side, he doesn't sound as if he would have favourites and the job appointment would be on merit solely, so if it is an internal appointment (and I'm guessing it is) it will be fair and open. Do you know any of his current team? if so could you meet up with them for a chat? knowing a bit more about him and how he works could be useful in an interview situation.

At the interview, just answer the question and then stop, and wait for the next question. Good luck, I hope it works out for you.

EBearhug Thu 10-Oct-13 22:36:23

Focus on your breathing. If you're nervous, you're likely to breathe more slowly and shallowly - if you can consciously breathe more deeply and slowly, it will help convince your body you are calmer. Do this while you're waiting to go in, rather than concentrating on it solely through the interview, so you don't hear the questions properly... But a quick thought from time to time throughout the interview can help.

Basically, it's fake it till you make it. Shake hands firmly. Be aware of your body language - try and sit openly, rather than hunched over and head down. If you're feeling shaky, put your hands in front of you on the table, with interlocking fingers (or on your knees, if there's no table) - that should help stabilise you (and maybe best not to wear potentially clanky bangles, if you were thinking of it.) Look them in the eye.

Don't forget you don't have to speak immediately. It's okay to pause for a moment - thinking time - take a breath, and then start answering. We've a tendency to speak faster when nervous, so try to speak more slowly. And if you get to the end, and there's silence, don't feel tempted to fill the space with waffle. If it's getting uncomfortable, you could ask, "Is there any part of that you'd like me to go into in more detail?" or something like that.

Be as prepared as you can be - if there's anyone you can ask for more detail about the role, and then think about how the things you currently do - and also experience from past jobs, voluntary roles or wherever - can be used to fit into the tasks you'd have to do in the new role, so you've got a mental list of examples to hand.

I know it's a lot to think about when you also have to think about the actual interview questions, but if you know he's a nice bloke and you already get on well, then you've already got something on your side - and they wouldn't be interviewing you if they didn't think you had a chance.

Good luck!

Glenshee Thu 10-Oct-13 23:07:12

Doing a mock interview with a friend helps. It's one thing to prepare on your own, by putting your thoughts together, and completely another thing to be saying it all out loud to a human being.

Try putting artificial restrictions on your hypothetical questions/answers when you prepare: 3 reasons why you're suitable for this job, 3 best achievements etc. You may have less or more than 3 in mind, but this kind of thing helps you focus on your most powerful stuff, and teaches you to stop when you've made your point.

On the way to the interview, if you are still nervous, you can make yourself smile and relax by imagining something silly. For example imagine you're carrying a frying pan underneath your coat which you will use to whack any unfriendly interviewers. At times of stress even something as silly as this can be a welcome distraction.

Good luck!

Kernowgal Fri 11-Oct-13 18:49:34

Thank you all! Great tips, I shall try to put those into practice. I don't really have anyone I can do a practice interview with but I might grab a trusted colleague and see if they can go through my answers with me. It's competency based so at least I have a fair idea of what they might ask and can plan accordingly.

I wouldn't be working directly with him; he is the manager for that area of the company. The other interviewer is my would-be boss, who is lovely and hilarious, plus I am already working part-time with her on a temp basis. There are external candidates too and as far as I can see from top boss's diary there are four of us being interviewed.

I will report back afterwards - many thanks again!

claretandamberforever Sat 12-Oct-13 20:56:07

Oh gawd, I've got this next week. A supervisor job is going in my office, and it's been advertised externally too. I'm dreading it, I hate being interviewed by people that I know, and I'm also dreading the embarrassment of being passed over for someone who doesn't work here even though I know the ropes

Jenijena Sat 12-Oct-13 20:59:02

This was me two years ago. I knew her by reputation, she was very keen on very full time working, and I found out I was pregnant the day before. It was tough but I got the job, told her I was pregnant the week I started (her reaction was surprisingly positive) and to work for she was much better than working against.

Kernowgal Wed 23-Oct-13 10:22:23

Claret how did yours go? Just had mine and it went pretty well, only one question I struggled with but eventually gave an answer they were happy with.

Scary senior manager was absolutely lovely, so I had nothing to be afraid of on that front. Phew. Find out next week.

claretandamberforever Wed 23-Oct-13 18:22:43

It wasn't too bad. I wasn't made to feel that they were only going through the motions and interviewing me because I worked there, so that made me feel a lot better. I didn't feel I had done very well so was surprised to get a phone call asking me along to a second interview this Friday.

However second interview on Friday will be even more terrifying because I am being interviewed by FIVE partners and the practice manager (that's scary biscuits). Oh well, at least it'll all be over by Friday.

Good luck Kernowgal, hope you get it

Kernowgal Wed 23-Oct-13 20:51:37

Good luck! Fingers crossed, and let us know how you get on.

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