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Improve Interview nerves, technique and confidence generally

(16 Posts)
Brighteyes27 Wed 17-May-17 00:58:16

Having such a shit year at home with one thing and another FIL
Died at beginning of the year and DH lost his job 6 weeks ago. I am done in keeping his spirits up checking in with elderly parents, looking after DC's (early secondary school ages) and keeping my husbands spirits up keeping everything in the house running as smooth as poss I am also in peri menopause (so flushing getting irritated easily sore boobs and testy). Anyway to cut a long story short my employers are also downsizing which couldn't have came at a worse time for me and my role is one of the ones at risk. The last interviews I had were recent and I was against the same people I will be competing against this time. Last time we were told it was extremely close we all interviewed well but the other two out performed me on the day of the interviews. I can do my job well but in an interview situation last time I was overcome with nerves. This time their is even more at risk as if I come third in the process I will be out of a job as well as DH. I need help re: improving my confidence beforehand, help with interview skills and help calming my nerves on the day so I can perform well under pressure. Thanks

Brighteyes27 Wed 17-May-17 01:06:22

I meant tearful not testy sorry

Brighteyes27 Wed 17-May-17 13:01:31


pinkletoes Wed 17-May-17 13:29:38

When are your interviews likely to be? And can I ask what sort of work you do? If you can afford it I would look into some coaching. I have just had a few interviews and found some presenting / speech & drama type coaching REALLY useful. I basically suffer from anxiety about speaking to a group but this really helped tackle that. I found lots of day courses but if I were you I would prepare what you think you need to in terms of subject knowledge and then book to see a coach / trainer 1-2-1 for a couple of hours.

Also watch this Ted talk:

ruthb33 Wed 17-May-17 13:42:17


Fwiw some thoughts about interviews-did my first one last week for about 10 years! some preparation

Have a think about what questions are they likely to ask (for me, this was things like why you, why do you want this job, 3 words to describe yourself etc,what's great about your company/job, where can you improve, what are their challenges etc, what ideas have you for change)

Have a think about how you'd answer. What are the words that you'd want to get across (e.g. Commitment, enthusiasm, determination or whatever)

Watch for the 'give me an example of a time where you've done x' (shown initiative/had to deal with difficult colleague or customer etc)
Think of your answer in terms of situation/action/outcome, e.g
What was the situation
What did you DO about it
What was the outcome

You'll know what did/didn't go well last time. So practise those type questions! Don't learn an answer, just think about how you'd answer it

Find someone else to help you - either coming up with questions, or listening to you and giving some feedback.

On the day...

Know that you've done your preparation
Wear something which makes you feel good/confident about yourself
Take a couple of deep breaths!
Remember to smile (helps project confidence/enthusiasm etc)
Don't be afraid to ask 'can I have a moment' if you want to think. Or ask them to repeat it (had a 2 part question last week and totally forgot what the second part was by time i'd answered first)
Don't talk yourself down. I feel uncomfortable blowing own trumpet but if you're going to do it anywhere, quietly proud in an interview is where you need to do it.
Have some questions for the end

Hope that helps. Best of luck and know yourself that you can do it x

Brighteyes27 Wed 17-May-17 23:21:23

Thanks it's internal interviews AIG/administration work.

Interviews likely to be second week in June.

I went wrong last time as I was so nervous also the questions were all lengthy all 3-4 plus parts to them. I felt very rushed (they interviewed 6 of us on one day with 3 of us already doing the job-I was the last candidate in the morning. I was nervous beforehand but Mid way through i was very nervous/stressed. Also I wasn't sure I had answered every part of the questions and didn't know whether I had forgotten part of them. I also felt very rushed and unsure whether I'd answered or forgotten the mid part of the questions. I asked them to repeat a couple of questions but felt like numpty for doing so. I then got more stressed hot and bothered.

Have asked for feedback but have been told they have lost it.

newnoo Thu 18-May-17 14:21:51

Yes what Pinkletoes said.

You need to be in situations that make you feel uncomfortable more frequently so when this situation arises you're more comfortable with being uncomfortable. So drama, public speaking, going live on Facebook or Periscope - all those sorts of things. I've found them so helpful to get over my fears of speaking in a group and going to interviews.

To me though it sounds like even though they'd like to keep some of their staff (ie, you) it may be that they will have to make an excuse as you 'not interviewing as well as the other two'.

That may not be the complete truth in that they've already decided who they want to keep.

Therefore, prepare, do your best but don't let whatever the outcome is affect you too much. The fact they say they've lost the set of notes on your last interview suggests to me they are not playing fair.

In an ideal world, I would suggest very strongly you start looking for another job. Not because you will necessarily need one - but at the moment all the eggs are in one basket. You need choices to feel like this isn't the only choice.

You have some control over your future too so I'd start job-hunting now. It sounds like this company isnt' doing well either if they keep making staff redundant. It would be better to be with a company that is doing well, growing and has a more positive atmosphere than this place.

Your future is going to improve. Life is a series of ups and downs. It sounds like you are due for some up-time now.

Sometimes bad experiences like this can be the shove we need to make more serious changes. I wish you all the luck in the world - but also go out and seek other opportunities. Anything to make you feel like you have some say in the matter.

Brighteyes27 Thu 18-May-17 17:25:09

Aw thank you newnoo I have started job hunting and updated my CV so am starting to get organized and prepared. I am fine in 1 to 1 situations and get on well with people at many levels. But hate speaking up in a larger group situation so find 3 interviewers making notes not the best situation.

LipSparkle Thu 18-May-17 17:39:00

Can you remeber the questions from last time? Would any of the successful interviewees from last time be willing to give you pointers (jog your memory on questions asked, tell you how they prepared etc)?

Practice over and over, saying your answers out loud and record yourself. It will help you catch where you are waffling and when you are giving information they can mark you on. Make prompt cards so you cover what you need to.

The best interview answers are ones where you give specific examples so describe the situation, say what you did in the situation then describe the positive outcome you achieved. People forget the outcome bit usually.

Din't worry too much about asking them to repeat - I don't mark people down for that. I want them to give me information I can mark so happy to repeat if it means they can do that.

Before the interview, breathe. Make your out breath longer than your in breath (breathe in and out calmly and under control). It apparently does something in the brain that calms people down - can't remember the science behind it now! Practice this type of breathing when you feel anxiety coming up between now and then so it becomes more natural for you.

Good luck! You are clearly a strong candidate or you wouldn't have gotten the feedback you did!

newnoo Thu 18-May-17 20:56:35

I ducked out of a graduate interview where I was going to be interviewed by a panel of 5. I couldn't face it. I've always regretted it slightly. I know I wouldn't probably have got the job - but it would have been an experience.

I let fear get in the way for so many years. Definitely join a public speaking group. It's done wonders for my confidence talking in a group.

I do get nervous still - but I've learnt that I don't literally shrivel up and die! Which is almost what I thought would happen smile

You could try reading The Confidence Code too and Lean In. Both very good books for building confidence.

Good luck - sounds like a better job may well be out there and this will all be a blessing in disguise ;)

Brighteyes27 Fri 19-May-17 06:49:35

Lip sparkle no I can't remember a single question (I think I have blanked it from my memory. I would be competing against the same candidates as last time so it wouldn't be in their interests to help
me as doing so may result in their job loss) other than part of one question something about if you were appointed to the role what changes would you implement and what would be the first thing that you would do in the role (but their was a bit more tagged on to it). I gave a waffley answer along the lines of '...well I know the role inside out as I have been doing the job successfully for x years so I would just put my head down hit the ground running and get on with it, dealing with whatever comes along and get my teeth into clearing the back log of x applications which have built up a little due to the vacancy coinciding with our busiest time of year. It wouldn't really be my job to implement any changes (which it wouldn't any changes have to be brought about by the line manager and we have had substantial changes in the last 16 months which have been brought in from above more remote working less face to face etc).

bigchris Fri 19-May-17 06:56:26

Hi op

I tend to prepare for interviews by using the STAR technique

So for each scenario prepare your answer with Situation Task Action and Result

So if the question is Can you give an example of when you have worked as part of a team
Situation why was a team needed
Task what was the work needed to be done
Action what did you do, how did you work well as a team member, what worked well and what didn't
Result what the outcome was

Write notes and take the in, the last time I used the little revision white cards I used when preparing for exams

Brighteyes27 Tue 06-Jun-17 17:57:26

Thanks BigChris that's really helpful. I think some questions in the previous interview I attended weren't to the actual job which was exactly the same job I had been doing (the only difference was it was 6 more hours a week) weren't relevant to the actual job they were more relevant to the line managers job/duties.

thesandwich Tue 06-Jun-17 18:08:17

Hello bright eyes, some great advice here. Have pm'd you

tribpot Tue 06-Jun-17 18:21:18

The questions sound too long to me, I think it's unreasonable to expect you to remember a four part question whilst also thinking how to answer each part. I would ask if it's okay to make notes as the questions are being asked, so you can be sure to address each part. Obvs whilst you are listening and noting these epic questions, you would also be looking up, making eye contact and smiling.

I would doubt your answer last time was what they wanted to hear - they asked what changes you would make and you said none. They also asked what you'd do first and you started off saying nothing, you'd just get your head down and get on with it and then gave a much better example of what you would do first, so if in doubt I would pause and think before answering. I'd also explicitly ask the interviewers if you've answered all parts of the question before they move on.

In terms of changes you would make, I would have a few things that you would want to suggest were made in consultation with management. So for example as you are working remotely, it might be some software to make it easier to work together as a team (e.g. Slack) or a regular 10-min slot for a general catch-up first thing in the morning. But I really wouldn't saying 'nothing, that's not my job'. You can bet your bottom dollar the other candidates won't be saying that. Remember an interview is basically a sales opportunity, to convince the recruiters that you're the best candidate.

Take deep breaths and make sure you've got a good question to ask the interviewers at the end. One of my favourites is to turn the stupid 'where do you see yourself in five years?' question round and ask where they see the organisation being in five years. This highlights the fact no-one has a bloody clue.

Good luck - I hope it goes well.

Brighteyes27 Tue 06-Jun-17 22:24:42

Yes the questions were too long especially under pressure in an interview situation. Thanks for the feedback and tips. It wasn't quite like that in one question they asked if I was given the job what changes would I be implementing first but in that job I wouldn't be responsible for implementing changes it would be the level above me who would be responsible for implementing any changes so a bit of a trick question.
It is a bit of a shit organization to work for but I enjoy my job and feel I am good at it and that I make a difference.

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