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Interview anxiety ruining my chances to get back into work

(8 Posts)
Dauphinoise Thu 19-Oct-17 09:38:23

I've had a 5 year work gap due to being a SAHP, but DD is now at school so I can return to work. Which I desperately want to do. But dear God, my interview anxiety is just awful and I'm wrecking my own chances of jobs I know I could do, and do well at, as a result of it.

I do great applications, I get the interview date, I research, plan and prepare... but then at the actual interview I become so nervous and anxious I turn into an absolute gibbering idiot! I waffle, I talk nonsense, my voice shakes, I physically and visibly shake and I forget everything. Sometimes I literally just freeze and go completely blank.

Inside I'm cringing at myself so much I feel I'll turn inside out! The interviewer/s must either pity me or be laughing about me afterwards.

I don't know how to get this under control. I'm already on anxiety meds, which work great in any other situation. But interviews just terrify me and it feels that no meds or calming techniques will resolve it.

I don't know what I expect from writing this, I just needed to let it out. I had an interview yesterday that went exactly the same way. I don't tell anyone about my interviews as I worry the pressure of letting my family down will increase the anxiety even more. But I don't have anyone to talk to and I just want to cry on someone's shoulder... sad

FlowerPot1234 Thu 19-Oct-17 09:48:18

What I'm going to tell you is not conventional wisdom.

Regard them as a chat.
Realise it's as much about you checking them out as it is about them checking you out.
Understand that it is pretty stressful for an interviewer too, they are not as relaxed as you think they are.
Wear formal but relaxed clothes and sit comfortably. Being pristinely turned out and sitting upright is only what very junior candidates or graduates do.
Don't plan too much. Read around and once you know what kind of interview it's going to be, have a few evidence examples up your sleeve.
Arrive just before you go in, not in a rush, but don't sit around for ages.
I say it again - go in as if you were meeting a friend and catching up on social news. Just chat away and smile and create a two way conversation.

2017RedBlue Thu 19-Oct-17 10:51:51

Find a public speaking group and start going.

it did wonders for my interview horrors. Get used to being uncomfortable.

You could go to the doctor and ask for beta blockers. They do work and stop physical symptoms of fear.

But I'd wish really you didn't do that and just instead faced the fear.

The fear is one of not being good enough. Do you worry about what people think of you? Are you a people pleaser? Do you find it hard to put yourself first?

All classic signs of someone who has low self-worth.

You could look for a good NLP coach. Don't go for just anyone. But yes, they may be able to help you. You need to understand why you are so scared.

Also, you are building up the interview into something that it's not.

In life we think we have good outcomes and bad outcomes. But in the end that's not true. You are putting an assumption of a great outcome on you getting that job every time you go for an interview. Whereas it might be an awful job, or you might hate the boss or you might have an accident on the way to that new job and be badly damaged and your life changed forever. You are front loading the interview to such an extent that you lose control. But you can't control what happens. You don't know if it's the right job for you. We think we make good decisions and bad decisions but in the end, a good decision can lead to something bad and a bad decision can lead to something good.

Stop with the front loading. Could you be happy if you never worked again? Ask yourself that. You have to get to a base line where the interview no longer means shit to you. Could you set up a business or volunteer - what other options are available to you.

Stop seeing interviews as your only route to the life you want.

Good luck. xxx

Dauphinoise Thu 19-Oct-17 18:01:22

FlowerPot I've honestly tried all of what you've suggested, but it just never works if I feel intimidated or inferior. I've been for basic national minimum wage jobs and still had to face a whole board of interviewers with a complex interview and testing process, and I just want to run away! Its often so 'corporate' and overly formal, and I just can't bear it. The only jobs I've ever got is where the interviewer has been relaxed and not over the top about it all. Too formal and Im a wreck.

Find a public speaking group and start going
I didn't realise any such groups existed, however this sounds like my worst nightmare!

Do you worry about what people think of you? Are you a people pleaser? Do you find it hard to put yourself first?
Yes, I'm very self-conscious after years of bullying at school and home. Counselling/therapy/CBT etc has never 'cured' the deep mental scars. Yes, I do especially like to please an employer, I like to do a good job and for that to be recognised and appreciated. And yes, I feel selfish and guilty if I put myself first. I'm not very good at it.

You could look for a good NLP coach
What is an NLP coach? It sounds like I couldn't afford one! grin

Could you be happy if you never worked again?
No, I would feel useless, bored and not much of a role model to my son. I also think my DH would get cheesed off if I just decided to not bother ever working again and leave the financial-providing to him alone. Plus, financially, we're just scraping by every month. We could really do with an additional income.

Could you set up a business
My dream is to be able to work for myself, but my skills are limited. I didn't go to college or university as my parents wanted me out working and bringing money home as soon as I left school. I've sat and dreamt up so many different business possibilities, but all require money I don't have, to start them up. And I have no business qualifications and wouldn't even know where to begin.

Stop seeing interviews as your only route to the life you want
True, I do see the interview as a huge hurdle. The hurdle to being able to help provide for my family and no longer feeling like a waste-of-space free-loader, and if I don't make it, I'm a massive loser and a let-down. The more I don't make that hurdle, the more of a loser I feel, and the more it knocks my confidence. And I just go round in a vicious anxious circle.

FlowerPot1234 Thu 19-Oct-17 18:24:42

My dream is to be able to work for myself, but my skills are limited. I didn't go to college or university as my parents wanted me out working and bringing money home as soon as I left school. I've sat and dreamt up so many different business possibilities, but all require money I don't have, to start them up. And I have no business qualifications and wouldn't even know where to begin.

If you have been out at work bringing home money as soon as you left school, then you're likely to be great if you start a business. You don't need qualifications.

Do you have a product or service that people want?
Can you evidence that they want it?
How many people want it?
How many people will you sell to?
How will you sell to them?

This is, fundamentally and very generally, all you need to start. Build a business plan out of these questions (download basic ones from the internet for free) - the plan is a working document for you to set the business up, not a form to fill in that looks nice. If you cannot answer every question, then you haven't thought it through enough.

As for funds to start, well, that's the stickler for all entrepreneurs that aren't born into money. Savings. Sell things. Pawn things. Move house. Sell the car. Cancel luxuries. Get a small loan. Ask friends and family to back you. All the usual stuff.

2017RedBlue Fri 20-Oct-17 09:58:01

Look up Toastmasters and The Public Speaking Association and join - today. Just do it.

I guarantee if you start public speaking, you will find interviews easier. Especially if you line up an interview for the day after you've given a talk. Talking in public is a way to get over this fear I guarantee it works.

I also was bullied at school and have felt forever self-conscious and judged by others.

What it teaches you, when you are bullied is to lose trust in yourself. You start to trust what everyone else says about you through that process and when you are then in a situation where you are required to 'be yourself' ie, at interview, you believe what everyone else told you long ago which is that you are somehow flawed and not good enough to be part of a group, part of company, part of the human race. it's rejection on the deepest level and it then echoes out through you life and you will keep bumping up against this limiting belief.

It's only by learning to trust who you are again that you can begin to feel less scared and more trusting of being who you really are. It's a long process but it can be done as I used to be a people pleaser and very worried about what everyone thought of me but now I am close to not giving a shit anymore. Which is huge, for me at least. I've spent a lot of money on mindset coaching over the last three years. It's not cheap - but I no longer validate myself through other people's eyes. I believe I have something to offer the world and if someone else disagrees with me, that's not my problem (anymore). In the past I would have worried about it and tried to persuade them otherwise. Now I'm indifferent.

You can start a business on less than 100 pounds online. There are LOADS of free tools out there. Yes it's a big journey to learn about business - but go to the library and start to read up on marketing and product development. You can learn this stuff for free. It's also all over the web.

Google offer Google Digital Garage where you can learn all about websites and how to optimise them and social media. Facebook also have training. Honestly, all you need is time. You don't need a teacher or money, if you have time and the commitment, anything is possible. Just decide today that your life is going to be different and that you're ready to be you again. How that pans out in the future is up to you but it's all about making a decision today that you're no longer available for all this crap in your head that says you're worthless.

Also when I said how would it feel to not work again, I meant what joy can you take in your life right now. It wasn't about never working again. It's a question to ask you to consider what you have right now to be grateful for: good health, healthy family, food on the table, a roof over your head, hot water and heating, a beautiful sunset, the chance to live freely without war or oppression. Half the world lives on a dollar a day - you're already living someone else's dream but sometimes we focus so much on what we don't have we forget to see what we've really truly got. There's so much abundance and opportunity all around us in the Western world but more frequently than not, most people here aren't ready to really go for it.

IPokeBadgers Fri 20-Oct-17 10:09:13

Dauphinoise I am having similar experiences with regards to interviews, could have written your post. I just fall apart regardless of how well I've prepped. Just want you to know you are not alone in having these problems, and I am following the thread with interest.....thank you to everyone who has replied so far, lots of food for thought.

2017RedBlue Fri 20-Oct-17 13:28:16

Check out NLP on youtube. I think there's NLP Gym channel on there that I really liked. It explains so much. You can learn all about it for free. If you had the money for one to one well that would be brilliant but this is a second best and a good alternative.

Also check out Actualised and School of Life on Youtube. Lots of good stuff. School of Life is a bit depressing (too much Jung) although it still offers interesting angles into life.

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