How to not panic in job interviews

Got called up this week – new client seems to present a tricky case: ‘I have been doing lots of interviews. I get to the final stage, the last interview, but don’t seem to get pass that.’

‘What do you think happened?’

‘I don’t know..! They don’t tell you what’s wrong about you. I have tried asking for feedback but never got a response. The thing is, I never like job interviews.’

‘How do you feel when you have the interviews?’

‘I get very nervous. I hyperventilate. I even stutter. Sometimes I can’t say the words. My mind scatters. I read my notes. I get lost in them. I forget what I want to say.’ (That sounds super serious!)

It turned out to be true. He was the most panicky client I’ve ever had!

We worked on breathing, changing paradigms, identifying the story so it’s easy for him to remember.

I learnt a lot from this client.

It turned out that because he is super prepared, and writes down all his answers, completely scripted, I learnt that he would do his video interviews with her notes opened on the screen! He would look over and look for the answers during the interview! That obviously didn’t bode well! The disconnected eye contact might have suggested to the interviewer that he was lying, or that he was reading something else, quite obviously his pre-written answers, which might have been interpreted as planned, fabricated answers!

‘Please close all your notes and put away your notebook in the interview! Don’t assume that it’s a phone / video interview, that you can get away with your cheat sheet, as that would distract you, and take away your focus from the interaction!’

‘But I will forget..!’

‘We are telling our life story in the interviews. No one knows our lives better than we do. And no one will know we left out details and forgot, except us!’

‘But there are so many examples to remember!’

Then I realised that it’s good practice to just boil down each of our job interview stories into 3 key sentences: problem – action – result. So it’s easy to remember!

‘OK. Rather than remembering the 100 different points you’ve written down, just remember 3 things about what you want to say about yourself, the key messages, and have 1 story for each of these qualities; and when you go in and forget everything else, you would hopefully remember just one thing that’s special about you. And every one of us has our own special super power that is often enough as the unique selling point for getting the job. It’s quality, not quantity!’

P.S. I am glad to tell you that this client got the job! He also got much more calmer! I’m very happy to have helped!

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