I'm awful at interviews! Help me!

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by nikkiJ, Sep 21, 2009.

  1. nikkiJ

    nikkiJ Rookie

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    Sep 21, 2009

    I've been on three interviews this summer, my performance at each of them getting progressively worse. I get so hyped up and nervous about them that its crippling. It does not matter how many answers to potential questions I go through in my head or how many times I practice answering questions to myself prior to an interview, I always do miserably. I freeze up, ramble, back track to clarify my rambling (which never works), and usually just stop mid-sentence when I realize that I've completely lost the interviewer. I've got to the point where I just want to beg the interviewer to let me in the door and tell them that they won't be sorry. I'm GREAT with kids, I have great ideas, I have great attributes, I'm such a hard worker, and have great references, but I have no luck expressing any of the above. I feel like giving up! How am I ever going to get a job when I can't get past an easy enough interview?? Has anyone else had this problem? Any tips? Any books I can read that may help? I'm sick of humiliating myself.
     
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  3. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Sep 21, 2009

    Suppose a very good friend of yours were in exactly your situation and suffering as you are. Would you tell your friend she was humiliating herself? I bet you wouldn't. That being the case, don't tell that to yourself either.

    Have you practiced interview skills with an audience? Collect a group of people - one or two - who are on your side and who mean you well, and try practicing with them.

    If you're still in school or if you still live near your university, see if the career placement office can suggest anything to help.
     
  4. SCTeacher23

    SCTeacher23 Comrade

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    Sep 21, 2009

    I agree about practicing in front of an audience or even by yourself, in front of the mirror or something. I've always been really bad at interviews myself, but I find that practicing a lot of the questions ahead of time that you think you may be asked helps a lot.
     
  5. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

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    Sep 21, 2009

    Can you tape record yourself giving the answers? That would let you hear the way you sound, then you can figure out what to do differently.

    I'm terrible at interviewing, also... I start talking really fast when I get excited or nervous, then I don't always finish words and string others together... or so I've been told.

    Fortunately in my current position, I think they saw that I'm good and passionate through my rambling because they asked me to come in and read to a group of the kids... since I aced that part, I think they knew I was a good choice.

    Another trick that i've tried (with varying degrees of success, but it might work for you) is a special bracelet, ring, etc... something that you don't normally wear but that when you see it (or, if you're like me, fiddle with it), it will remind you to relax, slow down, breathe, etc.
     
  6. Sweetpea86

    Sweetpea86 Rookie

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    Sep 21, 2009

    I'm in the same boat. I too went on three interviews this summer. It's hard enough to get an interview in the first place...but messing it up because I'm nervous feels terrible. I graduated in May '09 but still don't have a job...I've started to look for jobs in other areas.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 21, 2009

    OK, there's your problem. You're practicing, but not out loud. You need to practice with real people to give you input.

    Enlist EVERYONE you know. Hit one of the "interview question" threads here and make a list of questions.

    Then play interview with family and friends. Have them ask the questions in random order, and be as merciless as they know how. Make sure you assume they know nothing, and explain any jargon the way you would on an interview- so the interviewers know YOU know what the terms mean.

    Interviewing is a skill, and needs to be practiced. But while reading about shooting foul shots is great, and practicing in the back yard may help, it's only on a real basketball court that you get a real feel for how to do it. So practice your interview skills with real people.
     
  8. UCLACareerChngr

    UCLACareerChngr Comrade

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    Sep 21, 2009

    Echo the other comments made. You really need to practice practice practice. See if you can get some time with some local companies, even. Can you interview with their HR people, who can give you advice.

    The other thing I'm a believer in is focused practice in "non-stressful" situations. It's sort of like dating - if you never date anyone because you're always waiting for mr/ms right to come along, when they DO come along you'll probably blow it. So, I tried to apply for any and every job, and went on interviews for positions that I probably would never accept, just to get the interview practice. Then, it gave me the "real" experience, and when I got the interviews for the great jobs, they were a lot easier. Everyone complains that admins/principals interview people they have no intention of hiring because they've already hand picked someone...so I don't see any problem doing the opposite, applying and interviewing for a job that you have no real interest in, just to get interview practice.

    Now, of course, I do realize that there are so few jobs out there that this probably isn't a real option for people out there. But, that type of attitude might also serve you well to help relax you a little bit. I know when I think "This is the perfect job, I really hope I don't screw this up" I'm more likely to do exactly that...
     
  9. Liljag

    Liljag Companion

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    Sep 22, 2009

    The things that help me most in an interview is (and I am a babbler if I don't do this):

    1) Organisation. Always have everything organised and put them into a file folder. When you aren't looking around for things, you present a much better image of yourself. I like to include documentation in my folder so that if I forget what I need to say..well a picture tells a thousand words :). And it is easier to describe what is going on in the picture then just babble.

    2). Pump yourself up before you go into an interview. Remind yourself that you are the best person for this job and if they didn't think so, you would never have gotten this far. During the interview, think about kids you have taught and how happy that made you.

    3) Always dress for success. Dressing up for an interview always seems to affect how I act in that interview (rather than just wearing street clothes).

    4) Smile. Think of happy things.

    5) If you find yourself wandering , look away from the interviewer and quickly look back. It helps to refocus.

    6) Before going into that interview, always research that school in case you are asked about it.

    7) Listen to music on the way to the interview. It really helps to calm you down. Don't keep looking over your resume and such right before it. That can give you the jitters. Just think about a tune. Of course, don't start singing that tune out loud or they may think your a bit odd :).

    8) Don't ever interupt the interviewer.

    Just a few tips. Most likely you have heard them a million times before but a million and one is nice :)
     
  10. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    Sep 22, 2009

    I'm not the most articulate at interviews either. I think what helped me land my current job is that I told stories about my kids that were relevant to the questions asked. They really liked the fact that I had experience, and they liked how I said I would handle different situations. Try concentrating really hard on the question and what you think would be the best answer. Give yourself a little pep talk before you go in. "I know I am a great teacher, I will show these people that they will be happy that they hired me, etc." Good luck!
     
  11. nogenrewriter

    nogenrewriter Companion

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    Sep 22, 2009

    This is the best piece of advice that someone gave me: answer the question and STOP! I realized that I kept over-talking the answer and was, essentially, talking myself out of a job. I once talked to a human resource manager who said that people do it all the time. You need to give the members of the panel what they need to hear, stop and then smile.
     

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