I have an interview tomorrow and I'm freaking out.

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    The fact that I even got invited is killing me. I studied hard, scored well but all along, I’ve had this extremely negative view of myself, that I dont deserve it.
    I am extremely bad at putting my thoughts into words, I’ll fumble, I’ll fall short of words, I’ll take huge pauses, stupid words will come out of my mouth, and there’s no delete button on those. It is an elite school, and I’m such an average student, average person, everyone who studies there has a stellar background, exudes confidence, and then there’s me, who got an invite for the interview by mistake and will appear “casual” “unprepared” and “taking it lightly”. I cant change it.
    I’ve been trying for the past 27 years. Public speaking courses, youtube videos, counselling, YOU name it, I have tried it. But I’m still a loser. Who will mess up in the interview for being talentless, nervous, and an idiot.
    Don’t know what I’ll amount to ever in my life. Can’t stop hating myself. My head hurts because of all the negative thoughts that its carrying right now.


    Hey sf211, I’m sorry to hear you’re freaking out about your interview tomorrow! I actually wrote an article about this not long ago – see below.

    5 Tips to Beat Interview Anxiety

    Interviewing can be crippling. The thought of having to go into a room with strangers and talk about yourself for an extended period of time, putting on a song and dance to impress people you don’t even know, may make you want to pull a sickie (…for the rest of your life).

    Sometimes it doesn’t matter how many “tell me about…” examples are prepared, strengths and weaknesses analysed and practiced, you still have trouble sleeping the night before, fearing that once you walk into that room, your mouth dries up and hands get sweaty, but worst of all, your mind goes blank.

    Here are my 5 tips to help you overcome this fear.

    Tip 1: Understanding what you’re good at and why

    Often we feel like what we’re doing at work is just keeping things afloat – delivering to deadlines, attending team meetings, going to client briefs etc. This can feel like we’re constantly in “maintenance” mode, not “achievement” mode.

    That’s why it’s important to:
    – Establish which aspects of your job you’re good at – What do you do at work? How do you go about it? Are there significant challenges you’ve tackled? What was the final result?
    – Back this up with evidence – $ value, % improvements, # people/sites/processes, period of time – anything to quantify the above will help
    – Eg. I’m good with people and leading a team, like when I led my team to meet our monthly sales target. I assessed each person’s strengths and weaknesses, made sure the right mix of skills were rostered for each shift and I tailored my coaching approach accordingly. We exceeded our sales targets by 30% that month.

    Tip 2: Practice and Validate

    Using the information from Tip 1, formulate these into sentences to capture the What, When and How:
    – What: I am good at X – this can be a technical skill eg. “programming”, or a competency eg. “influencing people” or “prioritising and multi-tasking”
    – When: I accomplished this during X, Y and Z (eg. A project, incident, initiative, etc.)
    – How: The steps I took were X, Y and Z – break this down into small chunks, eg. I systematically prepare reports like the *insert name* report, by clarifying the brief, analyse data using excel modelling to define trends, etc.

    Tip 3: It’s not “selling” if it’s the truth

    Selling yourself during an interview can feel daunting and intimidating (it might even make you feel like a douchebag). But think about a situation when you’ve had a conversation about a topic you’re familiar with. The conversation flows, you know facts and figures to back up what you’re saying, and (hopefully) you don’t sound like a douchebag.
    Now that you know what you’re good at, can provide examples, and have the numbers to back yourself up – when you’re interviewing, you’re simply telling the truth, not “selling” yourself. The panel will see and feel the genuine difference in your delivery.
    Is it still a performance? Well kind of, you still need to present yourself in the best light, but you know how amazing you are now, which should surely be a confidence booster.

    Tip 4: Understand what happens during an interview.. and why

    Interviewing can feel like an ambush… there’s at least 4 eyes on you, sometimes 8 if you’re really unlucky. It was only until I went to quite a few (and eventually ended up on the other side of the table) that a pattern emerged.
    The interview process is somewhat predictable:

    – Arrive at interview location, sit and wait
    – Get greeted by someone in HR, then led into a room to meet the other sets of eyes.
    – Some unavoidable awkward small talk about weather or footy.
    – Get asked some general questions like – Why do you want to work for us? and Tell us about your experience? etc.
    – Get asked at least 3 “tell me about a time” (behavioural based) questions
    – Then you get an opportunity to ask some (smart) questions

    If you think about it, by the time you’re invited to an interview, you’ve passed the initial screening stage – they like your experience and your skills. So the purpose of the interview is to meet you in person and ascertain if you’re the right person for the job. In other words – are you the right “fit”, and you’re assessed on things like:

    – Do you talk, or act, in a way which will fit into our company?
    – Do we think that you’ll get along with the people in our company?
    – Can you actually do what you’re saying you can do?
    – Do you have the right “image”? (Discrimination is illegal but please, dress the part – first impressions do count)

    Knowing the format of interviews can inform you on how to prepare your answers, who the interviewers are and what the interviewers are looking for.

    Tip 5: Interviewing is a two-way process (not one)

    This is often one of the biggest mistakes people make – yes, you’re being assessed during an interview, however it’s also YOUR opportunity to assess them.

    I remember trying to land my first gig after uni, and times when I was desperate to leave my job and spread my wings, but before too long I came to an important realisation – just like it takes time to find the right partner in life, it takes time to find the right company for me.

    Remember the things you’re being assessed on in Tip 4? Use LinkedIn to find out more about your interviewers and who works there. Check out Glassdoor to find out interview questions and company reviews. Get your head around the company’s key challenges (or opportunities).
    Prepare a list of questions you want to ask – not just for the obligatory sake of asking questions, but to satisfy your own curiosity.
    If career progression is important for you, don’t be shy to ask about the company’s internal promotion rate. If you’re passionate about the environment, you could ask what the company’s commitment is to reduce their carbon emissions.

    Final tips

    Sometimes, even when you prepare and practice for an interview, nerves can kick in. Here are some final tips to beat those nerves:
    – Bring in your own bottle of water (just make sure it’s not an old, wrinkled bottle). Having something on the table that’s yours can offer a sense of security. Plus it helps alleviate a dry mouth.
    – Let the interviewers know you’re nervous, in most cases they’ll soften their approach and might even prompt you during the interview so you can provide clearer answers.
    – If you don’t know how to answer a question, ask them to repeat it. This buys you some additional thinking time. Remember: you’re also allowed to pause to think (just not for too long!)
    – Slow down your breathing, and breathe deep. Shallow breathing exacerbates anxiety.

    Good luck on your interview, believe in yourself and your ability to add value.


    Dear sf211:

    You wrote: “I’m still a loser. Who will mess up in the interview for being talentless…”-

    You are afraid to mess up because you think you have a chance to succeed. What if you give up any hope of succeeding in the interview tomorrow. Accept failure. Then, what do you have to fear?

    You will “fumble… fall short of words…take huge pauses, (say)stupid words…” only if you think you have a chance to do well.

    Go and fail in that interview, but fail confidently (speak up, use a strong voice, look the people in the eyes), for what do you have to lose when you lost already?.



    done with 2. Did ok in one (was so surprised at myself) but got a total brain freeze in the second one. I was literally just speaking anything without even making sense.


    I had prepared so much.. I could actually see the words in my head… but nothing came out.. only the dumbest things I could say did..


    The interviewer kept looking down and writing something down throughout since the very first question. (internet interview). That made me all the more convinced that I’m going wrong

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 9 months ago by SantaFe.

    Wow! This is so old. I got over my anxiety, for some time, did well in several, got a great scholarship.

    I am still a loser in the conventional use of the word, but I’m on my way of getting cured of toxic ambition, the need for approval, wanting to please everyone.

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