In these difficult days of economic struggle, I am fortunate enough and blessed to have a full-time job. It may not be the best job, but it is reliable and handles my expenses – most of them.
However, the ever-increasing cost of daily living has me on the prowl for a new job that offers something more on the financial stability front. The cost of gas and car insurance on the rise along with every other form of inflation imaginable is reason enough to sharpen up the resume and sell myself to the few worthwhile, potential employers out there.
I’ve been doing just that and it finally seems like the effort is paying off. I have a great government job lined up, but the competition for the available positions is downright ridiculous. Out of over 1,000 applicants, 500 were called back for the testing phase, with an undetermined number eagerly awaiting a call back for an interview. The grand total to be hired after interviews? 20! I’m keeping my fingers, toes and eyes crossed.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not banking on luck because I think I did badly on the testing portion of the hiring process. On the contrary, I walked out of that test with my head held high and the firm belief that I’ve scored near perfect on it. My real problem –and it has plagued me my entire working life— is the interview. The dreaded, awful, sweat-inducing interview. THE INTERVIEW. I shudder at the words as if it were the name of an upcoming horror flick. The thought alone makes me want to go to the bathroom; no need to pay for ex-lax anymore.
Interviews have always been my “Achilles Heel”, especially ones that are of a panel setting format. Isn’t it already bad enough to have a face to face with someone who is scrutinizing you and evaluating everything you say and do, from the moment you walk through the door? Nope, let’s just throw in 3 more suits to interrogate you, Oscar! Sure, go for it, and cure me of any pending constipation problems for the rest of my life, thank you very much!
Comedy aside, I just don’t know why my nerves take center stage in an interview setting. I’m a generally confident –borderline cocky— individual with a great attitude and common sense, but none of that comes through when I’m being interviewed. I turn into a completely different person and I walk out red-faced and angry with myself every single time. The questions they ask make sense, they register, and I normally know the answer but whatever intellectual response I’ve conjured up in my mind gets lost the moment my vocal cords flex their muscles. Instead, what comes out is some silly, basic, irrational, short response that wouldn’t get me a job at McDonald’s let alone an upscale government position. It is a real problem because I’ve lost out on some great opportunities as a result of this phobia.
I was hoping this was going to be a self-help/tips type of entry, but it really isn’t. I have no answers that would aid me to become a better interviewee because I can’t seem to pinpoint the origin of the problem. I’m not a MENSA member, but I consider myself an intelligent person. I’m not looking to strike conversations with random strangers, but I’m most definitely not socially awkward. So what do I do? What can I do? Where am I going wrong and how do I improve?
I understand the need for an interview as a tool to evaluate an individual, but sometimes it isn’t exactly an accurate depiction of how someone will perform on the job. Maybe I will let them know exactly that the next time I find myself in the cross-examination room. If I can just find the words to say it in the heat of the moment remains to be seen.