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March 19, 2014 / Christian M.

Why Are We Even Here? (or The Purpose of Interviews)

stage lights_123rf

Interviews make me feel like I’m standing alone on stage under a bright spotlight.
(Image copyright 123rf Stock Photos)

It’s interview season for the Associate Fellowship Program, and it is reminding me of everything I was thinking/feeling a year ago, and what I will be thinking/feeling in the next several months as I (hopefully) start interviewing for jobs. Although I want to help those AFP interviewees, I’m also preaching to the choir with this one.

I will be honest, interviews scare me sh–, um, I mean shoe-less. I am just one of those people that get nervous very easily. And when I am really nervous, it affects me physically. Think shaky hands and voice, sweaty palms, and possibly even….tears. Now I don’t say all that to embarrass myself (although I just did), or to start a therapy session. I just want to let you know, reader, that if interviews unnerve you, then I know how you feel. If you happen to be one of those super relaxed and uber-confident people who don’t get phased by interviews then I envy you….and you can get off my blog right now (just kidding…sorta).

Sometimes I think it would be easier to just submit a cover letter and resume, and let the hiring committee make their decision based off of that alone. It would definitely be less traumatic for me. However, I have to remind myself that the interview is important for multiple reasons.

On the interviewers’ side, it allows them to assess:

  • communication skills
  • critical thinking skills
  • ability to explain your work experience & future goals
  • self-awareness
  • personality (and whether yours is a good match for their workplace)

On the interviewee side, it allows you to:

  • tell them how awesome you are
  • learn more about the position, job duties, and the company
  • observe the workplace culture and decide if it’s a good fit for you

So the next time you’re sitting in that hot seat … or being blinded by that spotlight …  or [insert other equally uncomfortable situation]  just remember to breathe, relax and be yourself. Don’t forget to ask your questions too — the company is on trial being interviewed too.

As for overcoming the nerves and anxiety? Well I’m still working on that one. If you have any sure-fire techniques that have worked for you, please share!

I know being prepared is supposed to be able to decrease anxiety.  I think I can do a little better in my interview prep. I’ll talk about that some more in my next post.

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Leave a Comment
  1. Variegated Stacks / Mar 20 2014 2:37 pm

    Awesome post. I get nervous a little before interviewing. I try not to drink caffeine the day of the interview. I drink hot tea. I would suggest perhaps yoga? I wasn’t a fan until recently. Yoga helps you to breathe and center yourself. You’ll be just fine.

    • LibGirl09 / Mar 20 2014 7:14 pm

      You know, I’ve been considering yoga for a while. I think I definitely need to follow through and give it a try. I know I will probably always have some nervousness, but I definitely want to get away from feeling like my interview anxiety completely takes over my body. Thanks for the tips!

  2. Curtis Small / Apr 5 2014 4:12 pm

    Hi Christian!

    It’s great to stumble upon your blog!

    Regarding interviews, I’m sure you know all this already: remember the things we learned at IRDW. I know it helped me. As did conversation with my mentor. As much preparation as possible, anticipating questions based on the the job description and practicing answers. These things helped lesson my anxiety some. And, happily, I found that the process got (a little) easier as I went through successive interviews. I learned something each time that was useful later.

    The rest was just “grin and bear it” or “fake it till you make it ,” or whatever trite but useful phrase works for you. The process is never easy, when you care about what you are doing (and you NEED a job), but I found it was interesting and informative (at times), and, best of all, it led to a job. Clearly, you’re doing great so far, judging from your present circumstances!

    Also, yoga has helped me for years. Can’t recommend it highly enough for mental focus and calm!


    • LibGirl09 / Apr 6 2014 9:33 am

      Thanks Curtis for the advice/reminders! 🙂

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