Job Interview Anxiety

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    May 24, 2012 3:14 AM GMT
    So I have a phone interview for a job coming up on Friday. It's for a legit, full-time, salary plus benefits position, which would be my first ever. I had a phone interview for a similar position a few weeks ago and completely bombed it. My heart was pounding, voice was shaking, and mouth was moving before brain was thinking. I knew I was done halfway through my first answer and I could not wait to just hang up the phone and have it be over. Seriously my worst interview experience ever. I'm going to prepare a little more for this one than I did for the last one as far as rehearsing my answers and having a general framework for what I want to say. I think one of my biggest obstacles is that while I have always gotten nervous for interviews, with an in-person interview I am able to meet the hiring manager and have some meaningless chit-chat walking back to the office that calms my nerves somewhat and I do fine. With a phone interview you pretty much dive right in and that doesn't happen. But now I'm at the stage where more than likely for the jobs I'm applying for I'm going to have to get past a phone interview before getting an in-person interview. Any suggestions guys? I'm seriously afraid of this experience repeating itself, even if I'm more prepared. I really just want to do better on this one than I did on the last one, with moving forward in the process being gravy if it happens.
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    May 24, 2012 3:16 AM GMT
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    May 24, 2012 3:22 AM GMT
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  • Import

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    May 24, 2012 3:24 AM GMT
    dude, i feel u. It's a high-anxiety situation
    u gots to just try and relax though. I'm telling u.

    The organization I work for...I phone-interviewed twice, then I had to web-cam interview in front of a panel.....then I had to fly out for an in-person interview.
    I was shittin my pants, but u cant let ur nerves blow this for you.

    I just tried my best to relax. When im nervous I tend to speak quickly and just want whatever experience im in that is making me nervous to be over already, but with an interview, u need to elaborate on shit. U need to speak. U need to show confidence in ur abilities.

    Anyway, now that im a full-time emplyee etc. I'm the one conducting phone interviews now. Oh how the tables have turned.

    If a candidate sounds nervous or trembly on the phone. It makes me hesitatnt to call them back for an in-person....u dont wanna sound like some nervous nelly.

    and remember it's OK to pause....and think about the questions a few moments. U dont need to spit out an answer instanlty.

    Be prepared to ask questions at the end, about the position, about the organization, etc.

    u got this brah. Just do ur research. Prepare, prepare, prepare!
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    May 24, 2012 3:24 AM GMT
    My advice..
    Just don't give a fuck about the job. Pretend you don't really need it. It will help you relax and become less anxious. Just imagine that it's a mock interview you're doing with a friend.

    Try not to rehearse answers. If you start giving cookie-cutter replies to their cookie-cutter questions, the interview will end quickly. See if you can take control of the interview and turn it into a conversation. Talk about your experience, why you're interested in the job/company, and what you hope to accomplish both for yourself and for the company.
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    May 24, 2012 3:25 AM GMT
    I would think phone interviews should be less nerve racking. My least favorite interviews are in person with a panel. At that point its very serious and you kind have to stick on point.
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    May 24, 2012 3:26 AM GMT
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    May 24, 2012 3:27 AM GMT
    oh and dont drink before a phone interview.......obvi icon_rolleyes.gif

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    May 24, 2012 3:28 AM GMT
    I tend to crack jokes. It hasn't failed me yet. 1 for 1 icon_smile.gif
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    May 24, 2012 3:30 AM GMT
    Yeah, don't drink. But I highly suggest doing the interview in bed and in your pajamas or something. Very relaxing. icon_biggrin.gif
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    May 24, 2012 3:31 AM GMT
    xrichx saidYeah, don't drink.


    He'd be the life of that interview! Bottom's up!
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    May 24, 2012 3:32 AM GMT
    have ur laptop open during the interview and google each and every questions asked.
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    May 24, 2012 3:38 AM GMT
    xrichx saidMy advice..
    Just don't give a fuck about the job. Pretend you don't really need it. It will help you relax and become less anxious. Just imagine that it's a mock interview you're doing with a friend.

    Try not to rehearse answers. If you start giving cookie-cutter replies to their cookie-cutter questions, the interview will end quickly. See if you can take control of the interview and turn it into a conversation. Talk about your experience, why you're interested in the job/company, and what you hope to accomplish both for yourself and for the company.


    Second this. The best interviews I've had were the ones where I walked in just to waste time in a more.. practical fashion.

    Just think optimistically, and remind yourself that not getting the job you will be interviewed for does not mean end of your life. Just think of it as another opportunity to test yourself, and may be read your resume once or twice to remind yourself of your professional experiences that apply to the job you want to get.

    Seriously, just take it easy and you'll do fine. People often make bigger deal out of interviews than they should be, and that ends up screwing people over more often than getting them the job.
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    May 24, 2012 3:42 AM GMT
    Import saidhave ur laptop open during the interview and google each and every questions asked.


    I had notes last time. I think they ended up hurting more than helping. I hated it because it was a really simple interview. The questions were 1. Tell me about yourself, 2. Why are you interested in this position, 3. What experience do you have related to x, x, and x specifically within this position, and 4. Where do you see yourself in 3 and 5 years. And yes it was over after 4 questions.

    Thanks for the advice guys. Maybe I should drink to calm the nerves haha. I think it would just jumble up my thoughts even more though.
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    May 24, 2012 3:52 AM GMT
    Import saidhave ur laptop open during the interview and google each and every questions asked.


    I've conducted several phone interviews in where I could hear typing. One time, I made up a question on the fly and there was a slight pause, and I could hear typing. After a few seconds I told him, "Yeah, Google isn't going to help because I made up that question." There was another long silence and I continued to the next question....needless to say, the sounds of typing stopped.
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    May 24, 2012 3:53 AM GMT
    wolfpackbuddy said
    Import saidhave ur laptop open during the interview and google each and every questions asked.


    I had notes last time. I think they ended up hurting more than helping. I hated it because it was a really simple interview. The questions were 1. Tell me about yourself, 2. Why are you interested in this position, 3. What experience do you have related to x, x, and x specifically within this position, and 4. Where do you see yourself in 3 and 5 years. And yes it was over after 4 questions.

    Thanks for the advice guys. Maybe I should drink to calm the nerves haha. I think it would just jumble up my thoughts even more though.


    when they say "tell me about urself"
    they ain't lookin to hear ur whole life story. Start by talking about ur education. Do u have a degree? then talk about another position you've had and what u accomplished in that position. Did u work on any special projects? Achieve any specific goals? Continue talking about urself in a work related sense. Maybe talk about a time when u overcame an obstacle at a previous place of employment.

    why are u interested in the position?
    Tell them that you know a lot about XYZ and that you really like the organization. Tell them that this position is a good fit. Stress the importance of your love of the work in that position and u like what the organization stands for and has accomplished. Dont talk about the money....benefits, etc.
  • KissTheSky

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    May 24, 2012 3:56 AM GMT
    Interviews tend to get easier the more you do them.
    So the worst is already over.

    BTW, you can kick things off with some "small talk" yourself, which might relax everyone involved. When they say, "how are you," you can reply with some chit-chatty comment about the weather or something you did earlier in the day, as an ice breaker of sorts. This helps establish you as friendly and normal/not crazy. icon_smile.gif

    Good luck!
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    May 24, 2012 4:02 AM GMT
    wolfpackbuddy said
    Import saidhave ur laptop open during the interview and google each and every questions asked.


    I had notes last time. I think they ended up hurting more than helping. I hated it because it was a really simple interview. The questions were 1. Tell me about yourself, 2. Why are you interested in this position, 3. What experience do you have related to x, x, and x specifically within this position, and 4. Where do you see yourself in 3 and 5 years. And yes it was over after 4 questions.

    Thanks for the advice guys. Maybe I should drink to calm the nerves haha. I think it would just jumble up my thoughts even more though.


    Those are pretty standard questions asked during phone interviews. However, don't feel bad if it ends sooner rather than later. A lot of times it's a screening to see off the bat to see if a candidate is a good fit for the position or not.

    When we do our phone screenings at my company, we generally look for what their intentions are. General things we like to hear are long term commitments, wanting to grow, expand, etc, and whether or not they have the basic knowledge of the types of skills I expect them to have for the intended role.

    You can be very cool and comfortable, but if I'm looking for a potential leader, and they say something like, "I'm just looking for a 9-5 job to pay the bills while I write my novel", then they're really not what I'm looking for. Nothing wrong with their intentions though.
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    May 24, 2012 4:55 AM GMT
    I had a job interview where the employee had his laptop open and typing while I'm trying to talk. Turns out this company was not doing...very well anyway, dodged a bullet.

    My career path has armed me with several hours of interesting stories/situations that I faced in previous companies. But, I have to keep in mind that I am there to figure out what they need and to convey that I am the right person for the job. Not talk about previous nightmares or personality conflicts

    Two questions I was surprised by: why did you leave your last job And, how would you calculate the total number of calories contained in all the beverages in an aisle of a grocery store.

    They wanted to watch me think out loud and assess my meeting presentation skills.

    Finally, if you have to interact with support people, like Secretaries... some companies actually factor in your interaction with them in the hiring decision. If she is on the phone after the meeting as you turn your badge in, wait for her to finish then thank her for her support. Or, she will viciously throw you under the bus as soon as the elevator door closes.

    Don't ask.

    Good luck.
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    May 24, 2012 5:07 AM GMT
    wolfpackbuddy said
    Import saidhave ur laptop open during the interview and google each and every questions asked.


    I had notes last time. I think they ended up hurting more than helping. I hated it because it was a really simple interview. The questions were 1. Tell me about yourself, 2. Why are you interested in this position, 3. What experience do you have related to x, x, and x specifically within this position, and 4. Where do you see yourself in 3 and 5 years. And yes it was over after 4 questions.

    Thanks for the advice guys. Maybe I should drink to calm the nerves haha. I think it would just jumble up my thoughts even more though.


    If they're doing it right, you will face a lot of questions that you need to address. Taking Notes during the interview helps.

    If I don't take notes, I either forget due to nerves, or I end up interrupting people. They have to see if you are a good fit for the group (good communication and interpersonal skills) and see if you can step in and do the job, even though sometimes they aren't able to verbally describe their needs. Frequently, the manager is looking for someone Not like themselves. Some are good at finding that. Some aren't.

    There are seminars given in the Seattle area on interviewing skills. No one formula is going to work for every interviewer. Some like eye contact, some are offended by it. Observe the interviewer's personality and adjust your style to build a strong connection with them or something along those lines.

    Personally, sometimes the decision is frequently made during the first 15-30 seconds of meeting you.
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    May 24, 2012 5:41 AM GMT
    I had a few phone interviews a year or so ago. It was the first time I had done one.

    Before you go into the interview, write about yourself. Why do you want the job? What are your strengths? Weaknesses? Any questions you want to ask them? Have those as your reminder notes about yourself - they will come in handy.

    When they ask questions, jot down key words from the question. That way, if you forget what they have asked, you can try and get back on track. Remember that they cant see you, so they cant get visual clues that you may not know what the questions means, or you're floundering, so don't be shy to ask them to clarify a question.

    I think you can still have the meaningless chit chat on a phone interview. "How's the weather where you are?" etc etc.

    Good luck icon_smile.gif
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    May 24, 2012 5:52 AM GMT
    stand up during the call...peoples voices are different from sitting to standing. good luck
  • Webster666

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    May 24, 2012 5:53 AM GMT
    The people who conduct the interviews are the problem.
    The questions they ask do not get the desired responses.
    So, they think that this person is the wrong person for the job.

    "Tell me about a time when you made a stupid mistake that almost bankrupted the company, but then, you pulled a miracle out of your ass, saved the day, and ended up getting a promotion, a bonus, and a company car."

    WTF ?
    You stupid ass.
    You don't deserve to have an award winning employee, like me.

    Lucky for me, most of the jobs I've had, I got after taking a written test.
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    May 24, 2012 5:54 AM GMT
    Webster666 said"Tell me about a time when you made a stupid mistake that almost bankrupted the company, but then, you pulled a miracle out of your ass, saved the day, and ended up getting a promotion, a bonus, and a company car."
    I would say "we don't have enough time to discuss those moments, but I'd be happy to brag about one or two of them if it'll make you happy."
  • BIG_N_TALL

    Posts: 2190

    May 24, 2012 5:55 AM GMT
    I personally think phone interviews are worse than in-person interviews, but maybe it's just me. I've gotten so accustomed to giving speeches in front of 40+ people and one-on-one meetings, that I think phone interviews strip me of the body language and facial infliction factors.