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How to avoid interviewitis

A professionally crafted resume helps place you in front of an individual or panel of interviewers. So far, so good, but now is the moment when this condition can occur. It’s when an excess of nerves gets in the way of normal human behaviour. Here’s an extreme example – it is true, was witnessed, although you might still not believe it.

At the start of an interview for a post as personal assistant to a training manager, the candidate was asked one question. This was still being answered, without any seeming pauses for breath, thirty-one minutes later! Eighteen minutes in (by now an observer to the interview was consulting a stopwatch) the candidate said: “I’ve been for so many interviews over the last few months, yet never seem to get the job and I really don’t know why…”

This is an extreme example of tongue functioning separately from brain – and in two ways. Firstly, by being unable to stop talking; secondly, by providing screen-me-out information. Both are prime examples of ways that “interviewitis” can scupper your chances of being considered for a job where you should be a high-chance candidate.

It’s easy to say “relax” but it often isn’t that kind of situation. This can be equally true for both sides to such interviews. Nerves will always play a part, it’s finding ways to control them that sets you above other candidates.

A simple nerve-reducing starting point

Know how you want the interview to progress. Take the time to analyse exactly what you want to say, the questions you’d like to ask, the awkward ones you may have to answer. Without it being overly obvious, you are making a sales pitch where the product is you. Appreciating your objective, and the process you’d like to follow to get there, is particularly useful if the person interviewing you isn’t great at this job. In many cases, this may be true simply because they are not professional interviewers. This is a task that forms a very small part of their many work activities. Therefore, where necessary, you are ready to gently steer the interview along, increasing your confidence and helping them out. However major or minor this activity on your part needs to be, your control of nerves and steering of the situation will help present you in the best-possible light – part of that crucial journey from resume to hire.

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