In the last 7 days, I have been through the interview mill and used every last ounce of energy to make sure I am the ‘perfect’ candidate. But (yes there is a but) – it has sent my nerves to bits! Here are the 3 obstacles I am challenging myself to leap over like the god of all athletes.
Giving myself enough time to get ready and feel jazzy!
One thing I seem to always do is NEVER leave myself enough precious minutes to get ready. It is almost as though in the mornings my mildly decent grasp of time management ceases to exist and suddenly I decide that 3 minutes is actually half an hour. Now that ratio goes NOWHERE.
I move like a sloth lost in the realms of a forest, searching for the brush with no urgency considered. I wearily turn the light on as my boyfriend is in his marathon slumber. This is followed by him weakly going ‘whhhhhhy’. I make my breakfast as though caught in a slow-motion dream, buttering my toast as if I were Monet with a blank canvas. As relaxing and tranquil as this morning sounds- I then rush like a Bengal cat after a cat-nip filled toy mouse trying to make myself look less like an eerie disheveled woman from a horror film (had the Woman in Black in mind, good old Jeanette Humphries) and more like an actual presentable, potential and proper trendy (I use the word trendy with conviction, I think its cool) employee.
SO I have begun to give.myself.tiiiiiimeeeeeeeeeeeee. How you ask? Well my fine fellow, by doing one very simple thing. Can you guess? Here we go…
Getting an early night!!
Put the phone aside, do the opposite to Joseph and his technicolor Dreamcoat and pull the curtains SHUT. Have a shower or a bath and knock out some Grammy worthy vocals to accompany the smell of head and shoulders because this month you couldn’t afford Garnier (don’t worry I’ve been there and am currently there, there isn’t anything wrong with 2 in 1). Decide what book you want to begin gracing the pages of, or the series that you’ve longed to kick back and indulge in- for me, it’s currently a split between Travelman: 48 hours with and Gavin and Stacey so admittedly I take a wild risk and alternate oooooh. Then get an early night so you’ve treated yourself to 7 hours (or whatever your preferred quota is, knock ya self out).
Therefore, you are able to get up relatively early and split the time before that desperately longed for interview, so that breakfast’s nice, and getting ready is calm. You’ll turn up feeling just a sprinkle more self-assured and ready to rock those inquisitive questions and begin to stop the shaky legs. You’ll turn up feeling like you. And as cliche, as it sounds- really, that’s the best you can be!!
I don’t have much time! Even so, a squeezed in practice makes… you feel more confident!
I have to own up to you here and shamefully admit, I am a natural rusher. My first instinct is to build Rome in a day. If I like a drawing- become a famous artist overnight. If I enjoy tennis- beat Andy Murray the next morning. And for interview prep? This furious and frantic rushing is a NO GO.
I am not nearly educated enough to be giving solid advice on how to go and get an extraordinary job role where you can climb up the career ladder like a spider on pro plus. But this is purely from personal experience!
I am actually quite proud to say that in the last month my job applications have taken almost a boot camp of some sort so that they are clear, appropriate and really bloody succinct. But its taken me a few amazingly major boo boo’s to steer my interview prep in the right direction. So, you get the interview and you’ve got a few days. Let’s say its face to face and this interview is just the final step before the dream job (whatever that may be!). Dare I say they want you to get ready for C O M P E T E N C Y Q U E S T I O N S. Now the first time I was asked to do this, I took it v literally and just believed that I had to sound like I was competent. Naively, I didn’t think to do the golden research. If I had I’d have discovered the STAR response. Just for those of you who are currently faced with the competency challenges, the STAR response is v appropriate to apply and I’ll pop a helpful link below! I didn’t really prep at all, and needless to say, I didn’t get the role and I felt sincerely disappointed. More at myself. For goodness sake, I didn’t even practice the ALL IMPORTANT handshake!
Do it! Practice every part, sit ya Mum/Dad/Fave person down and role play the sh*t out of what you believe the interview to be like! Practice how you’ll take your coat off, and where you’ll hide your phone (word of advice, knock the alarms off if they pop in the interview or the sweats will become an almighty wave). Repeat sentences as many times as you like! This sacred run through will ease your worry even by a minuscule amount, and in some weird way- you may feel like you have a better idea of what to eagerly expect!
Word of warning: do this with someone sensible, whenever acting out the interview with Mum, she falls into an unhealthy state of laughter and it’s all t*ts up from there. Cheers Mum.
I didn’t get the last job and now, to be honest, I feel like crap…
Self-doubt. Who do you think you are?
Now, this is most likely mine and many others biggest challenge. Fighting the defeated emotions from the outcome of the previous interviews, of which was a half-hearted email saying for the 50th time ‘There were others’. It can leave you feeling pretty damn hopeless, and woefully feeling whats the point?
Out of desperation, I’ve developed a type of resilience that has begun to make that interview NO less impacting and more helpful. So I don’t attend my brand spanking new interview with the echo of sorrow from the day before, I have set myself the challenge to email back each time asking for feedback to rectify and learn from the experience. I really struggle with No’s and they make me want to cry (I’m a crier anyway, like a Bridget Jones sob), but when you ask for feedback, most employers are willing to help and you manage to find a positive and proactive spin.
You change what felt like having got nowhere, to work in progress.
From there on out, self-doubt can ride the backseat and your own determination can change the gears whilst you, yourself, drives! Doubt is the biggest factor for my tired eyes, dodgy tum, and severe shakes prior to an interview. It’s something to work on, just take it easy and with each no, as I do, you can just take it as a ‘not yet’.
Walk into your interview with your head held higher than the fancy old Shard (a London skyscraper with v fancy toilets). Believe in every ounce of your being and take those strides to ask for ‘Mr.Fancypants’ with conviction. Yeah, it might be a ‘no’ and yeah, it could be the 5th one in a row.
But we’re trying, right? And that to me, is halfway there!
If you have an interview coming up, all the luck in the world you beautiful thing. I’ve got one each day for a week now and one thing I’ll be doing?
Not shaking at the knees!
Link to the STAR response: