Interviews schminterviews

As you can probably tell from the title of this post, I don’t like interviews. They are definitely not my friends. This is, of course, because I’m not very good at them.

I do the things you’re supposed to do in terms of preparation – I go through the job description and person specification and make sure that I’ve got something to say about each point, I research the organisation, I try and find out about things I don’t already know much about – this time I even read a whole book about cataloguing, which I do know about, but I did it anyway, just in case – I pick my outfit carefully, I arrive well in time, I actually feel OK, but then the interview starts…

…and my brain empties itself of knowledge and I lose the ability to speak coherently. I waffle, I forget things I know perfectly well, so I waffle some more, talking around the subject in the hope that I might say something the interviewers want to hear. I can’t think of anything to say so I just sit there looking at the table (there’s usually a table of some kind) until the interviewers take pity on me and prompt me or ask me another question. This last time, I was so relieved that we’d reached the end of the interview that I forgot my carefully prepared list of questions to ask and didn’t even think to ask the panel when I could expect to hear back – I usually remember to do that, at least!

Not an interview
Not an interview

Bizarrely, it seems like the more preparation I do, the worse I perform in the interview, so perhaps I’m over-thinking things – quelle surprise, this is me, after all. Or perhaps (and I think this is probably more the case) I need to practice the interview itself, as in literally have a pretend interview, beforehand, because it’s the actual thinking on the spot, speaking and expressing myself verbally that I find difficult. You will again be unsurprised to learn that I might also be a bit nervous. I’m not sure what I can do about this, especially as I don’t feel nervous until it’s too late and I’m in the interview room! Sigh.

It’s all very frustrating. But the above points fade almost into insignificance behind one major problem: I (usually, though not always) don’t really believe I’m good enough to get the job. I gradually lose confidence in myself the further the application process goes on. I write my application, and I feel OK about it. I can write words about myself. I might even believe them. Then I get offered an interview. I prepare. But then I get into the room and I have to talk about myself and explain why I want the job, and tell people about things I’ve done well, etc., ad nauseum, and I can’t do it. Nervousness plays a big part, but I think if I believed in myself a bit more I could get over that or use it in some way.

So, it comes down to lack of confidence. This is what stops me from jumping, not just in terms of jobs, but in lots of other areas of my life. Of course, this is [probably] not news to anyone who’s read this blog before, and it’s definitely not news to me, but I still don’t know what the answer is. However, I’ve been successful at interviews before, and I’ve certainly done better interviews in the past, so all is not lost.


7 thoughts on “Interviews schminterviews

  1. this makes me sad! i can totally relate, though. i get insanely nervous before an interview. i’ve learned not to prepare too much, to power pose before and after the interview (sounds dumb, but it works! read more here: and to write down the points i want to make and take the notes with me into the interview– librarians have actually been ok with that tactic in my experience. hope it helps!

    1. Hi Melanie,

      Thanks for the advice and for sharing the video – very interesting. I might try taking in some notes next time – at least it would help me if I forget what I wanted to say. Might need to work up to power posing… 🙂

  2. I think you are probably right that lack of confidence is the main stumbling block.

    One thing that might be a good idea if you are nervous at interviews would be to bring a portfoilo with you of examples of work you have done in the past. That is what my daughter does. She says it gives her something to focus on and something to do with her hands!

    Also if you plan your answers in advance, anticipating every single question they could possibly ask you you will feel very prepared!

    A good idea is to try to make the interview like a conversation and to illustrate it with little stories of situations you have handled well. What the problem was and how well you resolved it 🙂

    Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses which need matching to the job. For example I recently had an operation. The consultant was obviously brilliant but not particularly patient at explaining things. The nurses were not as clever as the consultant but a lot more patient. They were all in the right jobs.

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