Many of us have serious reservations about job interviews. I can assure you that I do, as well. My reasons for concern may be a bit more complicated than yours. (For example, they can serve as an excruciatingly poor selection tool if implemented unwisely). However, your reasons for hating interviews are every bit as valid. I’ll venture to say that most likely -— you dislike interviews because of how the interview — or the interview process makes you feel. You are not alone.
I am extremely sympathetic — but let’s go out on that limb and help you face your concerns (and your emotions). I’d like to challenge your mindset and train you to approach the entire experience differently. You see, the funny thing is, that as much as I have always questioned the true merit of employment interviews — I’ve never hated being interviewed. I’m convinced that my lack of hatred has everything to do with how I view the process. More specifically, accepting the things that probably will not change about interviews, and re-categorizing the experience as one tremendous opportunity.
Here is what I mean:
- Embrace being “judged”. While being interviewed, people will certainly form opinions concerning your skills, abilities and even your personal demeanor. Tell yourself that is just fine — remembering that when people cross your path you do exactly the same thing. During the course of your career, managers and coworkers will make judgments about you on a daily basis. So what? Convince yourself to view each of these judgments as a challenge to effectively build your unique “brand”.
- Be astute and “try on” the organization. Remember — this may be the company that you will be working for on a regular basis. This is a future relationship. Be thankful you have the chance to gather as much information as possible. Take the opportunity to size up leadership and where the organization is really headed. What is your impression? Do you see yourself working there? Getting a bad vibe? Explore this — as it may be the only forewarning you’ll receive.
- Say “thank you” to organizations behaving badly. Has the organization not acted as you would have expected? Unprofessional? No follow-up? Don’t let these behaviors derail you. Welcome this type of behavior as a clear and present warning. If an organization doesn’t seem to show concern for you from the start, this is most likely a glimpse into your future. I am reminded of Maya Angelou’s discussion with Oprah, where she explained, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” The same premise extends to an organization. Unless there is some remarkable explanation as to why they have not bothered to contact you (for a month), be grateful for the realistic preview and run in the opposite direction.
- Accept ambiguity. Even though there was an ever-present possibility that the outcome wouldn’t go in my favor, I tried to embrace the opportunity to be interviewed. Unfortunately, “not knowing” is simply part of the process. But to be completely honest, the world of work is full of ambiguity. It is best to adjust to it and attempt to remain positive while you are waiting. Nothing is set in stone after you complete an interview — but at the same time, this makes the possibilities endless.
If you change your view of employment interviews, you may have an easier time processing the accompanying negative emotions. I’d like to guarantee that the experience will be easier for you to handle in the future. However, that is at least partially up to you.
This post previously appeared at Talent Zoo