Why Do I Get So Nervous During a Job Interview?

I just found “why do I get so nervous during job interview?” among the search terms used to get to this blog.  In fact, there have been quite a few of you looking for help with job interview nerves.  Clearly, being really stressed out by the interview process is not an isolated problem. (To say the least.)

So why do job interviews make us feel really nervous, even if we know we’d be great for the job? A good question indeed. I’ll do my best to come up with some answers – and offer tips to help you fight those annoying interview nerves that may be getting in the way of you getting an offer.

First, let me restate the obvious…job interviews are stressful by nature. None of us like to give up control to others when it comes to something as important as your career. And almost everyone gets interview nerves to one extent or another when they interview – sometimes even the interviewer us nervous!

I hope it helps to learn that most interviewers expect you to be at least a little nervous. But for some of us, the mere thought of being on the answer end of an interview question makes our nerves run wild – way beyond a little nervous! And that can be a problem.

Actors are usually told to take their nerves and turn them into performance energy. It would be great if we could do this in interviews (and it’s worth trying), but then again we don’t get to rehearse our exact words the way actors do.  ;-) For most of us, the only thing we gain from a bad case of interview nerves is a strong desire to run! ;-)

Worst of all…as much as we want to gain control of ourselves and our nerves during an interview, the more we try to control our nerves, the less relaxed we are. But of course what we want more than anything during interviews is to relax and just be ourselves. Luckily there are some things we can do to help. But first let’s answer the question I found…

Why do you get so nervous during job interviews?

  • It’s scary and uncomfortable being judged.
  • It’s scary and uncomfortable being the focus and having to come up with good answers for whatever they ask you.
  • You don’t know what they’re going to ask.
  • You don’t know for sure if what you say is a good answer.
  • You don’t like talking about yourself.
  • You don’t feel comfortable “selling” yourself.
  • You don’t interview every day and so you aren’t sure you know how to do it well.
  • You really need a job.
  • You worry that if you don’t get this job there may not be another chance any time soon.
  • You worry that you’ll sound stupid.
  • You worry there’s something about you or your background they’ll hate.
  • You have no idea exactly what they’re looking for.
  • You hate the idea of being rejected based on just one short meeting.
  • You think you have to be more than you are.

Getting past interview fear and calming your nerves!

Luckily there are ways to help you get enough past the fear to still give a great interview despite your nerves. Actors for instance use those nerves to motivate a more energized and exciting performance. No reasons you can’t do that too!

First and foremost, it helps to demystify that which we can’t control. So make sure to give yourself get a better understanding of the hiring process in general – including what goes on behind the scenes. Add to that stronger interview skills, a belief in yourself and your abilities, and a clear picture of how you match what the employer is looking for and you have a winning combo!

To help with all that here are some posts from the Work Coach Cafe archives. Hopefully they can help you calm at least some of those interview nerves while also improving your interview skills and chances (more tips below these links):

Job Interview Questions and Answers

What’s Your Greatest Strength?

What’s Your Greatest Weakness?

Where Do You See Yourself Five Years from Now?

Handling Some Tough Interview Questions

Explaining Why You Left the Last Job So Soon

How Do I Interview After Being Fired?

How Do I Explain Dropping Out of Law School?

Job Interview Tips

15 Things I Look for When I Interview People

Job Interviews: Practical Tips to Help You Ace That Job Interview

The Single Most Important Thing in Any Job Interview

Please Help Me Ace My Phone Interview!

The Hiring Process: Behind the Scenes 

Who the Heck is Screening Your Resume?

What the Heck Goes On Behind the Scenes After a Job Interview?

10 Impressions You Leave Behind After a Job Interview

~~~

A Few Simple Tips to Help Fight Those Interview Nerves

And finally, if you don’t feel like reading any of those posts (although I hope you read at least a few of them since they give a more detailed understanding that can really help), here are a few quick tips I hope will at least help calm some of those interview nerves:

  • Do some relaxation exercises the night before, when you wake up the morning of the interview, and right before the interview. Gentle, slow deep breathing (in four, hold seven, out eight) is a very good way to help relax your body.
  • Visualize the interview going well and everyone smiling and shaking hands afterward. (You may want to do this a few times prior to the actual interview day.)
  • Practice interviewing beforehand with the help of friends and/or family. Practice a lot until you start to feel more comfortable talking about yourself.
  • Research the company as much as possible to help you feel on top of things and answer intelligently. This will also help you come up with good questions to ask.
  • Prepare stories ahead of time that speak to the employer’s needs and not simply toward your wants or interests.  (Best of all is when they coincide.)
  • Now that you’ve done all that, on the day of the interview…trust in yourself and let it all go. It’s already inside you and will be there when you need it. Remember to
    • Be in the moment (not thinking ahead or about what was just said)
    • Listen carefully to what you’re asked
    • Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification if you need it
    • And most of all just be yourself. (I know from my own experience as an interviewer, this will help make the interview better for everyone.)

Just remember: You are fine exactly as you are and have things to offer your potential employer that no one else can. Your only job during the interview is to help them see who you really are. You don’t have to be anyone else.

If nothing else works: Give yourself permission to fail. That’s right…tell yourself it’s ok if you answer every single question completely wrong and come out looking like a complete idiot. You might also tell yourself this is just practice and it doesn’t really matter to help ease some of the tension. Then just say “what the hell”, be yourself, and go for it!

I know this sounds crazy – and easier to say than do – but I guarantee you’ll come off looking more natural and more interesting than if you go in all stiff and self-conscious trying so hard to be perfect – especially since you have no idea what that really means to them! Spontaneous and relaxed are a powerful team once you’ve prepared ahead of time and know who you are.

And anyway…who wants to work for a boss who is so uptight you’re afraid to be yourself. ;-)

Well…that’s all for now. Good luck finding a job that’s right for you!

~ Ronnie Ann

 

About the author…

Ronnie Ann, founder of Work Coach Cafe, bases her real-world advice on her many years as an organizational consultant where she helped interview and hire people, added to a certificate from NYU in Career Planning & Development and her own adventures as a serial job seeker. She can also be found on her new blog, and on Google+.

Comments

  1. HI Chandlee,
    I really really need a job. I have 2 job interviews right now. One looks good but this is a client who was very negliant in not getting back to my candidacy via another vendor.
    But I was persistent and went to another vendor and they got me in and I am making headway but the rate is not high at all with no benefits.
    The work in great but the rate is so low and a conract rate. The other option is to wait out Interview #2 and see what my options are between the two. I cannot wait any longer though I am desperate for a job finanancially.

    I don’t want to pressure interview #2 yet to make a decision. I am asking interview #1 to wait a day.

    Even though the rate is low worse case scenario shoudl I take it? I think so as its temp. and I could move on.. with that experience in a few months.

    What do you think?

    • Jiajue,

      Not sure what you mean by interviews and offers — if you have an offer, let the other employer know you have know and tell them when you need to report back.

      If the rate is lower than is ideal but you need some money, get started working and keep your eyes open.

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

      • Thank you very much for responding. I did just that. I let the other firm know they are my preference but I have another offer. They were very receptive.

  2. Hi Chandlee,
    I told the preferred firm that had another offer and but I’m still interested in them as my first preference. Guess what they did. Intially they said to me last week that they wanted me to come in again and conduct another round of interviews but with people who don’t even have work in my area. I had interviewed with everyone twice already. Recruiter called me today that they are not moving forward with the last round! Only because I told them I had another offer???

    I asked the recruiter what the real reason was and he had no reason. He wanted to stay in touch as the other practice grows. What this sounds like is just ego on their perspective.

    Luckily I have the other opportunity to fall back on but what losers to do that. The management is primarily very aggressive males. The one female was awesome but I think they are full of themselves if they do that.

    They are extremely picky in who they select. I went from Please come in to interview to We don’t want you to come in at all because you told us you have another offer. Sounds immature to me.

    What do you think? I think its very immature.
    Thanks,

  3. Also, my intuition tells me that they may have not had the roles that they claim to have which is why they are leading me on to multiple interviews. That’s all I think of in terms of why they would just drop someone like that. The recruiter on the other hand wants to stay in touch as they develop the dept. that I fit in.

    • JiaJue,

      Ah, how frustrating. If you have the firm’s direct contact information you may want to follow up with them directly. Let them know you were saddened by their decision as they were your first choice firm but that you certainly understand.

      On the whole, it’s entirely possible that the decision has nothing to do with you but rather that they aren’t ready to hire just yet for business reasons. If you can, don’t see going with the other offer as a sign of weakness — see all this interest in you as something to feel good about.

      Good luck,
      Chandlee

      • Thank you so much for your feedback. You are providing a lot of support and advice which is very helpful!! I agree with you.

        Appreciate it!

  4. Additionally, I think this all depends on how the HR recruiter I told conveyed the information to the hiring managers. I told him specifically to state that my choice was that company. Whether or not he did I have no idea but he did call and let me know they are moving on. he doen’t appear negliant or dumb so I would give him the benefit of the doubt that he said that.

    In my past experience once, I had a recruiter mess up the conversation with the client because of what he conveyed to the client.

    I hate 3rd party communications.

  5. Hi Chandlee,
    Quick question,
    I was in an interview and the partner said to me in a deragatory way “You have to sell yourself” and you cannot just sell the framework or model”. To me, this sounded so weird. I am a female. I have never in my career heard this type of commentary from anyone or in an interview. It’s understood in a consulting services we are selling ourselves and robotics or robots don’t exist. The work doesn’t get done by robots. The partner is a Asian conservative male and possibly grew up in Asia. TO me it made sense the commentary could be cultural. He was also running in and out of the conference room and he was the only one as if he was in Hong Kong or something. This is all a way of showing authority.. Weakness in my point of view.
    I felt like throwing up after the interview. I’m glad I didn’t get the job. Did he cross the line? I think so. In American business culture we don’t say things like that..

    • Hi Mikal,

      As I wasn’t in the interview and didn’t hear how he said it, I can’t possibly say what he meant by that — especially since I don’t know the tone of voice he used or have a sense of what you are applying for. Perhaps what he meant was that you have to say what makes you unique and how you offer value as an individual — not as a member of the team.

      It sounds to me like the two of you simply didn’t connect. That happens sometimes, and it sounds like you may not have been a good fit for working together due to your different styles. No matter how you feel now, I think it’s much less painful to find this out in the interview process than it is later on after you get the offer.

      Good luck!

      All the Best,
      Chandlee

      • Hi Chandlee,
        Thank you!!!! Yes, I didn’t like him at all!!! I usually don’t dislike the interviewer that much so I do think his soft skills are off. Most interviewers try to make the interviewee feel comfortable as possible. What’s interesting is that this firm sent me a HR questionaire via email for ethnic and sex survey on hiring.. Hmmm. I’m glad I didn’t get that job.

        best,

        • Mikal,

          Hope you do get a job you like! A bad interviewer can be a sign of a bad supervisor later.

          Good luck and all the best,
          Chandlee

  6. Hi Chandlee,
    Well, remember the role with the offer that I had. Well, now the hiring manager is saying that they want to interview me again. So, what they said about offering closing is not closing yet. The recruiter is continually contacting this hiring manager who was supposed to call me today and he hasn’t called and is going on vacation. I wish I had known accurately from the recruiter that this hiring manager is so unprofessional and cannot make a decision. I let a good opportunity go by telling the other firm I had an offer and mid interviews they indicated they weren’t interested. What is wrong with these people???

    The reality is that the project won’t start until he approves the headcount and me so the ball is in his court and he cannot make a decision sounds like.. This is disgusting but I have this lined up now.

    In the meantime, I will continue to look at have two other interviews lined up.. This is a horrible situation. What I’ve learned is that never push a client to make a decision by telling them you have an offer!

    • Also, my intution is telling me that this indecisive hiring manager is a little scared of hiring someone who may have a lot of experience. The irony is that I interviewed with him before and he never got back to that vendor and now a new vendor who is tasked with getting the resources presented me to him again and he’s being a slacker again.. . Just a guess on the behaviorial issues as it makes no sense.

      Time will tell as now he has no way out now. He has to provide a response.

  7. Chandlee,
    I’m trying to win a job interview/offer back. I dropped out of the running becauas I needed more time to think it through.. I was scared. I went back to the recruiter and the firm indicated that they want to wait unitl Jan. to open it up .I did email the hiring manager asking for “forgiveness” and to jump back in.
    The problem is this recuiter is not good at the facilitation and fighting for my candidacy…so I emailed the hiring maanger directly….It’s a lot of money.. He should work for it.
    I can only ask them once let’s see what they say…

    THanks for your help.

  8. Hi – I need some advice please. I had an interview with 6 scheduled folks and at teh end the hiring manager added in more. What I didn’t get is that the hiring manager when I first brought into his office. He just started rattling off and writing on the board and when I started to speak he wasn’t focusing on what I’m saying as he was pounding on his blackberry. Bad manners but he did say he was checking so that I didn’t miss my next meeting.

    Then after my last interview he wanted to meet with me again and talk more and then he spoke and rattled off and then when I started to speak he kept looking at his time on his watch. Somethiing tells me this guy has attention deficient or ADD. He ran off to a meeting and then his 5 direct reports came in… He also mentioned the 90 day starting off working well.. etc.

    All looks postive but I couldn’t understand the lack of attention.. ALL the other interviewers looked extremely interested and he showed me where the coffee room was.. so the statement at the end was we’ll be in touch…. Sounds like he’s interested by adding in his other reports but maybe he’s proceeding with caution..

  9. Ok , I was right he wasn’t interested.. Sounds like he never was interested the first minute I walked in the door but wasted everyone’s time.. including his own and his staff.. The Personality did not connect.

    Plus his staff indicated they worked on the weekends sometimes which sounded like the dept. is not being managed effectively. Sounds unusual.

    Glad I didn’t get it.

  10. Hello there: Chandlee,
    I have a basic question regarding consulting interviewing. I’m finding my interviews are asking consulting questions that would normally be chargeable time for valuable information. They are using the interviews for free consulting advice. I am answering the questions to be polite but at some point I have to state and if you hire me I can advise further. They are asking me how they should organizationally manage certain work.. etc. But, the twist is they don’t hire me. What is going on?

    Knowledge is the world’s biggest commodity.

    Thank you for your time.
    Shane

    • Shane,

      Consulting is tricky; if you are applying with large companies you should not be running into this challenge. If you are running into the problem, perhaps you could answer part of the question — and then say “I’d use _________, ____________, and ___________ to analyze the issue and prepare recommendations if hired.” (insert technologies, techniques, or consulting research methods in ________.)

      Good luck and all the very best,
      Chandlee

  11. Hello:
    I could use your advice. I have committed to a 3 month project and this was hard to get and now I have an employer with a good company who is interested in hiring me into a permanent role.

    I still have to go through the interviews but he wants me to join quickly. I could spread the interviews out. I told him I am committed to a 3 month project. I will try my best to end earlier..

    How do I keep him interested and also not lose credability with the other firm by bailing out of the proejct early? Also, in this market I need to take care of myself and take the perm. job.

    Thanks.Chan

  12. Hi Chandlee

    I enjoyed reading your blog about nervous at interviews, and related to it all! I panic so much in past interviews last one being 6 years back. I have now got a business interview to become a franchisee with a global brand and I really want to work with the business. I am really worried that I will mess it up at the interview, as my mind tends to go blank and I go red faced which is such a give away! Do business interviews differ from job interviews? Are they more relaxed or should I expect the same kind of stress questions? I am not sure if I should take past business performance i.e like account figures with me? Or some kind of presentation?

    Thanks
    Kay

    • chandlee says:

      Kay,

      Ask in advance if there are any materials you should bring to the interview. As for the nerves thing, do something that relaxes you in advance — i.e. a hot bath, a massage, soothing music, etc.

      Remind yourself that you will be fine if the arrangement doesn’t go smoothly…and when they ask you what you’re not good at — you can always say “interviewing” and then talk about how you are a better < >.

      Good luck and all the best,
      Chandlee

  13. I need some advice. I had an internal interview today which I was really looking forward to ..it had all the offerings of my dream job.

    I was dressed correctly, feeling good and I arrived 5 minutes early and no one else was there. There were three people interviewing me and one arrived on time, one five minutes late and then another 10 minutes later which kept disrupting the flow of the conversation and my train of thought. Is this some kind of tactic or just people being late?

    I brought my portfolio of work and began pulling out items to demonstrate what I had done. The pile got a bit messy and they asked me to stop pulling the materials out of my book and just to send them some pdfs. Was pulling the items out a mistake?

    They then asked me a peculiar question — what did I not like about working there … I stated, honestly, nothing as I loved working there and was only looking to use all of my abilities which this opportunity seemed to offer in the posting. What was the point of this question – is this a typical question?

    They then offered to answer my questions and five minutes into the discussion the hiring manager made a few comments about how the person they were looking for was not a jack of all trades and master of none .. he then got up, gave me a quick smile, mumbled he had another meeting – shook my hand and left. Should I interpret this to mean he was referring to me as not filling the bill?

    After he left the other two said if I had more questions I could stay and they would answer them however, I was a bit shaken by his parting comment and abrupt departure and simply asked about next steps. I picked up my samples, made small talk for a moment, shook their hands, expressed my keen interest in the job, thanked them and left.

    Upon reflection I admit I may not have answered their questions as thoroughly or as brilliantly as I could have (nerves) but I came in feeling confident and left not feeling so good.

    I’m not sure how to interpret the items described above – are these some kind of new interview tactics or was this just a bad interview. I haven’t been on an interview in a while so I am a bit confused about how I should proceed with my thank you letter .. do I rebut some of the items mentioned above or ignore them and send the standard thank you and if I don’t get the job chalk it up as experience for the next one … thoughts?

    • Hi Soona,

      I wasn’t there and don’t know the people that you met with, so I can’t make any assumptions. That said, it doesn’t sound like a pleasant interviewing environment of that you felt that you were taken seriously. I recommend following up with a simple thank you note — let them know you are happy to send samples of your work in PDF format upon request.

      In the interim — as you wait to hear back — I would recommend that you keep looking. Sounds like it may be a dream job but not the right environment.

      All the Best,
      Chandlee

  14. Chandlee,

    I’ve read the whole thing and agreed whole heartedly. I just got interviewed for an internal position and my nerves got the better of my half way through and I ended up crying because of pure nerves. The interviewers were completely cool with this and we continued through the interview. They said things like, “this is right up your alley” and “great answer” throughout the whole interview. Were they just being polite or despite my nerves overtaking me midway did they genuinely like what I had to say?

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Tabby,

      Well, since I wasn’t there, I don’t know if they were being polite or genuinely liked what you said. My guess is probably a little of both, which is often the case in any interview. Those comments tend to calm nerves and help the job seeker to relax.

      I would continue to look for other jobs because a better one might be waiting for you. I would also try very hard not to cry in the next interview. With experience, you should be able to relax more, and it will be much easier to avoid crying.

      Good luck with your job search!
      Susan

  15. Good reading post. So far i’ve had 2 interviews (over 6 months) plus one this coming week, for perm positions and haven’t gotten anywhere (on contract atm looking for perm). Plus don’t know whether they will be able to extend my current contract (if my contract doesn’t renew then let it be). I’ve identified this as the main reason of me getting so nervous before a job interview, as there may not be another perm position time anytime soon and am focusing positions closer to home (at least considering a contract closer to home in the worst case scenario.)

    Vent over. Sorry about the rant.

  16. Hi Susan,
    Question; I was in a job interview and the hiring manager wanted to hire me and HR approved me as well. The issue was that when I interviewed with the VPs they asked me why I was applying and one walked out indicating I was not a fit. I had mentioned to them then why did the hiring manager indicate I was a fit and I was great for the growth of the company. This was a difference of opinion.

    I did mention all this to the talent acquisition. They invited me to interview with recommendation from the hiring manager. They were a bit astonished.

    The most ironic thing is that when I looked at the VPs linked in background it was almost identical to my background in management consulting which he was telling me was not a fit for the role:-) . This told me two things 1) I may be overqualified for the position and he knows that given the breadth of the experience. 2) They want someone to fit in a 2 by 2 within that role 3) Politics and ego

    It was quite disturbing and waste of the candidates time in terms of the organizational dysfunctionality.

    Hiring is so subjective. Who is right the hiring manger who thinks I’m a great fit or the VP who has the same background as I do who thinks I’m a bad fit.

    Interesting politics.

    Thanks,
    Ture

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Yes, Ture, hiring is VERY subjective and political, unfortunately! Perhaps the VP viewed you as a threat. Hard to tell what his problem was – as usual – maybe you remind him of someone in his past who made his life miserable.

      Thank the hiring manager for his/her time and encouragement and (if you want to work for this employer some day) to let you know when there is another opening. Perhaps that VP will be gone by then.

      Good luck with your job search!
      Susan

      • Thank you. Great answer Susan! He was an SVP. Well, I checked his background and he has worked in the same industry as I but for a competitive firm so you are right he knows I could be a potential threat . What was weird was he just walked out when I mentioned all my accomplishments. Thank you.

  17. Hi Susan!
    I have started a new role in an executive position. I work for a very Sr. Exec.who has asked me not to talk to specific people to get work done. He’s indicating that someone else should get in touch with that person..

    I am not sure why he is trying to limit my interaction with some folks when its part of my role to talk to everyone.. COuld this be a sign of insecurity? I think so. When I spoke up and mentioned that, I need to talk to them to do my job he keeps asking me “you are not in touch with this person are you”? Seems kind of freaky to me..

    I am a female and the others are all male.. What are really weird guy?

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Mandy,

      This does sound a bit odd, but sometimes there is something called a “chain of command” which needs to be respected. That basically means there is a hierarchy that is used. Sometimes that works well (in the military, for example), and sometimes it doesn’t.

      The other possibility is that your boss is in a vulnerable position – or feels that he is – so he’s afraid you will cause him problems by speaking directly with his peers (the chain of command issue). If he doesn’t want you talking directly with people who work for him or who are lower in the corporate hierarchy than he is, then that is pretty odd.

      Keep your antennas up and your LinkedIn Profile fresh.

      Good luck with this!
      Susan

      • Hi Susan,
        He’s trying to prevent me from talking to certain people but that didn’t last very long.
        But, he’s a really weird guy. Sometimes he requests that before I send out an email to someone and that he and another guy I work with review my email and then I can send it out and even a meeting request. . I said No twice and was direct. He appears to be backing off..

        We are in a modern age and people have started companies out of garages. Its the day of empowerment.. I feel sorry for him, because for someone at his level as VP to do that seems like he is soo insecure and has no life. So sad for a human being to spend time with that.

        What is wrong with these men? Again, I am the only woman in a Exec. role..

        • Susan P. Joyce says:

          Hi Mandy,

          It sounds like this guy is very insecure, and there are probably many things going on that you haven’t become aware of yet.

          If you don’t have any other great opportunities in your back pocket (and I’m assuming you don’t), put your 12 months in for this job, increasing your network very carefully, and then move on.

          Yes, some men are very uncomfortable with women in the executive suite, but as older me retire, it will get a bit easier – a bit! And some older me are great. It’s the personalities and the corporate culture.

          Think about questions you could have asked during the interview process that will enable you to avoid a similar situation in the future.

          Good luck with this situation!
          Susan

          • HI Susan,
            Yes, I’ve decided to start looking for another job.. It’s only been a month that I’ve been in this role but the “president” Supposedly executive has obsessive compulsive disorder.

            I don’t think he’s normal. The other day in a meeting he started the meeting attacking me about an email for HR calculations. Then, I stated wjhy are you asking me about a little calculation that’s HR’s responsibility.. I want to discuss the meeting deliverables that I was hired for. I realized that he was trying to undermine me and find any way to make himself feel better. He reacted very rudely by stating that I don’t have math skills and I did XYZ in my previous jobs….. I told him that if I work for him he better respect my skillset otherwise I won’t be there..

            The issue with him is mind games and control. I think I have proved my worth to much of the staff and he’s feeling very insecure. he spends 100% of his time on email analysis and does not speak on the phone.. He basically insulted me and why I have no reason.

            I don’t think he’s stable person. Nor does he have the breath of experience that is able to manage knowledge workers in the modern age. He’s quite sheltered and analyzing emails all day long..

            I hope I am making the right decision.. but the guys seems like a big loser. If I intimidated him my experience and knowledge that is a pretty insecure guy.. There is no sense in staying there because he will continue to attack me personally even when I’m doing well.

          • Susan P. Joyce says:

            Tough situation, Mandy. Sounds like leaving is the right move, hopefully soon, so this job is only a blip in your career.

            I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you!
            Susan

          • Hi Susan,
            I left right away. He started retailing. I was right he has obsessive compulsive disorder.. ..I’ll find something else. Thank you for your support. All my friends indicate I did the right thing. I will take your advice and ask more questions about mgt. style. One thing I have to watch out for is single middle aged men with no life. Its interesting in the interview process one guy who has worked with him told me he had kids and values work life balance. Another guy told me he has no kids and isn’t married. (I thought that was interesting how one person lied to get me onboard)

            People who are married and slightly older than me tend to be much happier but again depends on personal traits and professional behavorial issues. I will be more careful.
            Thank you again

  18. Hello Susan,

    I recently had a phone interview with a company where an old coworker currently works. I emailed the interviewer the next day to thank them and it has now been a week since the interview. I contacted my old coworker to see if there has been any movement with the hiring process of the position. They responded that the interviewer does want to bring me in for an in-person interview, but that I need some coaching first because I sounded naive during the phone interview so they asked my old coworker to coach me. What could this mean that I sounded naive? I have never been told that before. I get very nervous during any type of interview, so maybe this is why I came across that way. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thank you in advance!

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Mary,

      It would be great to get more insight into what was meant by “naive” particularly since you’ve never been told that before. It sounds to me like this might be the sign of bad “chemistry” between you and the person who thinks you are naive if you did work together. Or if that person is typical, it could be that this employer might not be a comfortable place for you to work.

      If you do get asked in for an interview, be sure to ask questions to find out about the “culture.” Also see if you can find out from your former coworker how happy that person is in the environment, and pick up any clues about how comfortable you would be there.

      Good luck with you job search!
      Susan

  19. hi i am a very nervous person when in a interview i not so nervous out and about it just when people look at you and it feels like they are looking through you anyway i have a telephone interview today and i have no idea what i am gonna say i aint even seen the person and i am scared i am never gonna get a job like this i would just like some tip on how i should speak and everything to do with the questions thanks

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Nicola,

      Most everyone is nervous in a job interview, and the people doing the interviewing usually expect that.

      Try to pretend that you are speaking with a new acquaintance.

      The best thing for you to do until the call is to practice answering some of the questions. That will help you feel less nervous and also help you prepare better answers. So, think about how you will answer questions like:

      * Phone interviews

      * Tell me about yourself.

      Be prepared and you’ll do fine. Worst case, you’ll have more practice with phone interviews and do better next time.

      Good luck with your job search!
      Susan

  20. Hello Susan,
    I want to ask you a question. I’m at a director level and was asked to do change mgt. at a company. When I brought my ideas into a forum of executives including my boss some of the managers esp. one over 56 years of age was trying to throw me under the bus. My own boss just looked on..

    Something told me that these guys (I was the only female and younger) felt somewhat intimidated by my efforts so soon. When I spoke with the 56 yr old private who ironically was an HR executive he said “you have to prove your creditability”.. I was going to say something smart back but he showed his weakness very well. In my mind, my mission was accomplished I had intimated him so much that he had to say that. My job requires me to do the follow and I’m paid for my services. End of discussion.

    In addition, he said you job is a piece of cake.. I was thinking sure it is.. If he is an HR VP at his old age how successful/smart might this guy really be..

    What amazed me, in all of this is how political he had made my job as the change agent and with road blocks. My boss and he were trying to block me from performing vs. actually supporting me..

    What is wrong with these men? I’m out of there but it seems so bizzare.

    It seems to be bullying tactics “You have to prove your credibility”.. just like in grade school when the new kid on the block joins the class and performs well”, some of the other kids start to harass the kids..
    Social fraternaties are the same way with hazing……

    Some people in the professional workforce haven’t grown up. I’ve learned a lot in the professional world when dealing with some men, this doesn’t change much..

    • Susan P. Joyce says:

      Hi Janice,

      Being a “change agent” is fraught with risk. Even when change is required and agreed to by everyone as necessary, in my experience, they still throw up roadblocks because most people are afraid of change. So, if you fail, they are fine – the change doesn’t happen (yet, and may never), and someone else (you) is to blame.

      Is there anyone who will gain from the changes? Could that person be your advisor/ally in this project?

      Is there anyone higher up in the organization who could help you? Be VERY careful of jumping up the “chain of command” in an organization, going over your boss’s head, but if he isn’t going to help you, you may not have many options.

      It will probably be very difficult, if not impossible, to succeed without some support.

      Since I don’t know the organization or any of the people involved, it’s hard for me to give you detailed advice on the best strategies. Those are the optoins that popped into my head.

      Keep your LinkedIn Profile updated!

      Good luck!
      Susan

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