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Pivoter X – Don’t let the interview jitters take you. Take a hold of it.

 Death will be a relief. No more interviews.

I chanced upon this quote by the late and great American actress Katherine Hepburn the other day. It struck a chord. As an introvert, speaking up already poses a challenge. Presenting myself before a panel of sombre faces for an interview is a full-blown nightmare!

I have had the interview jitters for as long as I could recall. The stutters which accompany the jitters make interviews a taxing and laborious affair. Even so, I didn’t think much about doing anything to quell them… until I lost a great job opportunity thanks to my nerves.

interview jitters

There were two main reasons for my failure:

Insufficient Preparation gives Interview Jitters

During an interview, the peak of anxiety hits me during the grilling segment. When I am caught unaware by questions, the stress renders me incapable of thinking clearly. This is when the stuttering kicks in, signalling the slow demise of my interview.

interview jitters

However, feeling nervous about an interview is nothing to be ashamed of. Most people probably feel the same way. The solution is simply better preparation.

Anxiety stems from a lack of assurance. I get nervous as I am not eloquent and get tongue-tied in the face of unexpected questions. To address this issue, I anticipate and predict questions by the interviewer, giving myself a preview. While this takes additional effort, it alleviates the sense of unease during the interview itself, helping to overcome the jitters.

Lack of Confidence

interview jitters

I went for the interview harbouring low expectations. With my previous track record, I wasn’t optimistic that this interview would turn out any different. This mindset spilled over and affected my performance. Anxious to get the interview over and done with, I gave rather slipshod answers and bulldozed my way through. Needless to say, I left  a poor impression on the interviewer.

Confidence shows in the things people do or fail to do. For me, the lack of confidence was clear to see.

My mother told me this once: “Don’t let your fears impede you. Rise above them and become a better version of yourself.”

While I cannot change the past, I can at least make my own tomorrow. I get extremely anxious in the face of interviews and I will probably continue to be. But with some foresight and preparation, anxiety and fear will not control me.

 Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.
– Dr. Benjamin Spock

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