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August 20, 2012
How Not to Hate Being Interviewed
Like many people, I've had serious questions about job interviews. My reasons may be a bit more complicated than yours. (For example, they can be an excruciatingly poor selection tool if implemented unwisely). However, I know that 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.

I am sympathetic, but I'm going to go out on limb and challenge your emotions. Specifically, I'd like to try to change your mindset and train you to approach the entire experience differently. You see, the funny thing is, as much as I have always questioned employment interviews, I have never hated being interviewed. My lack of hatred has everything to do with how I view the process. More specifically, I have accepted the things that I could not change about interviews and turned the experience into one gigantic opportunity.

Here is what I mean:

Embrace being “judged.” While you are being interviewed, people will certainly form opinions concerning your skills, abilities, and even your personal demeanor. Tell yourself that is just fine — and remember that when people cross your path you do exactly the same thing. Moreover, during the course of your career, managers and coworkers will make judgments about you on almost a daily basis. So what? Make each judgment an opportunity to portray yourself in the most accurate form.

Be astute and "try on" the organization. Remember that this may be the company that you will be working for on a regular basis. 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? Why or why not?

Say “thanks” to organizations behaving badly. Has the organization not behaved as you would have expected? No follow-up? Welcome this type of behavior as a warning. If an organization doesn't seem to show concern from the start, this is most likely a glimpse into your future work life. I am reminded of Maya Angelou’s discussion with Oprah, where she stated, “When people show themselves to you, believe them.” 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 move on.

Accept ambiguity. Even though there was an ever-present possibility that the outcome wouldn't go in my favor, I embraced the opportunity to be interviewed. 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 get used to it. Nothing is set in stone, but at the same time, that 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, but that is really up to you.

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Dr. Marla Gottschalk is an Organizational Psychologist who specializes in work survival strategies, corporate culture, and organizational change. She is a Practice Manager at Rand-Gottschalk & Associates, a consulting firm that helps employees and businesses excel.  She is author of the blog The Blend, which addresses current workplace topics and issues and also serves as a LinkedIn Influencer.
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