Interview Blues: Why Is A Job Interview So Awkward?

If you’re starting out 2017 with a job hunt, or are ready to make a change in your current career status, interviews are likely in your future.  While the searching and application process for positions is difficult, the interview phase is by far the most intimidating for many candidates.  After all, you feel as if you are “on trial” and while most interviews are not meant to come across as a grilling session, it can feel that way if you’re the one being targeted with the questions of HR staff and/or potential employers.

So, what makes a job interview so awkward, and how can you alleviate a bit of the stress?

How much information is TOO much?  When interviewing with a potential boss, you know that he/she likely has your resume in hand and has read through it thoroughly.  Likewise, they have probably been made aware of your educational and work history, as well as any major accomplishments related to the job at hand due to either their own research, or through a briefing from their HR department.  So, when you sit down in front of them and are asked “So what do you bring to the table?” it can be hard to walk the blurry line between seeming stingy with information (like you’re trying to hide something) and boasting about your own personal achievements.  In this situation, it’s probably best to share any major goals that were listed in your resume, and then expound on them slightly more than you did in your application and/or written resume to help relate them to the position at hand.  If you have a few accomplishments that were not significant enough to list in your resume, but pertain to the job for which you are applying, mention those as well.  This is NOT the time to bring out every single award, volunteer job, etc. that you have ever received or participated in however, as this will come across as sounding boastful and could cost you the potential job.

Stranger Danger.  It’s no secret that talking to people you don’t know can be nerve-wracking.  When your career is at stake, that fear can be magnified, and your nerves could get the best of you and negatively affect your interview.  When heading into an interview with HR staff and/or a potential employer, do your best to prepare ahead and prevent your nerves from taking over.  If there are photos online of the person/people you will be interviewing with, make yourself familiar with their names and faces to give yourself a sense of “knowing” them before you ever step foot into their office. Go over your resume and application thoroughly before the interview, to ensure that you are prepared to discuss them at length if needed and aren’t left scrambling for words or trying to look at “notes” during the interview.  Overall, remember to relax.  Keep in mind that the person interviewing you once had to go through the same process to get into their current position.

Fear of the Unknown.  Preparing for an interview is hard enough if you know exactly how to plan, but when you are facing unknown questions, the fear-factor goes up several notches.  Being unsure of the types of questions that will be asked can be almost torturous for someone who feels the need to prepare their answers in advance in order to mitigate nervousness.  If you feel excessive fear over not knowing what you’re going to say, and how you’re going to say it, go through the job for which you are applying and do your best to come up with a list of questions that YOU would ask if you were the interviewer.  If you want to take it a step farther, have friends and/or family ask questions as well.  This will give you a sense of preparation since you will be used to discussing the job, your qualifications, etc. in various ways.  The best advice though is to take a deep breath and realize that how you answer the questions is part of the interview, in that a potential employer can read a lot about you and your value to the business by how you handle yourself unscripted. Don’t let yourself get so nervous about the answer that you lose composure.

If you are ready to start the job hunt and interview process this new year, call PHR Staffing Solutions.  We provide top-quality applications to businesses throughout Polk County, and we are trusted by employees AND employers throughout the Central Florida region.  We are continually adding current openings to our site, and look forward to getting your application.