A reader writes:
I have approximately ten years of administrative and clerical experience. On the other hand, I interrupted the career trajectory in order to pursue a baccalaureate degree. Now that college is over, I am rusty with interviewing (my skills are not due to temporary assignments). During the couple of interviews I have received, if an EMT read my physiology, I probably would be rushed to the emergency room. In addition, my nerves affect my answers. My answers are rambling and lack expansion.
I am not sure how to solve this issue. I am ready for a career position, yet I feel a sense of capitalistic urgency due to student loans. I seek your wisdom and advice.
I know of only two solutions to this:
1. Practice. Practice the crap out of it. This could be anything from writing down interview questions and making yourself answer them out loud, over and over and over, until your answers fly off your tongue automatically, to practicing with a friend playing the role of your interviewer, to seeking out professional help from a job coach who will coach you on your interviewing skills. I think that the more you practice, the more comfortable you'll feel.
2. One of the reasons that some people get really nervous in interviews is that you feel like you're being judged ... and worse, judged by someone who holds all the cards, someone who has something that you really want (a job opening) and who may or may not deign to give it to you. The power dynamics are all screwed up. That's nerve-racking. You can combat that a bit by changing the power dynamics in your own head -- by remembering that you may not want to work for them, for all you know, and that part of the point of the interview is to allow you to collect your own information and decide if you even want this job or these coworkers.
By the way, doing this may even make you a more attractive candidate, totally aside from the issue of your nerves. As an interviewer, when I can tell that a candidate is interviewing me right back -- and isn't just hoping for an offer without truly considering whether or not this job is right for them -- it's really appealing.
What other tips do people have for overcoming interview nerves?