November 13, 2015

Overcoming Jitters: Tips for moving past a bad interview or career fair experience

Meghan Schenkelberg is career and technology coordinator at Weatherhead's Career Management Office (CMO). Follow Weatherhead CMO on Twitter and Facebook.

So, you survived your first Weatherhead Career Fair of the year….professional business suit attire ready. Pitch practiced and not too robotic. Resume updated and polished. Possible employers researched and questions queued up. Confident and savvy is what you hope you exude to land an internship or full-time position. You are the ideal candidate.

Then nerves set in and you can’t remember your first name. How does that happen??!!

Easily. We are only human and jitters get the best of us. If this happened to you on October 23 do not feel defeated, rather feel proud that you did your best, and next time you will improve. You can never fully prepare because you do not know how you will react until the recruiter is in front of you.

If nerves got the best of you on October 23, here are some tips for next time:
Take deep breaths
Practice out loud
Create a plan and work it
See the recruiter as a human being (don't be intimidated!)
Let your research provide confidence

Career Fairs are overwhelming because of the buzz of people all around. Competition fierce. High hopes and stakes. The best practice is to try to block out everything and focus on the goal at hand.
There is always a next time. I have been on countless interviews and only at a handful have I really done my best. My younger self was horrified at how red my face became during an interview or how many times I stuttered. Now, I am proud that I went and I have the experience behind me. For me, more practice and more networking lead to an invitation to apply for a position. Always a good sign!

In the interview for my current position, I was confident because I knew they were thinking of me in the role. My four-person panel interview for this role was a success because I focused and took deep breaths and let my true self shine. It took time, but all those mistakes in earlier interviews prepared me for the role I was meant to be in.

If you had the jitters, you are not alone. Accept it, learn from it and improve next time. You finished that day with more insight than you know, and you will be more prepared for the next Career Fair or interview that comes your way.

Remember, the Weatherhead Intranet is loaded with interviewing information. Peruse these titles to brush up for your next interview:
How to Prepare for a Behavioral Interview
List of Behavioral Interview Questions
Telephone Interview Tips

The CMO team is a phone call (216.368.3662), email or steps away in PBL 160. Meet with a team member to do a mock interview or to help map your next steps on the career search.

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