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Candidates’ Biggest Fears During Interviews

Published by Espresso-Jobs, December 22th, 2016

The day before an interview, everyone’s a little frantic. Some people are excited, while others are scared to death. Here’s how to overcome the most frequent fears.

The night before an interview, you have it all planned out: go to sleep early, study up on the company, etc. By a stroke of good fortune, you manage to sleep a few hours—and dream that you show up totally naked in a conference room and everyone’s pointing and laughing at you. It’s fear of the unknown, stress, dread and anxiety expressing themselves. But what exactly are you so afraid of??

The Muse asked its readers that very question. Here are the results:

• 36% are worried about the quality of their answers

• 5% are concerned about their clothing

• 52% are afraid of a memory lapse

• 7% are worried about forgetting someone’s name

Of all the people surveyed for this poll, more than half responded that a memory lapse was their worst fear. After all, what could be more unpleasant than to completely forget the answers you’d so thoroughly prepared? You’re sitting there, mouth open, and…nothing. Your mind is completely blank. It’s so frustrating.

But it’s time to forget about all that. We have a few tips for you so that this will never happen again.

• Take a moment to think about and absorb what’s going on. The problem isn’t that you don’t have an answer, it’s that you’re too nervous to concentrate. Here are three sentences that will buy you some time: “Let me think about that and come back to you shortly about it”; “What springs to mind is…”; “Could you elaborate a little on…?”

• If you still don’t know what to say, don’t hesitate to think out loud. Remember that recruiters ask difficult questions in order to see how you react under pressure. They want to see what’s happening in your head and what your thought process is when challenged.

• If you still can’t come up with an answer, level with them and admit that you don’t know. The recruiter will be more impressed by your honesty and humility than by a lie or an empty or formulaic reply.

Breathe and keep your chin up. The recruiter has seen other nervous people before you. If this moment seems long to you, it’s still only a drop in the bucket of your career. Being nervous is normal. The better you prepare, the less frequently this situation can happen. That’s the best tip you can get.