Archive for the ‘interview’ Category

How to Guarantee Your Head Will Explode in An Interview

In Anxiety, interview, what your teacher is really thinking on March 12, 2011 at 9:54 am

It’s a Friday night, which means it must be post night because, you know, the social lives of working parents with a baby who doesn’t sleep are so very full.

Currently, many of my classes are structured so that students are conducting mock job interviews.  I get to observe, grade their performance and offer suggestions on how to improve.  Many of them have never had interviews before (they are so sweet smelling and nervous and unspoiled, like babies really).   It certainly gives me perspective on what to do and not to do in interview settings.  It is also exceedingly hard to concentrate on their performances when I can’t help contextualizing them to my own because next week I have an interview.   (Insert intimidating organ music here).   

I do believe the prospect of an interview is worse when you really, really want the job, but really, really have tons of insecurities and an overactive imagination that creates all sorts of less than ideal scenarios in your head. What if, for instance, I become instantly and irrevocably mute?  What if my head literally explodes?  Then they really would see I have no brain.  What if my stomach becomes so upset (note the recurring anxiety theme) I had to keep leaving to “powder my nose?”  What if I break out singing “I’m a lumberjack and I don’t care?” 

Q:  Tell Us About Yourself.

  • Possible Response A:                                                (that’s the awkward silence in response to me falling mute or my head exploding)
  • Possible Reponse B:   I spend most working days in my pajamas and shower once every three days (the days I have to make an appearance at work).  After three such days in a row, I begin to smell, and I like it

Q:  What is Your Greatness Weakness?

  • Possible Response:  Worry.  I worry about the freshness of the yogurt in the fridge.  I worry about my son’s breathing still, 9 months after birth.  I worry about getting germs from students’papers. I worry that I will get to the end of life and discover that I have not lived.  I worry my daughter will hate me when she’s a teenager.  I worry…Oh, wait.  But I’m really good at harnessing the power of worry so that it drives me to push to get things done before deadlines.


Does anyone ever get over the imposter syndrome?  I find it exceedingly easy to list my insecurities:

  • I am not smart enough
  • I am not creative enough
  • I don’t know enough yet
  • I am not “in the scene” enough
  • I do worry and handwash excessively (though, really, can you ever be too excessive in handwashing?)
  • I am not a good mother (like that has anything to do with it, but there you go – see, I’m completely professionally inappropriate)

It’s almost excruxiating to list positive traits.  I’ve tried several times and keep deleting them, but here goes (pinky finger on the delete key):

  • I’m an excellent multi-tasker and time manager
  • I have chosen a less straightforward life, which has allowed me to gain a wee bit of strength
  • I’ve not done too badly in terms of education and publication for the old age of 33 and 11.8/12ths. 
  • I’ve become great with conflict (diffusing yelling students will help you with that)
  • etc. 

A better question might be:  do you have a harder time listing your positive traits than your negative ones?  Why? 

In any case, wish me luck on for Thursday – especially because the interview is in the evening after a full day of teaching and my craving for Haagen Daaz is highest. 

And, because I’ve had so much trouble articulating what is troubling about interviews, click on this link if you don’t mind a little ribald interview humour:

ps.  What do you think about having a guest post from the Doctor on the life of a stay-at-home dad?

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