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8 Unnecessary Scary Thoughts Most People Have During A Job Interview

8 Unnecessary Scary Thoughts Most People Have During A Job Interview

What happens if you forget one of your best prepared answers in the job interview? This is just one of the many scary thoughts you may have beforehand. When it actually happens, it is even more heart stopping. Other scary thoughts during the interview could really put you off your performance so let us have a look at these and look at the best way of dealing with them. Negative thoughts can rear their ugly heads during the interview but if you are well prepared, you can easily banish these and move on.

1. I have made a bad first impression

So, your handshake was a bit limp or just far too forceful?  Maybe you are so nervous that your mouth is already dry and you lost your usual poise when you entered the room. Time to move on because there is a lot to be done and you can easily recover from these minor setbacks. The interviewers’ perceptions were probably completely different anyway.

But for the next time, remember to wipe your hands before entering and also aim for a firm handshake and maintain eye contact.

2. I am taking too far too long to answer the questions

Interviewers do not expect rapid, flash answers because they can give the impression of being far too smart and even superficial. They also might give the impression of something learned off by heart, especially if it does not match exactly what was asked. So, let us get this into perspective:

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  • You cannot predict or prepare all the answers.
  • Interviewers do expect you to think about the questions before plunging in.
  • Reflection can be positive.

The solution is to play for time by asking for clarification. You might not be sure or you may need more details. You can also choose to answer partially, then jump in and ask the clarifying question. This is much better than waffling on. Also bear in mind that some questions may be deliberately ambiguous so that asking for clarification means that you are thoughtful and on the ball.

3. I am too nervous

During the interview, an attack of nerves can be very upsetting. Most of these problems need to be addressed before the interview. Try these hacks for the next time:

  • Reduce nerves by being well prepared.
  • Arrive early.
  • Learn breathing techniques to practise before being called in.
  • Run your wrists under cold water in the restroom when you arrive at the venue. This does help and also try dabbing this water behind your ears.
  • Reduce fidgeting by keeping a copy of your CV in your hand.
  • Sit comfortably so that correct breathing is facilitated.

4. I am not up to speed on the company’s mission

If you suddenly feel that there are some gaps in your knowledge, then you should have prepared more carefully. Here are some standard tasks that you need to do beforehand:

  • Research the company fully.
  • Familiarize yourself with their products, mission, projects and policies.
  • Study the job description again and make sure that your skills match the duties and prepare for some likely questions.
  • Study their publicity and brochures.

5. I cannot remember these people’s names

You may be given the names of the interviewers beforehand. One way to avoid a memory lapse is to make sure that you have researched their careers and any other notable features about them. You have seen their photos on the Linked In profiles so it will be easier to match the name and the face when the time comes. This also helps you to engage with the interviewer very quickly.

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6. I am unable to answer some of the tough questions

Questions about leadership, mundane work, weaknesses, and ambitions can really throw you. They can ask you how you define success or why you have been in a job for such a short time or even a long time. The list is endless. But preparation will stand you in good stead here. Study these questions and answers here from a well known recruitment agency in the UK.

7.  I can’t do this

Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” – Willie Nelson

All too often, you may feel that the negative thoughts are getting the upper hand and this can be disastrous for your performance. They can distract you and cause you to give wrong or careless answers.

Keeping your thoughts positive and upbeat is the best possible way of being successful. This has been proved over and over again. In addition, sitting upright is not just a matter of looking good. It can assist in maximizing your breathing and helping you to remain confident, relaxed and optimistic.

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8. I cannot stand this silence

Very often, there are silent moments towards the end of an interview and these can be awkward for you. Traditionally, the request for questions about the company will come at this point. Make sure you have plenty of questions up your sleeve.

However, there will be other moments when it may not be so easy to fill the vacuum. As regards what salary you are expecting, this can often result in silence. One technique is to respond with a question, such as: ‘What salary range were you thinking of for this post?’  As regards remaining in touch, you can ask about who will initiate the next contact after the interview.

As we have seen, scary thoughts need not be the protagonists at your interview. Preparing well can eliminate most of these, although everyone will be nervous to some extent.

How have you coped with interview nerves and scary thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.

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Featured photo credit: Interview/Alan Cleaver via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

How to Set Ambitious Career Goals (With Examples)

Taking your work to the next level means setting and keeping career goals. A career goal is a targeted objective that explains what you want your ultimate profession to be.

Defining career goals is a critical step to achieving success. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there. Knowing what your career goals are isn’t just important for you–it’s important for potential employers too. The relationship between an employer and an employee works best when your goals for the future and their goals align. Saying, “Oh, I don’t know. I’ll do anything,” makes you seem indecisive, and opens you up to taking on ill-fitting tasks that won’t lead you to your dream life.

Career goal templates’ one-size-fits-all approach won’t consider your unique goals and experiences. They won’t help you stand out, and they may not reflect your full potential.

In this article, I’ll help you to define your career goals with SMART goal framework, and will provide you with a list of examples goals for work and career.

How to Define Your Career Goal with SMART

Instead of relying on a generalized framework to explain your vision, use a tried-and-true goal-setting model. SMART is an acronym for “Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic with Timelines.”[1] The SMART framework demystifies goals by breaking them into smaller steps.

Helpful hints when setting SMART career goals:

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  • Start with short-term goals first. Work on your short-term goals, and then progress the long-term interests.[2] Short-term goals are those things which take 1-3 years to complete. Long-term goals take 3-5 years to do. As you succeed in your short-term goals, that success should feed into accomplishing your long-term goals.
  • Be specific, but don’t overdo it. You need to define your career goals, but if you make them too specific, then they become unattainable. Instead of saying, “I want to be the next CEO of Apple, where I’ll create a billion-dollar product,” try something like, “My goal is to be the CEO of a successful company.”
  • Get clear on how you’re going to reach your goals. You should be able to explain the actions you’ll take to advance your career. If you can’t explain the steps, then you need to break your goal down into more manageable chunks.
  • Don’t be self-centered. Your work should not only help you advance, but it should also support the goals of your employer. If your goals differ too much, then it might be a sign that the job you’ve taken isn’t a good fit.

If you want to learn more about setting SMART Goals, watch the video below to learn how you can set SMART career goals.

After you’re clear on how to set SMART goals, you can use this framework to tackle other aspects of your work. For instance, you might set SMART goals to improve your performance review, look for a new job, or shift your focus to a different career.

We’ll cover examples of ways to use SMART goals to meet short-term career goals in the next section.

Why You Need an Individual Development Plan

Setting goals is one part of the larger formula for success. You may know what you want to do, but you also have to figure out what skills you have, what you lack, and where your greatest strengths and weaknesses are.

One of the best ways to understand your capabilities is by using the Science Careers Individual Development Plan skills assessment. It’s free, and all you need to do is register an account and take a few assessments.

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These assessments will help you determine if your career goals are realistic. You’ll come away with a better understanding of your unique talents and skill-sets. You may decide to change some of your career goals or alter your timeline based on what you learn.

40 Examples of Goals for Work & Career

All this talk of goal-setting and self-assessment may sound great in theory, but perhaps you need some inspiration to figure out what your goals should be.

For Changing a Job

  1. Attend more networking events and make new contacts.
  2. Achieve a promotion to __________ position.
  3. Get a raise.
  4. Plan and take a vacation this year.
  5. Agree to take on new responsibilities.
  6. Develop meaningful relationships with your coworkers and clients.
  7. Ask for feedback on a regular basis.
  8. Learn how to say, “No,” when you are asked to take on too much.
  9. Delegate tasks that you no longer need to be responsible for.
  10. Strive to be in a leadership role in __ number of years.

For Switching Career Path

  1. Pick up and learn a new skill.
  2. Find a mentor.
  3. Become a volunteer in the field that interests you.
  4. Commit to getting training or going back to school.
  5. Read the most recent books related to your field.
  6. Decide whether you are happy with your work-life balance and make changes if necessary. [3]
  7. Plan what steps you need to take to change careers.[4]
  8. Compile a list of people who could be character references or submit recommendations.
  9. Commit to making __ number of new contacts in the field this year.
  10. Create a financial plan.

For Getting a Promotion

  1. Reduce business expenses by a certain percentage.
  2. Stop micromanaging your team members.
  3. Become a mentor.
  4. Brainstorm ways that you could improve your productivity and efficiency at work
  5. Seek a new training opportunity to address a weakness.[5]
  6. Find a way to organize your work space.[6]
  7. Seek feedback from a boss or trusted coworker every week/ month/ quarter.
  8. Become a better communicator.
  9. Find new ways to be a team player.
  10. Learn how to reduce work hours without compromising productivity.

For Acing a Job Interview

  1. Identify personal boundaries at work and know what you should do to make your day more productive and manageable.
  2. Identify steps to create a professional image for yourself.
  3. Go after the career of your dreams to find work that does not feel like a job.
  4. Look for a place to pursue your interest and apply your knowledge and skills.
  5. Find a new way to collaborate with experts in your field.
  6. Identify opportunities to observe others working in the career you want.
  7. Become more creative and break out of your comfort zone.
  8. Ask to be trained more relevant skills for your work.
  9. Ask for opportunities to explore the field and widen your horizon
  10. Set your eye on a specific award at work and go for it.

Career Goal Setting FAQs

I’m sure you still have some questions about setting your own career goals, so here I’m listing out the most commonly asked questions about career goals.

1. What if I’m not sure what I want my career to be?

If you’re uncertain, be honest about it. Let the employer know as much as you know about what you want to do. Express your willingness to use your strengths to contribute to the company. When you take this approach, back up your claim with some examples.

If you’re not even sure where to begin with your career, check out this guide:

How to Find Your Ideal Career Path Without Wasting Time on Jobs Not Suitable for You

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2. Is it okay to lie about my career goals?

Lying to potential employers is bound to end in disaster. In the interview, a lie can make you look foolish because you won’t know how to answer follow up questions.

Even if you think your career goal may not precisely align with the employer’s expectations for a long-term hire, be open and honest. There’s probably more common ground than they realize, and it’s up to you to bridge any gaps in expectations.

Being honest and explaining these connections shows your employer that you’ve put a lot of thought into this application. You aren’t just telling them what they want to hear.

3. Is it better to have an ambitious goal, or should I play it safe?

You should have a goal that challenges you, but SMART goals are always reasonable. If you put forth a goal that is way beyond your capabilities, you will seem naive. Making your goals too easy shows a lack of motivation.

Employers want new hires who are able to self-reflect and are willing to take on challenges.

4. Can I have several career goals?

It’s best to have one clearly-defined career goal and stick with it. (Of course, you can still have goals in other areas of your life.) Having a single career goal shows that you’re capable of focusing, and it shows that you like to accomplish what you set out to do.

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On the other hand, you might have multiple related career goals. This could mean that you have short-term goals that dovetail into your ultimate long-term career goal. You might also have several smaller goals that feed into a single purpose.

For example, if you want to become a lawyer, you might become a paralegal and attend law school at the same time. If you want to be a school administrator, you might have initial goals of being a classroom teacher and studying education policy. In both cases, these temporary jobs and the extra education help you reach your ultimate goal.

Summary

You’ll have to devote some time to setting career goals, but you’ll be so much more successful with some direction. Remember to:

  • Set SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Action-oriented, and Realistic with Timelines. When you set goals with these things in mind, you are likely to achieve the outcomes you want.
  • Have short-term and long-term goals. Short-term career goals can be completed in 1-3 years, while long-term goals will take 3-5 years to finish. Your short-term goals should set you up to accomplish your long-term goals.
  • Assess your capabilities by coming up with an Individual Development Plan. Knowing how to set goals won’t help you if you don’t know yourself. Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are by taking some self-assessments.
  • Choose goals that are appropriate to your ultimate aims. Your career goals should be relevant to one another. If they aren’t, then you may need to narrow your focus. Your goals should match the type of job that you want and the quality of life that you want to lead.
  • Be clear about your goals with potential employers. Always be honest with potential employers about what you want to do with your life. If your goals differ from the company’s objectives, find a way bridge the gap between what you want for yourself and what your employer expects.

By doing goal-setting work now, you’ll be able to make conscious choices on your career path. You can always adjust your plan if things change for you, but the key is to give yourself a road map for success.

More Tips About Setting Work Goals

Featured photo credit: Tyler Franta via unsplash.com

Reference

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