It’s Never as Bad as it Seems

Preparing and Facing the Interview

I started preparing for my video interview by looking at the placement description and matching my experience and qualities with it. I came up with example answers to demonstrate the qualities asked for, and researched the company to understand their business and ethos and how the role would fit in.

Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

I approached the interview feeling relatively calm and well prepared, but the whole concept of talking to a screen felt very artificial compared to my previous interview experiences. The lack of any rapport or genuine human interaction meant it felt very unnatural, and I got very flustered and panicked. I started laughing at myself half-way through but tried my best to recover and answer each question. I answered the majority of questions appropriately, albeit with short responses, having come up with the basis of my answers in the one-minute preparation time given for each. However, what I planned to say didn’t actually take up as much time as I thought it would, and the fact I was anxious so spoke very quickly didn’t help either. Once I had said what I’d planned, I found myself desperately racking my brain for anything else I could add.

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The Aftermath

Afterwards, I was relieved it was over. I found the whole ordeal very stressful so tried to forget about it as I thought I had done terribly. It took me a week or so to get over my own shock and embarrassment before I plucked up the courage to review the interview. Surprisingly, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it had been and, looking back, I came across pretty confident with my answers— the complete opposite to how I’d felt at the time. I realised that while I had answered predictable questions quite well, I’d been thrown by unexpected questions that tested my general knowledge of the market sector, for which, in hindsight, I had not researched enough. Feeling slightly better about my performance, I nervously awaited the results.

I was in total disbelief when I found out I got the highest mark possible. Reading through the overwhelmingly positive comments it became clear that my perception was very different from that of the interviewers, and that probably remains the biggest lesson I’ve learned from this — that how I feel and how I come across to others can be so very different. This will definitely help my confidence in the future: not just in job interviews, but in everyday life.

Photo by Benjamin Davies on Unsplash

Lessons Learnt

The experience made me realise that I need to prepare more in-depth answers and use them as an opportunity to market myself. Speaking slower will give me more time to think, as well as calming myself down and giving my answers more impact. I felt that my knowledge of the industry was superficial, so in the future I’ll widen my research beyond just the company. I have learned that I generally come across better than I think I do in video interviews, despite my discomfort. I handled the pressure well, coming up with good responses under time constraints. Knowledge of these strengths and where to focus on improvement means I can face video interviews in the future with greater self-confidence.

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