Preparing for a job interview

Interviews can be very anxiety provoking.. Just thinking about going to an interview can make most people feel nervous. If you have a visible difference you may be even more anxious, worrying about how people might judge the way you look. When you are nervous you might find it more difficult to think about the job interview, which could mean that you don’t prepare as well as you would like to. Here are some tips to prepare for interviews and manage any anxiety you might have about your appearance.

How can I prepare for interviews?

  • Look at the person specification and the job description
  • Look back at your application, CV or letter to remind yourself how you fit the job description and person specification – and remind yourself, this has got you to the level of having an interview – write some notes if you feel you might need some reminders or prompts about the key areas
  • Read up on the individual/ company / organisation you are applying to and be prepared to show your knowledge
  • Think about how you might respond to some common questions and write the answers down – you could even prepare a few answering:
    • Why do you want to work for the organisation?
    • What is is about the job that appeals to you?
    • What skills would you bring to the role?
    • Give an example of a challenging situation you have managed?
    • What are your strong points? Or your weaker points?
    • If you are not sure what questions you might be asked, ask a friend or family member who might have more experience, look on the internet or ask your recruitment consultant
  • Alongside your answers above, prepare examples as supporting evidence of your skills and previous experience. For example, if someone asks, “What is your experience of dealing with customers on the phone?”

You might reply, “I have several years of experience of speaking to customers on the phone and feel confident doing this. For example, when I was a X company, I spent a few hours of my day responding to customer queries and often helped solve their issues by truly listening and then offering the appropriate advice.”

  • Think about responding in the context of the role and place.  What would they want to hear about you to decide you were the person for the job?
  • Have a practice interview with a friend or family member.

Anxieties about your appearance

An interview is designed to determine who the best candidate is based on their skills, qualifications and attributes. Your appearance does not and should not have any bearing on the interview, or any decisions made by interviewers. However, if you feel anxious about your appearance and how this will be perceived by interviewers here are some top tips for managing these concerns

  • Decide if you are going to mention your condition, mark or scar. By law interviewers cannot ask you about your appearance or general health in an interview. This is discrimination; however, you might want to mention it yourself. Having a planned response can help to remove some of the anxiety you are experiencing.
  • You might feel that you want to tell an interviewer about your appearance prior to the interview, in this case think about the wording you want to use and how you will describe yourself.
  • Wear something that makes you feel good and confident.
  • Focus on your skills and abilities, this is what the interviewers will ask you about
  • If you have had previous negative experiences at interviews, this might make you feel more anxious. Remember, this is a different group of people, who have different ideas, thoughts and beliefs.
  • Take the pressure off yourself. Yes, you might want or need this job, but see the interview as practice – it is also an opportunity for you to decide if you want to work there.
  • Interviewers come in all shapes and sizes. You might be worried about your appearance, but the interviewers may have their own worries about the interview too.
  • If you feel very nervous, try  some breathing or relaxation exercises,, and this might help you manage any pre-interview jitters.

Going to a job interview

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Managing challenges in the workplace

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