I’m a fairly good public speaker. I’m comfortable with last-minute presentations or networking with strangers. But there is something about interviews that make me absolutely nervous.
Maybe it’s the fact that I am applying for something and there is the risk that I won’t get it. Or maybe it’s the fact that I sit there willingly to be judged by someone who is trying to dig out my personal flaws with polite words. There’s just something about formal interviews that make me lose my confidence in myself.
The question I secretly despise the most is one that I will probably not be able to avoid: Tell me about yourself.
Seems easy when you first hear it. But for me, I am pushed into an abyss of information overload. What should I say about myself that showcases my skills and knowledge without sounding like I am bragging? What will make me sound interesting as a person? What should I bring up so I will be a memorable candidate? What is it about me that makes me different from all the other people?
I have done things in my life. It’s not like I sat on my bum and did nothing for the past 5 years. I’ve gotten out there and I have learned things. And these things that I’ve learned do not just come from school. I’ve worked, traveled to other countries, and cooperated with different people. I have accomplished things that I am proud of and I truly do believe that I can do things if given the opportunity to.
But when I am faced with that question or the question, “What makes you stand out from the other applicants?” I don’t see myself as someone special. I see myself like every other person who is out there trying to find a place for themselves in this world. I am just a normal person. And I guess that’s the scary part about interviews for me. It begins with the interviewer judging me but at the end of it I walk out judging myself.
I discussed this problem with my co-op adviser the other day and one thing she told me really stuck into my mind. She told me, “You can’t start spiraling downhill by comparing yourself to the other applicants because you don’t know the other applicants. The only thing you can do is reinforce what kind of person you are and what kind of things you have done.”
For some reason, I had always assumed that the other applicants were very similar to me. I thought that because we are all applying for the same position we must have similar experiences, personalities, and interests. But now that I think about it again, it may not be true. And even if it was true, that doesn’t make any of my accomplishments or successes any less than what they are.
“Your self-confidence is simply the part of your brain that tells you whether or not you should try something different or new or believe in yourself, and just as a Jedi truly believes that it is within their power to control their thoughts and stay in the Light, so can you.”
― Stephen Richards, Develop Jedi Self-Confidence: Unleash the Force within You
I hope everyone will be able to realize the goodness in their selves and their actions. And for those who have an upcoming interview, don’t lose your confidence in yourself.