Signs You’re Overthinking Your Interview

Interviews are important, there is no doubt about that; a successful interview can be a cornerstone in your life and can shape your future for the forthcoming years. However, over-stressing in the build up to the interview can be detrimental to the big day, just as over-analysing the event for weeks afterwards can be detrimental to your confidence. It is important to remain composed and calm whenever you reflect upon your interview so, what are the signs that you’re overthinking your interview? 

Before the big day:

No doubt you are wondering what you’re going to be asked during the interview. How you answer questions is going to be a main factor in determining whether you will be successful or not, but it is key to RELAX! Congratulate yourself on getting the interview and remember that this means they already like you! You already have the skills they are looking for and now they want to confirm your knowledge and find out a bit about your personality and whether you’ll be someone they want to work with. Yes, do a good amount of research about the company but don’t beat yourself up; they are not expecting you to know where they held their staff Christmas party 2014!

Secondly, a topic often contested is the amount of questions you should ask at the end. Many people will tell you that asking questions will make you seem more interested in the role and to an extent they will, but only within reason. There is no point asking questions for the sake of it, you’ll only end up wasting their time. Instead, make a note of what you genuinely want to know about the company and the role, and if these questions are still unanswered by the end of the interview, then by all means ask away. But if all your questions have been answered during the interview, then do not stress yourself trying to think of another question at the last second. 

The best thing you can do before an interview is to revise your CV, do some research and relax! 

After the event:

Something frequently misunderstood about the interview process is how long an interview should be. There is no benchmark length for an interview yet lots of people cause themselves distress by telling themselves they haven’t got the job because the interview was over too quickly. But there is no need to worry! In more cases than not, a short interview tends to be a positive sign. No one wants a long and drawn out interview, so anything that feels short should tell you that you have already provided them with all the information they were looking for, which can only be a good thing! However, every interview is different so no matter whether you think it went on for too long or was over too quickly, the length of the interview is nothing that you should be concerned about. 

As previously mentioned, the actual interview questions tend to cause the most anxiety in the run-up to the interview and if you are unsure about how the interview went, you will most likely be reflecting on the answers you gave- and more specifically, how you worded them. Now, unless the job is dependent upon your speaking ability, interviewers will forgive nervousness, repetition, long pauses and ‘ums and ers’; if you answer is along the right lines. It is understandable not to know everything, and to be nervous. Interviewers aren’t monsters; they’re normal people who will be understanding about how daunting the process can be! 

Following on from this, please do not try and interpret anything not made explicit by your interviewers. This is big issue that causes a lot of unnecessary worry post-interview. So what if they didn’t smile after you gave a really good answer? Did they scribble away on a notepad whilst you were talking? Look at their watch? Sigh? Forget it. You are most likely misinterpreting their body language to the detriment of your own health. Not worth it. 

Despite our temptation to scrutinize every minute of the interview, the most treacherous part for the majority of people is the waiting that comes afterwards. A few interviewers will be precise about what comes next, but many will give a vague number of days or weeks and simply say ‘we’ll be in touch’. Some may not even give a rough time span as to when you can expect to hear from them and this can be very hard to not worry yourself over. However, as hard as it can be, there is nothing you can change about the past and all you can do is try to focus on other things and keep yourself busy as you wait. If you feel you have been kept waiting for a response for too long, then you can always get in touch with them again, but I would be very cautious about doing this as you don’t want to come across as rude! Most employers will get back to you within a couple of weeks with the result of your interview. If you get the job, congratulations! If you are unsuccessful then do not beat yourself up. Instead, ask for feedback and use it as a learning experience for next time! 

Post by Gabrielle Morris