How to Overcome a Fear of Interviews and Land Your Dream Museum Job

Most people get nervous before a job interview — after all, there’s usually plenty at stake, and it’s a highly pressurized situation to be in. However, for some people, interviews are far more than merely stressful. They can be so intimidating that they become a real barrier to advancement in a career, and therefore, life in general. But a deep fear of interviews needn’t hold you back. Here are seven tips to help you develop a calmer mindset when faced by a recruitment panel, increasing your chances of landing the job you’re aiming for.

Apply for Unwanted Jobs
If you find job interviews an ordeal, it may seem a strange idea to put yourself through one when it isn’t necessary. However, if you apply for a job that isn’t a matter of life and death to you, then if you come to be interviewed you’ll feel much less stressed. The experience you gain from a more low-key interview like this can help when you next apply for a job that you truly want. If you take this approach, there’s no need to worry that you’re wasting the time of the interviewers. Many museums purposefully interview candidates that they have no real intention of hiring, solely to give their interview panel more experience; there’s no reason you can’t adopt the same attitude.

Gain Helpful Work Experience
One of the keys to interviewing well is to display a confident manner and to interact easily with the panel. If you find self-confidence a problem in interview situations, then you can improve your interpersonal skills through taking on a job that gives you plenty of contact with the public. Whether this is part-time bar work or volunteering for a charity, gaining experience dealing with strangers in non-stressful situations will help build up your skills for situations where you’re under greater pressure.

Take a Class
Taking certain kinds of classes also can help build confidence. Public speaking courses or amateur dramatic classes can really help in developing your ability to project an assured, dynamic persona. Successful interviewees know that putting on something of an act can be a great way of reducing the stress that comes with feeling personally judged.

Be Yourself
On the other hand, although it helps to appear confident and relaxed, there’s little point in pretending to be someone you’re not. If you’re a quiet and methodical person, passing an interview through appearing to be brash and impulsive is in neither your interest nor the company’s. If you think that a realistic yet confident expression of your natural self isn’t enough to win the job, it’s probably not the right opening for you.

Prepare Properly
An interview will always involve a need to think on your feet, but preparing properly will give you the tools you need to do this successfully. Research the company you’re hoping to be hired for, anticipate as many questions as possible, and draw up effective and comprehensive replies. Also, don’t forget to come up with a few relevant questions that you can ask, to show that you’ve taken the trouble to do your research.

Do a Trial Run (or Several)
Once you feel you’ve prepared sufficiently, ask a friend or colleague to help you by conducting a mock interview, wherein you’re not under pressure. If you can find a helper with experience as an interview panel member, then all the better. There’s plenty truth in the cliche that practice makes perfect.

Get Some Perspective
Finally, although you may feel like a nervous wreck inside, your interviewers probably won’t notice just how anxious you’re feeling, and if they do, they probably won’t hold it against you. Indeed, interviewers are nervous too, as they usually need to answer to a superior on their efforts and are keen to land the right candidate. A good interviewer doesn’t want you to fail, and they want to succeed by hiring a valuable asset to the museum, so they’ll be rooting for you to do well. If an interviewer seems to be trying to catch you out or make you feel uncomfortable, you may not even wish to work for a museum that fosters that kind of workplace atmosphere.

Even the most experienced of professionals will find job interviews stressful, but just like any activity, practicing the skills involved will make the situation feel more natural each time you go through it. Becoming a confident interviewee is within anyone’s reach, and a recruitment panel need not be a barrier to a successful museum career.

Jobs in Museums is the easy way to for museum professionals to find the best jobs in museums, galleries and historic houses.


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