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Dear Theo and all- Get to the interview, but nerves always get the better of me. What to do?

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by TheoGriff, Jul 3, 2011.

  1. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    It's not just you - ths happens to lots and lots of people!
    Some posters have suggested something called - I can't quite remember what - something like Bach's rescue remedies. A sort of herbal calmer-downer. I don't know anything about it myself, so can't recommend it personally. You need to investigate to see if it's right for you or not. Google Rescue remedy, I think.
    But of course the best way not to be nervous is to be vconfident. And confidence comes from knowing how good you are.
    Write a list for yourself of all the good things about you as a teacher. I would start with all the many positives from doing supply:
    Dear Theo- work history too bitty and too much supply- help!
    Then go to the Welcome thread at the top and read the Interview clickables. There are some tips there that will help you to prepare so that you know what your strengthsare and how to tell them to the panel.
    You know what you can do well. You would be an asset to any school. Head up and tell them straight what it is about you that is so good!
    I look forward to reading your next thread called Dear Theo - I got that job!
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Workshops. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
  2. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    Hereby lies the rub, as far as I'm concerned. 'I know the answers to likely questions' means - to me - that you're focusing your preparation too narrowly by 'question spotting'. This means you aren't on top of or confident in your overall, general knowledge of and ability to speak about education and related issues.
    I suggest that you change the way you prepare and do the following:
    1. Take the job description, NQT standards, etc and begin to prepare a series of large mind maps. One might be 'Behaviour management', another 'starters and plenaries', 'assessment for learning' and so on.
    2. Develop these over time - do a bit on each for five minutes at a time, leave it and go on to another. You'll find that in this way you get further ideas for the ones you've een doing, so go back and add to them.
    3. Keep adding to them - add examples of your own experience, practice and so on. if you want, link them to the kinds of questions you've been asked at interviews, but don't make that the key point - you're developing your ability to think and talk about issues without learning stock answers.
    4. Take each map and talk to yourself - out loud if you like - about each point as if telling someone else about it. I still do this as I'm driving along and I'm not going for interviews - but I find it helps me clarify and develop my thinking on issues.
    That's my interview preparation method - it means that whatever I'm asked I can pull out my thinking and develop an answer - because a good interview answer sounds for all the world like you're talking about it to a colleague.
  3. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Fantastic reply Middlemarch.
    Thanks for taking the time to give us some really good advice. It's good for NQTs and also us 'older ones' too!
  4. welshchocoholic1

    welshchocoholic1 Senior commenter

    Thank you very much both Theo and Middle March. Already have rescue remedy - and not doing much. I have started on the mind maps. I'll see if that works.
  5. Another (not very scientific) tip is to try and remember when going in to an interview that the panel actually wants you to perform well. People often assume that they are out to 'trip you up', whereas in fact, while they do want to test you thoroughly, an interview panel is always hoping that candidates will perform to the best of their ability. After all, they are hoping that they can appoint a really good teacher. Going into an interview (or any formal presentation) with that in mind can really help...
  6. John_in_Luton

    John_in_Luton Occasional commenter

    Indeed. We're not sitting there taking sadistic pleasure out of seeing candidates squirm, we want to get the best possible picture of all the candidates so that we can choose which one is likely to be the best match to the post we want to fill. Which is why I stress, when I'm doing my introductory spiel to the candidate, that they are welcome to take a moment to organise their thoughts before answering a question, that if they don't understand what we're driving at, or lose their thread half way through an answer, they can always ask us to re-phrase or reformulate the question, and that there's a glass of water on the table in front of them (which gives handy thinking time as you lift it up for a sip).
    To echo Middlemarch's point, I don't like a candidate who sounds as if they're regurgitating a preprepared answer, because it doesn't show me evidence of ability to adapt, think flexibly, respond to circumstances etc. What I do like is a candidate who gives me answers supported by lots of practical examples from their classroom practice, showing how they responded to a situation and, crucially, what the outcome (i.e. impact on learning) of their actions was.
  7. Me, too. I get shortlisted loads lol but always stuff up the interview.
    The last two I had, I tried to think differently about it and it made a real difference. In the first one, the Head said if they'd had two vacancies I definitely would have got one. In the second one, I had a 9am interview and the Head said I was the 'candidate to beat' and that the panel were suprised when someone came in and did it! What I'm saying is: I bloody NEARLY got these and I think it was down to a change in the way I thought about them...
    Being a massive tennis head (!) who dedicates a disproportionate amount of time to discussing Andy Murray's problem with Grand Slam semis/finals, it's clear he chokes under pressure. He focuses too much on the grand prize instead of taking it match-by-match. And when Federer drops a match, he composes himself in a second and cracks on. You can see Murray beating himself up - he can't move on. I used to do this - if I gave an answer I wasn't happy with, I'd obsess instead of moving on and then I could FEEL myself telling myself: 'Well. That's it. You've ruined it now.'
    In these two much better interviews, I really tried to adopt a tactic of putting from my mind the GRAND PRIZE of the job and trying to take it on a really small-scale level - thinking about every word, every sentence, every answer. It's SO hard but it's about making a conscious choice to block certain thoughts as you feel them materialising. And it takes practise, but you CAN change how you see these situations. GOOD LUCK x
  8. welshchocoholic1

    welshchocoholic1 Senior commenter

    Thanks John in Luton and Lilybett! I know no one is trying to trip me up, but I seem to have a mental block. I have however been doing some mind maps as Middle March has suggested.
    You're right Lilybett, the more I like the school, pupils etc, I gett even more nervous. I now tell myself that at the end of the day, the worst that can happen is I don' t get the job, even though it would be nice. I think I need to approach it in bitesize chunks instead of all at once too like Federer.
    Thanks again to everyone for your advice.
  9. I'm another who always manages to let nerves get the better of me at interview. I've tried different remedies - Bach's Rescue Remedy, even beta blockers with no success.
    A headteacher, who I was chatting to while on supply, said that I needed to change the way I think about interviews. Instead of thinking of an interview as an ordeal, I need to think of it as a way of showing how good I am. Unfortunately, I'm of the older generation who aren't very good at blowing our own trumpets!
    I really like the advice given here. Now I'm off to do some mind maps - I used to do them as revision when I was studying so I don't know why I didn't think of them!!
    I'm going to get a chance to put this into practice as I've just been had a call to say I've been shortlisted for a job I really want [​IMG]
    Now if I can only find a way to stop my face, neck and chest from going bright red...
  10. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Thanks for that very good advice, especially from someone with experience of interviews. Some very good pointers there.
  11. From another one who goes blank in interviews can I just say thank you for the ideas posted on this thread.
    I see now that I am guilty of trying to second guess the questions I may be asked and, of course, when asked a question i haven't prepared for I panic and subsequently waffle!
    So i think i'm going to try the mind map next time, if i am ever offered another interview! [​IMG]
    Thank you for the idea.
  12. There's a Head posts on here (Middlemarch?) who said at their school, they GIVE candidates a copy of the questions. CAN you imagine?! [​IMG]
  13. welshchocoholic1

    welshchocoholic1 Senior commenter

    Yes, thankyou very much everyone who has given us all some really useful advice. My mindmaps are in progress[​IMG]. I go bright red too fuzzle. Maybe you could waer a bit more makeup - but then again you may be a man, and not want to do that. Good luck all in your quest to find that job!
  14. My feedback from interviews is that my answers were great, so was my teaching but I just need to slow down when I speak, as they struggle to write everything down. This is one of my targets for professional development and as a naturally fast talker, being nervous doesn't help!! Ah well, will keep practicing to slow down [​IMG]
  15. welshchocoholic1

    welshchocoholic1 Senior commenter

    At least you know what you have to concentrate on now Patchi[​IMG]! I tend to umm and euh a lot without meaning to - lol!
  16. I had the interview yesterday but I didn't get the job. Lovely school and head. temporary but posibility of it being made permanent. [​IMG]
    It went to someone with more experience of subject co-ordination and there's nothing I can do about that except get a job and get experience.
    The feedback was pretty general and I'll take it with a pinch of salt: you were a very strong candidate, the lesson was very good, good answers in interview etc but...
    I found Middlemarch's suggestion of making mind maps very helpful as, when I was asked a uestion, I thought about what the topic was that they were asking me about and visualised the mind map. It's so much better than reading through endless interview questions!
    Oh well, hopefully there'll be more jobs coming up after half term and, fingers crossed, I'll be shortlisted AND get the job!
    PS I really think there should be a 'fingers crossed' or 'good luck' smiley in the emoticon list.
  17. I don't do that, but I always end up using a certain phrase a lot. The thing is, the phrase changes from interview to interview and I tend to realise after the 3rd time I've said it, lol. And no, I don't mean to do it either.
  18. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    Up up up
    Best wishes
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    For the full TES Weekend Workshop programme please visit www.tes.co.uk/careerseminars or contact advice@tes.co.uk for one-to-one sessions
  19. tigger82

    tigger82 New commenter

    Just wanted to bump this up as the mindmapping REALLY works! I got my promotion using this as prep for the interview and the head commented on me being able to use the technique well with classes as I already do it.
    I also showed it to an NQT I work with and she used for interviews and also got a post.
    Thanks again Middle March!
  20. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    It's my pleasure. Like Theo, I get a kick out of hearing that you folk have been successful in getting jobs.

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