Interview Stress – RCV Suggests How To Combat It

Robyn Lamb, RCV founder, Cape Town

November 01 2017

A major disappointment for any recruitment agency is finding a very good and suitable candidate for a position in a client company, only to have the candidate, through nerves, perform so badly at the job interview that she or he fails to get on even the short list. The experience for the candidate of course is a devastating blow to the confidence and further confirmation of her or his conviction that job interviews are terrifying. Fear of interviews to the extent that it adversely affects the candidate’s performance is more common than most people realise. For this reason, a Cape Town-based recruitment agency RCV International today begins a series of articles that Robyn, Cynthia and Vuyo (the RCV of the company) believe will help applicants to navigate job interviews successfully. The series starts with the actual fear ‒ what it is and what causes it. And finally, a case study about someone whose panic was about to sabotage her chances of getting a good job offer.

‘Interview fear can be so severe’ says Robyn Lamb of RCV International, ‘that it amounts to a phobia. People become so incapacitated by fear their minds fog over and they can’t answer questions because in that state, they can’t hear or understand fully.’ This is the extreme form of interview stress and probably needs some form of psychological and medical intervention to overcome it. More common is the level of fear that prevents the candidate from showing his or her value or potential. The fear comes partly from the importance the candidate attaches to the outcome of the interview. If the job is very desirable, the candidate’s thoughts may run like this (albeit exaggeratedly):‘ If I am offered this job, life will be great. I’ll be secure at last. I’ll be able to buy a decent car, dress well …’. and ‘If I don’t get this job I’m going to be part of South Africa’s 9.3 million unemployed. I’m going to end up on the side of the road.’

The second reason for interview fear is that the candidate is in the interviewer’s power. He or she does not know what questions the interviewer is going to ask. Moreover, without dire consequences, he or she cannot refuse to answer a question. This lack of control of the situation is alarming to many people, especially those who need to be in charge.’

Vuyo Sothondoshe of RCV International takes up Robyn’s explanation of interview fear with an anecdote about a friend facing her first big job interview.

‘Last week I had a frantic call from a friend Lisa, her Cape Town recruitment agency had found her the perfect job and her interview was scheduled for the following week.

Lisa was one of those people who never really had to interview for a job, jobs seemed to land in her lap. Even during university her part time job was offered to her without having any formal interview. She had worked for a large corporate and was promoted through the ranks until the company made her redundant.

Lisa was in a state about the interview she badly wanted the job but the interview process was very intimidating. She had to meet HR and then there was the dreaded panel interview, with three directors.

With my friend begging for help and me trying to give her a confidence boost I knew we had to structure some sort of plan to ensure Lisa “wowed” at the interview and she had to get that job!

Next week I’ll tell you how RCV International a Cape Town Recruitment Agency turned things around for Lisa.

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