Washington, DC Job Market News

Job hunting horrors: Eight real jobseeker phobias and their remedies

Daily Express

It doesn’t matter if you’re a fresh graduate or a seasoned professional – we all have job hunting phobias that we dread every time we embark on a new job search. Having gone through it before doesn’t necessarily make it easier the next time, as each hirer is different and tends to adopt varied approaches towards the recruitment process.

Here are eight job hunting phobias, plus our recommended tips on getting over them: 

1. Believing you’re not qualified for anything 

Feel like you’ll never measure up to hirers’ standards? Looking through the thousands of job openings  out there, it is impossible that you won’t find anything that matches your skills and experience and yet feeling inadequate is a common fear for many jobseekers. 

Overcome your self-doubt by carefully studying job descriptions and see whether you have what they need and want in a candidate.  

Take stock of your past experiences and believe in your abilities to be a worthy choice for the role.  

Did you find requirements that go beyond the scope of your experience? If you’re missing out on one or two job criteria, you can still push on and apply for the vacancy  – oftentimes part of growing in your career requires you to face new challenges head on. Just believe in yourself and your capabilities! 

2. Finding a new job or employer that you’ll end up hating again 

Those who left their jobs on a negative note may have this fear once they start looking for a job again.  

It’s a legitimate concern as who wants to leave an unpleasant situation, only to end up in another unpleasant situation once again? 

And yet there are ways for you to scope out potential job opportunities or employers for crucial information before you commit to anything.  

You can read up on Company Reviews made by former and current employees before even sending out your applications. You can even ask your loved ones if they’re affiliated with your target companies for some info.  

During the interview, ask probing questions on the company’s culture to see whether it’s a place you’ll fit and thrive in.  

Have you already received a job offer? Be clear with your expectations and carefully examine the terms and requirements of the job so you don’t end up making another bad choice. 

Next up, let’s look at the common phobias of jobseekers about a very important, but fear-inducing stage of the job search process: the job interview. 

3. Having to role-play or present during an interview 

Some companies have elaborate interview processes to identify the best and most competent candidates in the talent pool.  

This can include complex assessment centres complete with role-playing exercises, psychometric testing, group presentations, as well as personal and aptitude tests. If you’re one of those with a role-playing phobia, we feel you. 

If you get a heads-up that role-playing will be part of the assessment, you can practice with a friend to get comfortable with it.  

It’s easy to look up common role-playing exercises based on the job you’re interviewing for.  

Even if there’s no pre-warning that they will expect you to role-play, being prepared is always a good idea. 

Think of it as a fun game, and an opportunity to flex that imaginative mind! 

4. Being asked personal questions 

This isn’t usually the norm – most hirers know better than to drill candidates on personal matters, but there’s always an exception to the rule.  

It might just be your luck that you end up with an inquisitive interviewer who wants to know about your marital status, plans to start a family, sexuality, religious and political views, etc. 

You can try to deflect the questions with neutral answers or simply change the topic by asking them a question of your own instead.  

Hopefully the interviewer will get the hint that you’re not comfortable answering these questions and move on to work-related questions instead. 

5.  Appearing clueless during the interview 

It’s an awful feeling when the interviewer talks about a topic you’re not well-informed on and therefore can’t think of an intelligent comment to respond with.  

For example, if the interviewer makes an observation about industry trends in specific countries or cultures that you’re not familiar with, you can respond by asking questions about it instead.  

This shows your interest in learning more about it, even if you don’t have any personal opinions to contribute to the discussion. 

6.  Forgetting your spiel or crucial information during the interview 

Stumbling over a job interview question can be pretty traumatizing, but it’s not the end of the world.  

Nerves can leave feeling you tense and may even cause you to forget some of the things you rehearsed prior to the interview, so it’s best to be extra prepared ahead of time.  

Do practice interview drills with a trusted friend before the interview, as well as review up on possible questions for your intended job or industry. 

Already in the middle of the interview when you suddenly couldn’t come up with an answer? Relax, pause and gather your thoughts.  

Calmly ask the interviewer to repeat the question so you can form a coherent answer.  

Or you can own up to it and admit you’re feeling nervous – responsible hirers won’t take it against you if you do. 

7. Committing a blooper during the interview 

We’ve all been there. Whether it’s mispronouncing the CEO’s name or making a joke that fell completely flat, we’ve all been guilty of embarrassing faux pas during job interviews. 

It happens – we are but human beings. Just stay calm, breathe, apologise, and move on. 

Don’t harp on it as that just reminds the interviewer of your slip-up. Put it out of your mind for the moment. 

You can berate yourself for it after the interview is over. 

8. Accidental spills or mishaps on your interview attire 

If you’re a woman and you’re on your period, you’ll know better than to wear anything light coloured on the day of the interview.  

Stick to dark colours, especially for trousers or skirts. It will save you a lot of hassle and potential embarrassment!

If the interview is after lunch, it’s common sense not to eat anything messy for lunch, and you definitely don’t want to have any food or drink in the car with you.  

To play it safe, wear a dark jacket.  

You will be glad you did, in the event that someone accidentally trips and spills something on you. 

Job hunting can be a scary process, but it’s all part of the experience.  

Live and learn, as the saying goes. Whatever your job hunting phobias are, you can either take the opportunity to overcome them, or you can learn something about yourself through them. 

It’s all a matter of perspective. – Jobstreet

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