Applying for jobs and getting interviews are big achievements. But knowing that you have an interview can be stressful. You may not think it, but most people feel nervous and scared about job interviews. Like you, they worry about all sorts of things like:
what questions the interviewer will ask
how to manage anxiety during the interview
if other people will have more experience or do better
how to show confidence
how to talk about disability
Sometimes these worries are overwhelming. But there are lots of small things you can do to prepare for your interview, manage your anxiety and feel more confident.
If you're applying for an admin role, you can search online for 'interview questions for admin jobs'.
YouTube can also be a good place to search. You may find people talking about their interview experiences and the questions they were asked.
LinkedIn can be a good way to learn more about the people interviewing you.
Practise what you'll say
Read the job description again and see how you can apply what you have done. Sometimes employers list the skills and experiences they're looking for as:
'essential', things you need to have
'desirable', things it would be good to have
You'll need to give examples that show you have relevant skills and experience. These can include:
things you did in school, college or university
any work, internships or volunteering experiences you've had
any training, workshops or courses you've done
things you've learned outside work
For example, the job description says you need to be organised. You could show your organisation skills by talking about:
planning travel in advance to consider your access needs
organizing a group or leisure activity you take part in
If you only have some of the 'essential' skills and experiences, talk about other skills you have.
For example, you could say: "I do not have experience of that, but I'm a fast learner and enjoy learning new things."
You could then give an example of being a fast learner. This could be something like learning to use new software to access online events or to keep in touch with family or friends.
Write answers to the questions you find and read them out. You could also get family or friends to ask you the questions as a mock interview so you can practise speaking in front of someone. Try this over video if you're having a video interview.
Employers usually want to see that you're interested in working for their company. Look at the company website to read about their mission and goals. You could also look at their current campaigns or projects on social media. Make sure you can say:
3 things you like about the company
why you're keen to work there
why you want the job
For example, you're applying for a job with Scope. You could say you want to work in a team that's passionate about creating change for disabled people and you feel inspired by:
recent campaigns that you like
the impact Scope has made in the last year from reading their annual report
At the end of the interview, they may ask if you have any questions for them. Try to think of at least 3 things to ask.
It's OK to feel nervous or anxious about a job interview. It shows that you care.
Sometimes feeling nervous or anxious can make you feel shaky or forget what you're going to say. But remember that the person interviewing you might also be nervous. They know people get anxious at job interviews. So they'll see past your nerves if you can answer their questions.
You may have heard people say to fake your confidence. Acting confident can be hard if you feel nervous or anxious. There are small things you can try to seem confident, be yourself and keep your nerves under control.
Make a good first impression
If you're going to the interview in person, let the interviewer know if you feel uncomfortable shaking hands or making eye contact. This will help them understand and be more considerate.
Smiling during the interview can help you come across as friendly and approachable.
Acknowledge your nerves
If your hands feel sweaty or shaky, it may help to acknowledge it and say you're feeling nervous.
Ask if you do not understand
Ask the interviewer if you do not understand a question.
It's best to be honest and say you do not know or that you've forgotten what you were going to say. If you pretend to know something, they may ask another question about it. Honesty is a good quality in an employee.
If you make a mistake
Try not to panic if you make a mistake. It does not mean you will not get the job. Explain that you made a mistake and ask if you can try answering the question again.
Talking about disability
You may have to mention you are disabled before the interview to get the support you need.
It's your choice whether you discuss your impairment or condition at your interview and how you choose to talk about it.
If you decide to talk about it, try to be as positive as you can. For example, instead of talking about the things you'll find difficult in the job, discuss how small changes can help you work more effectively.
Your experience of disability may be valuable in the role. For example, it may have given you skills like: