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  1. Senior Member
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    #1

    Default Keep failing at interviewing

    Ugh, I did it again guys and I'm kicking myself badly. I just can't interview and I don't know whats wrong with me. I face customers and answer their questions every day, I consult about IT all the time, I explain what I'm going to do, explain how I did it, and I've been doing the work for over 20 years, but I just have some problem when I'm in an interview situation.

    Had an interview the other day, I got the call out of the blue with no job description, I realized within minutes they needed someone with enterprise experience in their technologies, but thats not the issue. I got asked how I'd deploy and route a wireless guest network in a hotel environment, (so multiple access points in a multi story building). It didn't matter how I answered because I already wasn't what they where looking for, but I'm just really mad that I just froze up and stumbled and didn't give them a good answer. I know how to configure and deploy the equipment and the considerations for channel zone overlap, etc.

    This is just the most recent example, I've flubbed up even simpler things like the types of DNS records, etc.

    I'm working on getting an interview for a job I really want in a few days and I'll probably freak out there too, I really need to ace an interview badly. I've been looking for a long time and had lots of interviews that I completely fail at every time. The only thing I got is blind stubbornness so I'm not giving up.
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    #2
    This happens to me a lot and to other people. I usually look up the answer that I messed up on and write down on what I would do than move on. Sometimes it's not you but really them. Keep applying to more jobs and working on certifications.
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  4. Senior Member wd40's Avatar
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    #3
    Maybe you should consider joining a Toastmasters club, improve your speech and people skills, this will be a long term commitment but it will defiantly help you with the "freezing" issue.

    https://www.toastmasters.org/
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  5. Senior Member UncleB's Avatar
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    #4
    It is much more common than you imagine - and it is down to anxiety (not a very macho thing so most males won't talk about it much).

    It is fairly easy to control with practice and ideally a helping hand from someone with role playing the interview. Have at look at this link for some good pointers:
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog...erview-anxiety

    With a few good pointers you can use technique to control the symptoms which starts to return control and confidence to you and you then present as a calm and confident person which is most likely your normal state.

    Good luck and please let us know how you do eventually bring it under control.
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  6. Senior Member
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    #5
    Quote Originally Posted by wd40 View Post
    Maybe you should consider joining a Toastmasters club, improve your speech and people skills, this will be a long term commitment but it will defiantly help you with the "freezing" issue.

    https://www.toastmasters.org/
    This looks like a worthwhile experience.
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  7. Senior Member shochan's Avatar
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    #6
    I have choked at many interviews, just keep applying for them & you will come in contact with someone that you have a good vibe with & you will land the job. Just be yourself, honest of what you know & don't know and see what happens. If you don't get it, then you know it wasn't meant to be. Cheers!
    2018 goals -> PenTest+ Beta (awaiting results), CEH (Oct), Linux+ 103 (Dec)
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  8. Senior Member yoba222's Avatar
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    #7
    Came in to recommend Toastmasters and see it has been suggested already. Really good at building up your ability to think and speak on the fly. Example meeting:
    1) You get up in front of the group not knowing the topic.
    2) The topic: Space aliens are going to blow up the planet. You are Earth's spokesperson to talk them out of it.
    3) You have 5 minutes to talk. Timer starts now.

    The group expects you to fluster; this is how you get good at it.

    There are other skill building exercises that do involve preparation as that was only one example. Which reminds me, I was supposed to get back into toastmasters once I graduated -- that was 2 1/2 years ago so no excuses.
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  9. Senior Member
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    #8
    Recruiting agency interviews really helped me improve.
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    #9
    Failing several times puts you up for success later on, after failing a few times, you'll know what your weaknesses are and what you need to work on the next interview. Once you get the hang of things, interviews would be simple. In fact, keep it simple, don't think of it as an interview... think of it as a chance knowing the company better or getting the information of the company you want to work for before committing to them... it's not just your interviewer choosing you, you have to choose them in the end, to work or not to work with them.
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  11. Senior Member
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    #10
    Thanks guys, toastmasters probably would be a good idea. I guess I have a lot of issues. The recruiter interviews don't bother me and I guess to me its because they don't count and wouldn't even be interviewing me if I wasn't already going to be sent on to the ones who do matter. I do have lots of trouble with social anxiety disorder, it runs in my family and sadly I'm the one who has the least trouble with it. The others just hide in the houses and avoid people. I have this drive to keep improving myself and get a better job, etc. Every company I've ever worked for I've always been a top performer, constantly win monthly, quarterly, and annual awards. A top student in every cert class (there's way more than in my profile), and the bosses have always been extremely impressed with my knowledge and general work ethic, but they've all told me that they were not impressed in my interview and just hired me because they needed someone, but were very glad they found me later on.
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  12. Senior Member
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    #11
    Here's how the interviews usually go, I get in the door, shake hands and introductions, I'm sure that feels awkward to them because it sure does to me. Next we sit down and I get asked to tell them a little about myself most of the time. From that point on I just tell them some things, they ask questions, I give direct answers, we get to anything technical and I stumble and they can probably see the total panic on my face. I either say something completely stupid and incorrect trying to seem like I'm at all confident or I say almost nothing, and panic. Next we usually just say the parting things and I leave knowing I totally blew another interview.

    This really pisses me off because like I said I consult with clients as their tech support or consultant in a different role every day and I do an excellent job, I walk into clients offices with equipment and situations I've never seen before and come across as very cool and collected even if things are going downhill fast. I know how to handle extremely frustrated, cursing, screaming clients. I know how to take a really bad situation and turn it around into a client we keep and that regains confidence in my company and our technicians. I know how to tell a client I'm going to have to work on an issue and get back with them. I've been doing this for over 20 years, I'm an expert in client facing situations, but not in interviews. There I'm the focus of the attention, everything I say is being watched and judged down to how I'm sitting or what my hands are doing.

    And to make matters worse, I relocated to a new area which isn't going to have a lot of IT positions to pick from often and I need a job. I'm doing some freelance work to try to pay the bills, but thats progressing slowly.

    Sorry to be crying all over you guys, but I know a lot of you have great ideas and experience.
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  13. Burn Baby Burn! Cisco Inferno's Avatar
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    #12
    Sorry this happens.

    How about you work on a certification? Because, not only will you master that topic, but interviewers tend to gravitate the technical questions to those certs.

    If you had a CCNA, I'd naturally ask you more networking theory questions than servers.

    Also, each interview is just practice for the one you land.

    Give recruiters a chance, they are all young and as awkward. Makes it a little more level.
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  14. Senior Member Moon Child's Avatar
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    #13
    If anyone has failed at more interviews in their lifetime it is me bro. I get social anxiety around people. I am very quiet, shy, insecure and it comes out in interviews. I have come to the conclusion employers hire more for personality than what qualifications you have. Even if I had an MCSE, CCNP, MBA, etc it wouldn't matter my personality would fail me in the interview process. A lot easier to earn certs and degrees than to change your personality.

    I see people with less qualifications even people with just a high school diploma and no experience get better jobs than me because they have something employers want that I don't have that great personality everyone loves. They can make everyone laugh, make everyone feel comfortable, they have a lot of self-confidence in their speech, read people's body language and know what the are thinking and say just the right words to make them feel comfortable hiring them, they can easily make friends, and make everyone feel secure and comfortable to be around them. That is not me. I wish it was me, it is not. If I could be that way it would help me more than any future certs or degrees I could earn.

    So I am guessing by your post your problem is similar to mine. I flub up things a lot when I get nervous. Speech gets slurred, forget what I wanted to say, can't answer questions cause I am so nervous feel like I am going have a heart attack, mumble, play with my hands, tap my toes, tap the table, have very nervous gestures, get very shy and quiet, etc.

    If I had the personality employers wanted getting jobs would be so much easier, but changing one's personality to be that way is harder than any other degree or cert I could earn. Probably getting an MCSE or CCNA or MBA would be way easier than to be that personality that everyone likes. Some people just have this talent to have a charm everyone likes, to make the whole room laugh, to be a great conversationalist. For me to be that great communicator and have a rock star personality with excellent people skills is like the hardest thing in the world and I get really jealous of people I see who were born with that ability I wish I had.

    So I know what your going through it is tough
    Last edited by Moon Child; 12-10-2017 at 12:03 PM.
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  15. Senior Member
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    #14
    Sometimes the shy personality is exactly what an employer wants. There's a lot to be said for someone who keeps their head down and works. It all depends on the requirements of the job.
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  16. Darth Lord of the Sith ITSpectre's Avatar
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    #15
    Here is what helped me

    1. Google interview questions and research them....
    - I cannot stress this enough. I have googled IT interview questions before and read up on them and nailed interviews because of it. Learn the basics and build from there. My biggest flaw is the easy stuff I will mess up on, but the hard stuff I will fly by easily.

    2. Believe in yourself!
    - If you don't believe in yourself or your abilities nobody else will

    3. Study study study!
    - Always be studying about topics that may or may not come up in a interview. Always have at least 2 new topics to cover in case you are asked a question like "If you had to setup a network in a airport and secure it how would you do it"

    4. Do mock interviews with friends and family
    - This has also helped me. have a friend or girlfriend call you randomly and conduct a 20 min interview and have them give you feedback on what you did well on and what you did wrong. it will help you improve greatly

    5. Learn to use nervousness as confidence
    - it took me awhile to get that but I rarely am nervous in a job interview because its like meeting new people for the first time. But one way to get past that is focus on the strengths but acknowledge the weaknesses you may have and address them. Like if an employer in a interview asks "what is your greatest weakness" State what it may be and tell them how your improving it. Everyone has weaknesses but improvement is what they want to hear.
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  17. Senior Member
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    #16
    You're comfortable at work because you know you can handle the situation, where an interview is unexpected. Like ITspectre wrote interviewing is like meeting new people. Become comfortable meeting new people and that will help you immensely during interviews. I'd suggest attending events or activities you're interested in on meetup, facebook, eventbrite, etc. You'll be nervous at first but you'll eventually get comfortable, it helps if you're having fun.
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  18. Senior Member scaredoftests's Avatar
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    #17
    Have a notebook with you when going to interviews with a list of questions and also your research on the company. Face to Face, learn to relax and pretend they are your customers.
    Never let your fear decide your fate....
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  19. Member
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    #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Moon Child View Post
    If anyone has failed at more interviews in their lifetime it is me bro. I get social anxiety around people. I am very quiet, shy, insecure and it comes out in interviews. I have come to the conclusion employers hire more for personality than what qualifications you have. Even if I had an MCSE, CCNP, MBA, etc it wouldn't matter my personality would fail me in the interview process. A lot easier to earn certs and degrees than to change your personality.

    I see people with less qualifications even people with just a high school diploma and no experience get better jobs than me because they have something employers want that I don't have that great personality everyone loves. They can make everyone laugh, make everyone feel comfortable, they have a lot of self-confidence in their speech, read people's body language and know what the are thinking and say just the right words to make them feel comfortable hiring them, they can easily make friends, and make everyone feel secure and comfortable to be around them. That is not me. I wish it was me, it is not. If I could be that way it would help me more than any future certs or degrees I could earn.

    So I am guessing by your post your problem is similar to mine. I flub up things a lot when I get nervous. Speech gets slurred, forget what I wanted to say, can't answer questions cause I am so nervous feel like I am going have a heart attack, mumble, play with my hands, tap my toes, tap the table, have very nervous gestures, get very shy and quiet, etc.

    If I had the personality employers wanted getting jobs would be so much easier, but changing one's personality to be that way is harder than any other degree or cert I could earn. Probably getting an MCSE or CCNA or MBA would be way easier than to be that personality that everyone likes. Some people just have this talent to have a charm everyone likes, to make the whole room laugh, to be a great conversationalist. For me to be that great communicator and have a rock star personality with excellent people skills is like the hardest thing in the world and I get really jealous of people I see who were born with that ability I wish I had.

    So I know what your going through it is tough

    See my previous post: Medical IT / Medical Coding good mix for IT skills?

    Anyways, we're about the same - I am a very quiet person as well, but I get things done. People at work don't notice it, but I am only talkative when something I am truly interested in comes up, or if they're talking about something I am very familiar with, other than that, the only other times I am talkative is when they ask me questions and am looking for an answer. I take my time and think out the answer and provide it to them... As time passes by, being interviewed by people won't be "as scary" as it seems... apply to more jobs just for the interview process!

    One of the reasons why I chose my first job as sales associate/computer repair is I get to meet people and answer their questions, I moved up to a wholesaler, and in that same type of position/role, I was also the sales/service person to go to. Clients come in and we talk about what they need and I provide suggestions, just like the Original Poster - I am very good at my job, when interview time comes around, I fail sometimes. Heck, even the job I was in for 7.5 years was Help Desk/Support Analyst, where people from the same company call in and ask for assistance with their PC issues, if we can fix it remotely, great - if not, we're on site to assist/fix.

    Hilariously, just like Moon Child, I am a short person as well, I think i'm the exact height as my wife (she's Asian as well, and you know Asian people are short!). It doesn't matter to me much as it doesn't affect my performance in anything. My job doesn't require much in terms of physical demands, it's more demanding on the mind... am I a people person? Well, yes and no. I want to be more personable and sometimes I feel clients/fellow staff members are too into themselves and don't listen to advice. I guess providing suggestions is great, I don't mind if they don't take the advice, but they should at least acknowledge it.
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  20. Senior Member
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    #19
    This is why I like this forum, you guys are giving some great ideas and help. Moon child hits it pretty good. I could certainly get any certification and it would be easier than changing my personality. My wife is the exact opposite, she is to "type A" to be able to buckle down and get a certification. She's in sales and is brilliant around people, everyone buys what ever she's selling and they love her. Clients send her gifts all the time, and when she goes into an interview she gets the offer in the middle of the interview the first time, every time. She could probably get the tech job I want and she doesn't even know tech.

    I'm pretty good at passing the standard HR questions with the standard answers which is sad because most of it is just pretending to be a type A when they actually probably need a type B for the job duties.

    I'm thinking maybe I do so well with my clients because I'm just giving them a high level BS answer and they don't really need or want the details. This gets them to go back to their desks so that I can do my work and get the job done.
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  21. Senior Member NetworkingStudent's Avatar
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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Dojiscalper View Post
    Ugh, I did it again guys and I'm kicking myself badly. I just can't interview and I don't know whats wrong with me. I face customers and answer their questions every day, I consult about IT all the time, I explain what I'm going to do, explain how I did it, and I've been doing the work for over 20 years, but I just have some problem when I'm in an interview situation.

    Had an interview the other day, I got the call out of the blue with no job description, I realized within minutes they needed someone with enterprise experience in their technologies, but thats not the issue. I got asked how I'd deploy and route a wireless guest network in a hotel environment, (so multiple access points in a multi story building). It didn't matter how I answered because I already wasn't what they where looking for, but I'm just really mad that I just froze up and stumbled and didn't give them a good answer. I know how to configure and deploy the equipment and the considerations for channel zone overlap, etc.

    This is just the most recent example, I've flubbed up even simpler things like the types of DNS records, etc.

    I'm working on getting an interview for a job I really want in a few days and I'll probably freak out there too, I really need to ace an interview badly. I've been looking for a long time and had lots of interviews that I completely fail at every time. The only thing I got is blind stubbornness so I'm not giving up.
    Try some of these free webinars for Job hunting. If you can't make it, they send you a play back. I have seen the presenter before and she has aalot of good content. The webinars are free for the holday season.

    https://yourcareerconnects.com/webin...terview-series

    HOW TO NAIL AN INTERVIEW WITH A HIRING MANAGER
    Friday, December 15 2017 12:00 - 1:00 PM CST
    Unfortunately, very few managers are trained on how to interview. That can put you in some rough situations. Great news! There are some easy, proven things you can do to get ready for whatever comes your way – and nail your next interview.
    You will learn:
    How to prep for the hiring manager interview
    The 5 things they care about most
    How to identify & overcome their concerns
    How to close the deal
    When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened."

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  22. Junior Member
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    #21
    When they call ask if you can call them back as now is not a good time.
    Do research on their company and the position then think about what type of questions they are going to ask you
    call them back when you are prepared and ace the interview
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  23. Senior Member
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    #22
    I think something that may help you is to ask questions as well.

    If they ask you a question like "how you'd deploy and route a wireless guest network in a hotel environment". You should be asking them questions before giving an answer. I mean, you don't know what they want to achieve. So if they give you an open question ask them for specific information, if they can't provide it, make a couple of assumptions and give them an open answer that isn't too specific and just tell them they would have to provide specific requirements for a more specific/complex implementation.

    "route a wireless guest environment?" Normally the only access a guest wireless network needs is access to the internet, so routing to other networks within the hotel isn't required and is a security risk.

    "how you would deploy?" Use a WLC with APs that obtain their specific configuration automatically from the WLC. This allows for simple installation and auto provisioning of APs on the fly.


    See how the answers are only as specific as the questions. I would encourage you to engage more and ask questions yourself. I work in a NOC all we do is troubleshoot and figure out solutions, but most of the time we deal with people that don't know much. We have to ask questions to get the info we need in order to be useful.




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  24. Junior Member
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    #23
    Everyone has given such great answers for long term solutions. I've got one for you in the short term and if you're on short notice. Take a shot or two about 10-15 mins before the interview, just don't overdo it, and make sure to have breathmints handy. That will help loosen your nerves up a little, and at least take that roadblock out of the equation.
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  25. Senior Member
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    #24
    Interviewing is one of the hardest things most of us do. I consider myself an introvert, but a lot of people seem surprised when I tell them I'm shy. I am an anxious person and I am an Aspie, and after receiving help, my anxiety is greatly reduced. There isn't much that can help an Aspie with reading people or being better with non-verbal cues. For those who are in the military or have a clearance, getting help like this can be problematic for the security clearance renewal.

    Good luck everyone!
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  26. Senior Member
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    #25
    The interview I'm wanting still hasn't happened though it is the holidays so I'm gonna check back with the company next week to see if they are back and ready to talk. I have all my notes ready and have given a lot of thought to each of their technologies and skills on the description and I was thinking of trying to approach this in the way I'd do with my clients and sell them on what I can do for them on each point.

    I totally wish a shot or two would do the trick. I have some weird problem where alcohol doesn't really do anything to me unless I downed a lot of really good stuff.

    Lots of aspies in my family, I'm lucky enough to be the one with this huge drive to continually improve and the willingness to try to grow as much as possible. The rest of the family for the most part wouldn't even admit they are different except for a couple who are officially diagnosed.
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