Interview Panic: Don’t Speak At The Same Time As The Operator

Interview Panic: Don’t Speak At The Same Time As The Operator

On a recent trip to Paignton in Devon I found myself in an over-crowded car park lift. I was squashed up as far as I could towards the wall so as not to bump into the other passengers and stared straight ahead. (Is there such thing as lift etiquette?)

This happened to be directly at a small sign under an emergency button which read:

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“Don’t speak at the same time as the operator”

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This initially struck me as odd. Then I imagined the scenario which may have prompted such as sign. A person stuck in the lift full of anxiety pressing the button and speaking in a rush to the person on the other end. Not speaking to them, but at them. Not listening and following instruction but over them, interrupting, causing more confusion and panic.

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When we are nervous and under stress we ‘act out’ in many ways. Disaster survival studies have identified different types of human behaviour categories three of those being:

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1.   Those determined to survive. Experiencing ‘tunnel vision’ shutting out everything else other than the information needed to escape / survive.
2.    Those stunned into inaction. Literally frozen to the spot. The body shutting down into a state of shock.
3.    Those overcome by emotion. Displaying outward signs of fear, panic, and so on. Crying, screaming, repetitive motion.

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Although not on the disaster scale, these extreme reactions can be seen on a much smaller scale in the interview situation for those who fear it.

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Recognise your reactions to stressful situations and understand your part in the process.

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Just like in the lift, you need to communicate calmly and clearly. You need to work together with interviewer. Listen, don’t interrupt or assume you understand what they are trying to say, just let them finish.

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Unlike the lift or any other potentially disastrous situation you aren’t in any danger. You also aren’t going to be put through anything particularly taxing or challenging.

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You are simply there to answer questions usually based upon yourself. A topic you know better than anyone else.

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So allow yourself to be interviewed. Let the operator operate and follow the instructions given.

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Sarah Cooper has over 14 years Recruitment experience gained in both an internal and agency environment. As one of the founding Directors of McGinnis Loy Ltd, specialist Finance and HR Recruiters, she is still actively recruiting in the marketplace today. Follow her tweets @approachmarket

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