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I think it’s fair to say that most people dislike job interviews.
And for HSPs, they are extra super not-fun.
In this episode, I talk about why traditional interviews are a poor way to judge a candidate, how HSPs may react to being interviewed, and end it with 3 interviews tips. (Hey, I wanted to offer something helpful instead of just ranting!)
EXTRA TIP! After publishing this episode, I thought of a little tactic I use that you might find helpful. So…one of my biggest challenges is not being able to give great answers to questions instantly. I need time to think about things.
So, here’s the scenario: the interviewer asks me a tough question. I say, “Hmm. let me think for a moment.” Then, I try hard to think of an answer, but mostly panic instead. I give some weak, lame answer. Later, I kick myself about it. Here comes the save: after the interview, I email the interviewer with a better answer to that question. I would write something like this, “I was thinking about your question [fill in the question] and now that I’ve had more time to think about it, I want to say —-” Or something along those lines. Of course I am careful to make it sound natural and not awkward, and also like I’m offering something truly helpful to them. Use your judgement–don’t send this email unless you’ve got something really smart to say. I’m hoping my super awesome emailed answer will cancel out my terrible in-person answer. Hopefully they will understand that I was just nervous.
Related content on this blog:
- Here’s the blog post version of this episode
- Here’s the best job for a highly sensitive person
- Is self employment the best for HSPs?
For me, I can quickly answer questions that an interviewer asks me because I’m very creative, so it takes me no time to imagine a great answer. Also I’m an Intuitive so that helps a lot too.
Hi, Kelly. I have another tip: you don’t actually have to answer questions immediately. When we are feeling pressured, the time it takes us to think before answering may seem really long to us, but much shorter to the interviewer. You can test this out with a friend, taking turns pausing before answering and then sharing whether you thought the pause was uncomfortably long or not. And if you feel uncomfortable with the silence, you can say, Interesting question! or I hoped you would ask me that! or something else to fill up the space a bit. And you can also slow down the pace of your words, to make sure you don’t talk too fast out of nervousness.
Thanks Karen! I have definitely done this in interviews, but it makes me panic. I say something like, “Hm, let me think about that for a minute.” And then I pause to think and start to panic because I’m like OMG What if I can’t think of anything to say!!! So whenever I use that tactic, I usually end up sounding more nervous and giving a lame answer. But that’s just my personal experience. 🙂 HSPs often don’t perform really well under pressure, with someone watching them!
Hi Karen, I’m presently Looking for a job and I had 2 interviews. I was nervous and felt analysed like a bug under a microscope ! I then spent two days reviewing the scene in my head and saying to myself ” why didn’t I say this or that Instead ”
Finally, i wrote down all the questions that embarrassed me, took the time to think of an answer, wrote it and rehersed it. In other words, I’m getting prepared for the next one. Being a hsp, I need time to think and this way, most of the thinking will be done In advance, lowering the pressure. I look forward putting this tip to the test in my next interview.
Sylvie, thanks for sharing! How smart! I turn things over and over in my head, too, thinking about what I could have done differently. How wise of you to take control and turn it into something positive. I would prepare a lot before interviews, but of course, you still don’t know all the questions they will ask. Actually–you know what? you just made me think of something I want to add to this post….brb!
This is totally me! I feel really uncomfortable during interviews, and I can never think of answers fast enough without sounding stupid. I know I’m a really good employee, but job interviews never show that.
I’ve done a lot of job interviews recently, and finally got hired. In addition to the tips you mentioned, I’ve also found that interviewers tend to focus on two different things:
1. Are you qualified for the job?
2. Do I like you enough to work with you?
When it comes down to it, there are always a lot of well-qualified applicants for any job. The job I got was entry-level, so there was definitely a lot of competition. So what sets you apart from all of the competition? Employers often hire who they like best out of the pool of qualified applicants. So in addition to showing them how qualified you are, talk a little bit about yourself. Tell them about your personality, likes and dislikes, where you’re from, hobbies, and anything else that seems relevant. Often you will find common ground with the interviewer, which makes them seem less intimidating. It’ll also tell the interviewer if you’re somebody that they would enjoy working with.
Can you research about these topic “How to deal with controlling people/manipulator type personalities”. It will be very heplful as an HSP because we like it or not we will somehow deal with them one day.
Hi Kelly, I have just discovered your pod. Thank you so much for sharing! I have been thinking sometimes whether it is a drawback to say at the interview that you have characteristics of a HSP? I feel like bosses are in general frightened of dealing with emotions, but I also experience that I have to control this side of me. Do you have any ideas how to formulate this at the interview?
Hi, thanks for the comment! I would not mention it in an interview. There’s too big of a chance it could hurt you rather than help. Of course it depends on the job and environment. I write a little more about it here: http://highlysensitiveperson.net/telling-people-you-are-hsp/