I SUCK AT INTERVIEWS!
One day, soon after I received my graduate degree, I received a call from a hiring manager at American Express Corporation. They wanted to interview me for a “Communications Director” position. I had a background in communications, a graduate business degree, and lots of training on how to handle myself on an interview. Piece of cake, right? We scheduled a 60 minutes phone interview for a few days later. I did my homework: rehearsed my spill about my skills, read up on the company, had my resume memorized. When the call came, I froze. I was unable of verbalizing a single coherent answer. “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”, “Huh, I want to huh… grow… yeah, grow”. Seriously? I felt embarrassed as I said those words, and many others that did not make sense to me and I am sure did not make sense to them. The interview was cut short at 20 minutes and I knew there was no way I would get the job. A few days later on a follow up call I asked for the hiring manager’s feedback, and he said “When we looked at your resume we thought you were over qualified for the job, but when we were on the phone it sounded like it was someone else we were speaking to”. Sigh.
Situations like that repeated themselves several times during my professional career, in fact, I have NEVER gotten a job I interviewed for. All the jobs I had were granted to me because I was recommended by someone I knew and the interview went something more like a casual conversation than a formal interview. Funny thing is, I have coached friends and relatives on interview techniques (and they got the job), I have attended many workshops and seminars on job searching skills, yet when the time comes for me to perform, nada! I see so many people who are not as qualified or educated getting jobs because they interview so well, they are so eloquent. Neither my personality nor my intellect show through during an interview.
What does it have to do with ADD? People with Attention Deficit Disorder might have difficulty organizing their thoughts and performing under pressure. “They blank when put on the spot” says a website. This article explains it well:
“A thought process begins when a question is asked. The person responding must stop, listen to what is being asked, compare this information to previous experiences, choose an option and then respond. The person with AD/HD most often has difficulty in step one – stopping. As such, the process does not occur and, like the balls in the lottery machine, what comes out of the mouth is often a surprise even to the person who said it! This happens because of the difficulty isolating individual thoughts in a brain that’s constantly being filled with new ideas. The spoken word only becomes real when it is uttered aloud. It is only after the word leaves the mouth that the AD/HD individual can decide whether or not it make sense, and whether or not it’s appropriate. So the statement, “I didn’t mean that” should be taken literally.”
So how am I supposed to ever get a job, especially in such a market? Well, I’ll tell you when I find the answer.