During a recent interview for a secretarial position, I
completely froze when I had to take a timed test of my typing
speed. Tests always made me anxious in school, and this typing test
brought back all those memories. I began to shake, lost my place,
and was barely able to finish.
During a recent interview for a secretarial position, I completely froze when I had to take a timed test of my typing speed. Tests always made me anxious in school, and this typing test brought back all those memories. I began to shake, lost my place, and was barely able to finish.
The interviewer allowed me to take the test again, but my performance was even worse the second time. When I got home, I called and left a message, explaining my anxiety problem and emphasizing my qualifications for the job. She never called back. How should I handle this problem?
Consider this situation from the interviewer’s perspective. First, she discovers that you may have difficulty typing, then she gets a message indicating that the issue is really severe anxiety. The only thing she knows for sure is that hiring you could create problems, though she’s not sure what kind.
To avoid repeating this scenario, you must either forgo interviews that include tests or learn to control your nervousness. One specific strategy for decreasing performance anxiety is repetitive practice. Have a friend give you simulated typing tests until they seem boring and routine, then see if your anxiety response diminishes.
If you prefer to bypass the tests altogether, simply ask the person scheduling your interview whether a typing test will be included. If the answer is yes, call back the next day and cancel, stating that you have decided to pursue other opportunities. No additional explanation is needed.
Many secretarial positions no longer require a demonstration of typing speed, so you should still have plenty of possibilities. Just remember that mentioning your anxiety reaction could make an interviewer anxious about hiring you.
After my boss was dismissed for mismanagement of funds, I was promoted to fill his position. I now report to a brand-new vice president who recently joined our company and plans to reorganize our department. Because of the taint left by my previous manager, I’m worried about my place in this new landscape.
I believe I have an important role to play, but I’m a behind-the-scenes type and have never been one to self-promote. My new boss is now having get-acquainted sessions with all of her direct reports. How should I approach this meeting?
Reluctant self-promoters should recognize that keeping management informed is not the same as bragging. If you fail to highlight your activities and accomplishments, they may not be considered when career decisions are made. This one-on-one with your new VP provides an excellent opportunity to make a good first impression.
Clearly explain how your group contributes to important business results, then review current goals and priorities. Ask appropriate questions to learn about your manager’s expectations and preferences.
Suggest how your talents might be used, but indicate your willingness to be flexible. If you manage this session well, you should easily escape from the shadow of your sleazy predecessor.