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  • Getting over interview nerves !
  • renton

    So I’m due to leave the RAF in a few months after 22 years and have been applying for roles.

    The problem is that I’m getting mega mega nervous about interviews.

    To the point where I’m getting selected for interview and the panic just sets in and I email to say I’m withdrawing my application.

    I am literally shitting myself.

    Can any of you offer suggestions to combat it !!



    Masturbation will save your life.

    Any time you get freaked out or stressed, go have a ****. When you look at the issue again you will see it with a new clarity.

    I recommend climaxing 3 times a day or so. It will help you.


    More interviews!

    Do some “mock interviews” – does the RAF offer this? Job centre might – well worth it.

    Find a mate in a senior position who interviews people to interview you.

    I found after about the 3rd interview I would know what to expect and what I was going o say – and you need to get used to thinking on your feet – nerves do not help.

    Premier Icon chvck

    Remember that interviews are a two way street and that the interviewers don’t hold all the power, you hold power too. You’re making sure that you want to work for them. Unless they’re a bunch of asshats then they want to like you, they’re already getting you in and you fitting the role means they can stop interviewing. Realising that helped me a lot, YMMV. I used to get nervous when I was younger but I’ve done enough of them now to be relaxed. It’s also easier when you already have a job so aren’t in a bit of a rush.

    Premier Icon jekkyl

    A lil dab o speed’LL see ya right.

    Premier Icon MoreCashThanDash

    Imagine the interviewer naked.

    That’s got me through quite a few interviews, in a number of ways….

    Premier Icon bruneep

    [strong]yourguitarhero[/strong] wrote:

    Masturbation will save your life.
    Any time you get freaked out or stressed, go have a ****. When you look at the issue again you will see it with a new clarity.
    I recommend climaxing 3 times a day or so. It will help you.

    Is that during the interview?

    Do the RAF not offer exit assistance you can use. Interview rather than masterbation assisatance

    Premier Icon Greybeard

    If you are withdrawing your application, you’ve accepted you won’t get that job. So why not go to the interview – either it goes well and you get the job or it doesn’t and you learn how to approach the next one. If you’ve decided it’s not the end of the world if you don’t get it, you don’t need to stress about it and will perform better. My wife recommended that approach to a friend, she got the job.

    Also remember an interview can be two way – look at it as their opportunity to convince you that you want to work for them.

    You have my sympathy .If you are literally shitting yourself it will make the interview very difficult .

    Some would say that the interview is not really the problem. Some might say that the real problem is the feeling of leaving the RAF after TWENTY TWO years…..

    It’s a big, scarey leap into the unknown. Twenty two years is a long time. Plenty of time to get institutionalised. Leaving everything you know, must feel something like the “Brooks was here scene” from Shawshank.

    Talk to someone about how you really feel about leaving the RAF. It might just help.

    Where are you based? I work in adult learning and I’m currently involved in a project with the Armed Forces Covenant (I can send you details when I’m back at work) which is set up to help forces personnel adjust to civilian life and a part of that can be getting a job.

    On the adult learning side we run regular courses aimed at exactly what you’re describing.

    I’m on the marketing side but if you want to drop me a PM I’ll help if I can.


    Sign on again? I presume you’ve got your 3rd now Steve

    Premier Icon big_scot_nanny

    Renton, I can only imagine how stressful it must be – but stick with it!

    as @chvck says (its a great point), its helped me and my friends recently to remember that you are interviewing them, just as much as they are interviewing you.

    So, think about what you’d really like to know about THEM to help decide if its a place YOU want to work.

    Premier Icon theboatman

    [url=]image host[/url]


    More interviews will get you into the swing, bapsism of fire and all that.

    I also found the ‘be my interviewer’ video’s helpful, they ask all the hard questions, I felt like a bit of a dick talking back to a video, but i found it very helpful for confidence and awkward questions.

    Have a look at this series of videos and try to get an answer for each question, (write it down or talk) so you know what to expect

    If you can muster a half baked answer to the questions from the different ‘interviewers’ then you’ll be in pretty good shape.

    Pause the videos so you can write down an answer or talk back to the videos.

    Being interviewed is actually a bit of a skill in itself, so being well versed in any difficult or curve ball questions will really help.

    Premier Icon w00dster

    Prep is key. Know your CV inside out, you may be asked to discuss your experience, you can script this, have it nailed so you can talk about your experience in a really clear manner. Also think about how your experience will relate to the job you are going for, ensure this is discussed by you when you discuss your experience.
    Use Google to look at the answers to key interview questions for the job you are going for. Write these out in a way that shows you have acknowledged a problem (or issue), the potential impact if you didn’t action, the remediation action you took and how it was a positive result. You may be asked about working with different types of people, different ways of working to you and how you handle those situations.
    But in my experience preparation and multiple interviews are the only way forward. You need to also understand that not getting the job isn’t a negative reflection on you, there are always people who may be more suited to a job. I have pages and pages of prep for each of the interviews I go for. The more you get used to the flow of the interview and the type of questions you’ll be asked, the easier it is to be prepared.

    My brother left the army last year after 26 years. He really struggles with the people aspect of it. He was a regimental sergeant major and very used to people doing what he said and when he said it – now in the real world he has people who are more inclined to do work as they want and when they want. He also found his interviewers more interested in discussing his army experience rather than actually interviewing him.

    I also served, but only my 9 years. I work as a contractor in the finance industry now so go through the interview mill every 2 or 3 years. Current job I had about 6 interviews before getting this role (including two with second interviews).

    Good luck with your future.

    Premier Icon theotherjonv

    Nerves are difficult if they are really that bad, and maybe seek some proper help if they are – but honestly what’s the worst? You aren’t going to be shot at or blown up for giving a bad interview; at worst you could walk away feeling a bit silly but with more experience.

    More practically, on the basis that the more prepared you are the less there is to worry about…..

    Everyone’s a bit nervous about interviews but the fact they’re asking you to interview is already a big step, that they’ve seen something in your CV / application that interests them and they want to find out more about you. You’re not in the 80+ % that are now heading for recycling.

    22 years in the RAF must have given you loads of relevant transferable skills, and the fact you’ve made 22 years shows you are reliable, trustworthy, etc. These are all things as an interviewer I get nervous about – I can test and judge skills and capabilities with questions and answers, but I worry about recruiting someone that can’t get on with people or aren’t reliable, and recruiting takes a lot of time, maybe an outlay to a recruiter and picking a baddun’ costs time and effort, may affect the wider company and you’ll be known for it afterwards. If you pick a bad company, you can just leave again. This side of the table has nerves too, believe me!

    In terms of specifics, if I was recruiting ex-services I’d see that as favourable and also be mindful that after 22 years you are not particularly used to jobseeking and interviewing, and I’d try to allow for that. But that said, there are some things you can practise / questions that frequently come up, and ways to answer them (honestly, but in a certain framework) – Google behavioural interview questions and STAR based responses (eg: ) and sort out your answers to this type of question.

    And also read up a bit on the company and job you’re going for, so you can be a bit knowledgeable in your questions to them. It should be obvious but you’d be surprised how many don’t do this, and how it counts against them.

    Premier Icon footflaps

    Meditation tapes / breathing exercises to calm yourself down.

    I use something called 7 11 breathing to calm myself down in stressful situations, basically if you breathe out slower than you breathe in (eg 11 secs vs 7 secs) it rapidly calms your Sympathetic Nervous System (fight or flight response). I often end up breathing in quickly and then out super slowly over 20 secs; works within a few breathes.

    Premier Icon seosamh77

    Do you need the jobs immediately?

    If not, go in an interview them.


    Thanks for all of the replies. They are all really helpful.

    Stu170: I’ve got my 3rd but turned down 30 years due to family circumstances in that my family are now settled in the family home in droitwich and I live in the block and commute at weekends. It’s really taken its toll on me mentally and physically and it’s not sustainable any more.

    I think my nerves in this case are down to the particular role I’ve been selected for interview for. Talking to the recruiter it seems there is a lot of internal and family politics going on at the place and the overall American company that own the place want me to basically spy and report back on the people that currently run the place. I’m not down for that especially as I’m trying to learn the new trade.

    It is a big jump into “civvie street” after being in the military. No doubt about that !!


    Some great advice above.

    You’ve been chosen for interview. So you already know you have something they’re interested in.

    The interviews I’ve been successful in were the ones I actually enjoyed, which was because there was some sort of chemistry between me and the prospective employers, or because I loved my “subject”. If there wasn’t one of those, why would I want to work there anyway? That helped me. Also, I’d done my research, on the job and on the company, so was more confident. That doesn’t mean I was actually more experienced compared with all candidates, but I made sure I was fundamentally positive, and to come across as approachable and human. All you have to do is a bit more than the other guy.

    Also, remember that not being selected isn’t a problem. Just wasn’t meant to be. With every interview you do, you get better at it.

    Those that I found were harder, or I was more nervous in, tended to be for jobs where I was “winging it a bit”, not having researched as much as I should have. With a huge amount of life experience and lots of transferable skills, which anybody who has followed your career path obviously has, you’ll likely turn out to be more able to react well, and to answer more intelligently than many candidates.

    There have been numerous interviews I’ve attended with no real wish to get the job, or no expectation of having a chance. I’ve seen these as practice sessions, but also as a way to find out more about the people and the company just out of interest; an enquiring mind will always impress. Given that during some of these I was unemployed, I also viewed each as a “day out” and planned other interesting things to do that day near to the location of the interview, which helped me just be happier just to be out of the house and in a positive frame of mind.


    Forgot to say. The other thing is to make sure that travel, timings, etc are not part of the stress that day! Plan your route, allow lots of time, and if early, already have the knowledge of a nearby cafe or something you can go and sit in, relax with a coffee/tea or whatever, and if you feel the need, read through any notes you’ve had one final time to remind yourself you’re prepared. Just by doing this, I guarantee you’re already ahead of many candidates I’ve come across when sat on the other side of the table!

    Premier Icon chakaping

    Good advice from several posters above, but ultimately it may take you a few goes to get the hang of it.

    I went more than 10 years without a job interview and when I started having them again I was terrible. Competency-based interviews really threw me.

    Got quite good at them in the end though and actually enjoyed the last few, feeling confident and relaxed and treating it as a discussion rather than a “test”.

    Good luck!

    Interviews are a two way street, a courtship if you will, do they want you, do you want to work for them?

    I’ve turned down a job offer after sailing the interview because my “Spidey-sense” gave me bad vibes as the interview wore on and another interview I didn’t get the job I was glad I didn’t as both people on the panel didn’t inspire me to want to work for them for different reasons.

    oh and treat everyone as a practice for the next one.


    That job sounds a nightmare btw, steer clear.

    Premier Icon singlespeedstu

    Offers the best advice here.
    You can even up the ante if you’re mega stressed by going for the “danger ****”.
    Don’t be tempted to go for the “Supreme danger ****” thought as that will just pile more pressure on and not help at all.

    Premier Icon pondo

    Good luck, scary stuff but embrace the change (easier said than done!).

    Also, I’d done my research, on the job and on the company, so was more confident. 

    This muchly – if you’ve done everything you can in advance, it places you well to do as you’re capable of, and if you do that, that’s as much as you can do.

    Premier Icon youngrob

    I’ve just skimmed the answers above but they seem to have some good advice.

    To add my 2p, preparation is the key. Get a book called Brilliant Interview. The same author also has a book called ‘How to succeed in any interview’. Both books take you through the entire process from application to accepting the job.

    I interviewed candidates for a role recently and I had one guy who had been in the army for 20 years and was looking for his first role outside, he didn’t answer the questions in a way that gave me any indication of how he’d approach the role despite me asking the same questions in different ways. It was apparent that the army hadn’t prepared him at all for interviews. One of my colleagues, who was also in the army, confirmed this and told me about a BT course that he’d attended, it was a free one day course on interview technique and how to approach them. I’m sorry, this is all the detail I have but a quick google will probably help you.

    Good luck and try to relax, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to get the first job, interview technique is something that comes with practise.


    I’m sure you should be able to arrange mock interviews with The career transition partnership people through your resettlement. My first couple of interviews when I was getting out were for jobs that I really wasn’t that bothered about and more just for experience.

    After being made redundant during the oil and gas slump I must’ve had over 20 interviews and 90% of the interviewers were absolutely fine and was more of a general chat. The ones that weren’t ok didn’t matter anyway as the put me off wanting to work for them.

    Good luck. You’ll be surprised at just how much respect a lot of workplaces have for ex forces.

    Premier Icon nparker

    Steve, if you are looking for help transitioning into a civilian role after life in the RAF I recommend having a look at They can help you with finding work, preparing your CV, preparing for interviews and accessing free training. They are run by ex-military people so are well placed to understand your situation.

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