Bouncing Back from Interview Rejections

With the current economic climate, jobs are difficult to get. As a person who stutters you may be finding it even harder to get a job.

One of the main challenges, which I know from personal experience, is the interview process. Actually answering questions during an interview is one thing, the worry and anxiety before you’ve even entered the interview room is another! You may also be living in a nation where you were rejected for a job because of your stuttering.

However, there a number of things you can do next time, as a part of your interview preparation process to help maximise your chances of landing the job you want. Below are some things you can do to help you.

Know your stuff

This is standard preparation for all interviews for everyone, not just if you stutter. Find out about the organisation. Pick out all the job requirements and make a note of examples where you can demonstrate you have the competencies required for the job. Simple as this seems, it’s a great way to start your preparation.

1. Use your creative imagination

Instead of imagining how badly the interview will go, imagine the way you would like it to go instead.

Imagine really vividly, what you would do, if the interview went just like you want it to. Imagine you being confident and assertive, looking at the interviewers in the eyes and answering their questions.

Imagine the interviewers responding to your answers with interest and curiosity.

Use a couple of different perspectives. Imagine your perfect interview as if you are seeing out of your own eyes, and allow yourself to feel confident and assertive as you imagine, so that you program your mind-body to remember what being in this ‘powerful interview’ state feels like.

Also imagine it so you can see yourself in the “movie”, again to reinforce how you want to perform during the interview.

Do this type of creative imagining for 10 minutes a day for 7 days before the interview.

2. Use other times when you were successful at things to help you

So at the moment you believe you’re not going to be able to do the interview well because you stutter?

Well ask yourself if you have ever completed something else successfully? There must be something you did well. It doesn’t matter even if it was years ago. Let’s say you organised a 90th birthday party for your Nan 5 years ago. Remember, what that was like vividly.

Remember what it felt like and how you acted. Really get into the state you were in at that time, and when you feel this state strongly, apply it to your worry that you won’t be able to take an interview. Allow your concerns to transform into confidence as you now see yourself taking the interview from a position of success.

3. Reframe any negative beliefs you have about succeeding in an interview

If unhelpful beliefs about interviews continue to hold you back, it’s time to loosen up those beliefs and start to believe something else. You can do this by looking ‘outside the box’.

How long have you been trying at interviews and allowing just the thought of them to scare you to death? Have you decided this is the way you are going to live your life? Is this your final say on the matter, or can you decide to do something else?

Is going for an interview really worth worrying that much about? Surely there are worse things? What if you found out you might not be able to speak at all tomorrow, let along speak and stutter. Wouldn’t that be something worth worrying about?

If you just can’t do well in the interview, would you just be willing to consider for a moment that you can? What would you be doing differently?

Yes, talking during an interview is very important, but is this the only thing you do? Surely other factors come into play such as how clearly you are expressing yourself, the volume you are speaking at, what you’re wearing?

4. Rehearse your answers

If you stutter you can help yourself by writing out specific answers to typical questions asked and then practice rehearsing your answers. Get a friend to ask you the questions and you answer them out aloud.

There are many things such as the above, which you do to help you succeed in interviews. Once you have done all your preparation, forget about it. You have programmed your mind to do what needs to done. Go into the interview, allow your unconscious to take over, and give it your best.

Let 2012 be the year you demolish the fear that stuttering will hold you back from succeeding in interviews, and get the job you want.

Happy New Year.



  1. Hi

    This is really a good article on Interview preparation.It reminds me when i was looking job in Mumbai.Rejected many times & finally got one.But We should have good knowledge in our field and i m sure there is at least one job for everyone.

    Thanks for this article


    1. Vaibhav, you are right. There is a job for everyone. We just need to keep knocking on the doors and pretty soon one will open! Thanks for your comment.

  2. Happy New Year Hiten!

    Love the new blog design–crisp, clean and fresh :).

    Wow–going on a job interview is anxiety-provoking enough, and I can only imagine the spike in stress levels if you stutter…

    Wonderful tips and I like the emphasis on preparation.

    What are your thoughts around acknowledging your stuttering issue…? I ask because I’m reminded of being in clinical supervision for my license hours, and I brought up a Bachelor of Social Work intern who I had supervised for his field placement. He had a physical handicap where one of his legs was substantially shorter. He wore a corrective shoe, and there was no denying “the white elephant” in the room. He was a fabulous intern, and his lack of walking speed did not impede on his duties. My supervisor was appalled that I never addressed this with him…Looking back, yeah, it was a huge rookie mistake, and totally insensitive on my part. I know there’s various levels of stuttering, and I’m curious as to your experience and your advice about being authentic right off the bat…

    Thank you :).

    1. Happy New Year Linda!

      Glad you liked the website and I appreciate your appreciation of the tips! 🙂

      Thanks for your question. Regarding being authentic right from the start, I guess it depends person to person, because as you say the severity of stuttering varies so much.

      What I would say is if a person knows that her/his stuttering could be a problem for them (either emotionally or through the physical stuttering behaviour) once in a job, then tell the interviewers right from the start.

      I know this from experience. I had a couple of jobs in the past where I didn’t disclose at interview stage (because of worry that it might be used against me) and I got the jobs. However, there were periods when my stuttering got worse, so I ended up telling my bosses anyway. I wish I did at the start because they were totally cool and understanding about it.

      So yeah, go ahead and tell them upfront! 🙂 At the very least it will reduce a lot of anxiety.

  3. Would it be wise to tell the interviewer prior to the interview that you stutter?

    Greg S.

  4. Hi Greg,

    If stuttering is still a problem for a person and is causing him/her anxiety, then I say yes, tell the interviewer before the interview or just at the beginning. Doing so will just put the person at ease and anxiety levels will go down like crazy, which is a good thing. 🙂

    Thanks for your comment.

  5. its so important that we learn how to stand up after being rejected
    thank you for this post 🙂

  6. Hi Farouk,

    Let us be rejected. What is the big deal? The more we get rejected, the more we will just keep standing up again! 🙂

    Thanks for commenting my friend. 🙂

  7. […] in life, where stammering can be a problem. The first one is all about dealing with the anxiety of job interviews and replacing negative beliefs about your ability to take them, with empowering […]

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge