I just took my first Board today and after embarrassing myself and boring the hell out of the gentlemen interviewing me, I wanted to enlist your help for any future interview I might have.

Youíre not alone. I often hear from candidates who say they bombed or get real nervous going into or during their oral boards.

On a recent phone call I had difficulty understanding the caller. I thought we had a bad connection or he was on a cell phone. I said, ďIím sorry I canít understand what youíre saying?Ē After another attempt by the caller, I again said, ďIím sorry I canít understand what youíre saying?Ē During the third attempt I realized the candidate was stuttering.

He had read this posting from one of our candidates and wanted to know what he could do to prepare:

To make a long story short, nothing counts until you have the badge, nothing. For all of the candidates out there that donít believe this, try passing and ranking #1 on orals with a stuttering problem . . . I did. Thanks Captain Bob---Dave.

The panel expects you to be somewhat nervous. When candidates become overly nervous, their mouth goes as dry as the Goby Desert, the panel members can be a little stressed too. When this happens, I suggest the candidate stop, gather their thoughts and tell the panel, ďIím real excited about this opportunity and Iím nervous about making the right impression.

This seems to clear the air, relaxes the candidate and the panel members. Itís out in the open now and the panel members will do their best to extend gestures across that long table to help you relax. The panel might even let you revisit a previous question like the following candidate:

I completed my first sentence...and went completely blank!! I mean BLANK!! I actually felt a tumbleweed roll through my head!

I stammered a little, chuckled once and had nothing to offer! I looked into each of their eyes kind of laughing to myself and received a couple chuckles in return, and then one of the panel members threw me a bone and offered to move on to the next question in which I offered a heartfelt "Thank you, that would be excellent".

From that second on, I was crystal clear and the remainder of my interview was totally solid. I was calm, I didn't panic, spoke clearly and offered insightful answers. I was then offered to revisit my "blank out" question, and somehow the flood-gates opened and this time answered that question like it was the only source of knowledge I possessed in my head.

Getting back to the candidate on the phone, as soon as he told me he doesnít usually stutter, I gave him the above solution, it was out in open just like in an oral board, he relaxed and amazingly enough stopped stuttering. He opened up, his personality came forward as he gained confidence. He was going to try this formula on his next interview.

The more you practice with a tape recorder the more it will smooth things out.

You can find more about stuttering here:

Captain Bob