25th Apr 2018
Interviews are hard work. Unsurprisingly, most of us experience anxiety about pretty much every aspect of the process – from what to wear, what to say (and not to say) and how to sit. These feelings can either motivate or distract you. Here are some tips to help you tame that nervous energy and channel it to help you show up and be the best version of yourself.
The week before the interview…
Deal with the ‘what if’s’
The ‘what if’s’ are the reoccurring thoughts directed towards the worst possible outcome. They are the nightmare scenarios – ‘What if they ask me this?’, or ‘What if I don’t answer the question perfectly?’, or ‘What if I forget?’, ’What if I fall?’ or ‘What if they don’t like me?’ Confront these spinning thoughts. Take a moment to ask- When did you forget how to answers questions about yourself? Or, when was the last time you fell walking into a room? Dispute the ‘what if’s’, tame your inner critic and in doing so give your inner hero permission to show up.
Control what you can
It is not possible to predict the questions you will be asked (although there are some commonly asked ones you can prepare for) or how the interview panel will react to you or the mood in the room. What is within your control, is how you prepare. Research the organisation. Spend time on their website, read quarterly reports, be knowledgeable about awards won and speak to current employees. Pick a few things that really interest you about the company, align them with your interests and integrate them into your answers.
Dissect your CV or application to identify practical examples of your professional achievements. Make notes and use them to rehearse what you will say at interview. As you do this, record your momentous moments and use them as evidence of your professional ability. Having evidence-based examples, complete with related statistics, figures, KPI’s etc., to back up your skills and expertise, increases your confidence while preparing you for all possible questions.
Do a mock interview with a friend or colleague. Or, if possible, do one with the professional companies that specialise in this area. The more you practice before the interview, the more comfortable you will be talking about yourself out loud.
On the day of the interview…
Don’t force yourself to calm down as this just increases your stress. Acknowledge and name every single symptom that you feel. It could be sweaty palms, dry mouth, butterflies in your stomach, headache or crankiness, etc. Accept these feelings as normal. After all, if the interview or job wasn’t important you wouldn’t feel nervous. Turn the dial and focus your mind on these feelings as a source of motivation and energy as you prepare for your interview.
Sighs and Superhero poses
Directly before the interview, take a deep breath and let it out as a long sigh. This eases tension and relaxes your shoulders and neck muscles. Straight away assume the superhero pose by standing tall, with your hands on your hips and your elbows jutting out. While in the superhero pose take one or two more deep breaths. This increases the oxygen flow in your body that helps your brain to function optimally, while also improving your mood. Not to mention, a strong posture improves your confidence, even if you don’t feel confident. To find out more check out Ann Cuddy’s TED Talk.
Get the basics right
Be on time. And on time means arriving close to your interview location 30 minutes early. Find a coffee shop and use that time to eat something small, take a drink of water and look over your notes. Choose your clothes and shoes wisely. Wear something you feel 100% comfortable in. For most people interviews are an inescapable part of designing a career that you love. You can’t avoid the anxiety that they bring, but you can harness that energy for good. Use the tips above to give you the best chance of landing a job you really want.
Remember, if you don’t design a career that you love, someone else will do it for you. And you may not like their version. Good luck!
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