Does an interview fill you with fear?
It doesn’t have to. Read on to learn how to enhance your performance for the big day
Interview nerves are incredibly common for many of us and it’s no mystery why that is. You are asked, in a pressured situation, to ‘sell yourself’ and to prove that you deserve a job that could potentially make a huge impact on your life and career. Natural? not at all.
Given our tribal past, human beings thrive on acceptance and connection so its not surprising that we fear the ‘no’ and often take the prospect of a ‘no’ far more personally than we should. Thankfully there are shifts we can make in our approach to an interview that can make all the difference. I’ve reaped the benefits of these, as well as teaching them to my Manchester hypnotherapy clients with great results.
Of course there is a wealth of resources out there to teach you how to prepare, intellectually, for an interview. In my career as a solicitor I went through dozens of assessments and interviews and made sure I had done all the necessary research, re-familiarised myself with my CV and practised relevant tests.
However what is often overlooked is no matter how intellectually impressive you might seem, decisions to recruit people are ultimately based on unconscious beliefs and gut instincts. The perfect candidate on paper won’t get hired if the person hiring isn’t convinced by you, has a ‘niggle’ about your ability or doesn’t gain rapport with you. Provided you have the necessary skill set, what tends to get in the way at interview is lack of self belief which can manifest itself in some of the following:
- Blustering or vastly exaggerating your abilities in order to impress;
- Talking too loudly or quietly;
- Talking to quickly;
- Not listening to the question properly or answering the question you think you’ve been asked;
- Not smiling, sweating, coughing, blushing or stammering.
By the way I have done pretty much all of these and you are not alone if you are nodding your head vigorously as you read this.
Some of these symptoms of nerves are not necessary negative and go hand in hand with the adrenaline rush that boosts our memory and performance. The danger zone is when our lack of confidence inhibits performance to the point that we struggle to communicate and build rapport with those interviewing us. The below tips can help us relax and prepare for our interview, so that we can approach it in a more relaxed manner, allowing conversation and answers to flow more easily and clearly.
Use your body
We always believe body language over and above what people say about themselves. If you are talking about how you can manage certain situations with confidence and are slouched in your chair and not making eye contact, your body is telling a different story.
The mind and body are part of the same system so if we manipulate the body to take on the posture of a confident person, breathing like a confident person, then the mind is likely to follow suit. Its a case of ‘fake it till you make it’. Some of us know how our physiology changes when we’re feeling more relaxed and confident. The more you practice, the easier it is to embody a more confident way of being. For example I know I feel more confident if I stand taller, relax my shoulders and breathe from my belly.
For more tips on how your physiology can alter your mindset, have a look Amy Cuddy’s Ted Talk on body language.
Embody the confident you…or someone else
For some of us,we need some extra help in embodying our more confident side. A great way to do this is to draw on a memory where we felt really confident in our ability. A lot of people have at least one memory like this even if it dates back to childhood. Simply:
- Stand up and close your eyes to enable you to focus;
- Recall a memory when you felt your most confident – so a 8,9 or 10 out of 10.
- Take your time to look through the eyes of you in that memory, remembering what you saw, heard felt and believed about yourself that made those confident feelings so powerful.
- Take a deep breath and notice how your body changes, do you have an urge to stand differently? to move your head or shoulders?
- Open your eyes.
- Repeat at least twice.
This is an exercise you may want to do just before your interview or as way of preparing in the lead up to practice inhabiting your body in a more confident way.
If you don’t think you can remember a memory like this then think of someone you respect or admire who you would like to embody. You can use the exercise in the same way to practice adopting more confident body language. Our identities aren’t nearly as fixed as people often believe and you might be surprised how fun it can be to try a new identity on for size, just like a jacket. If it feels right and comfortable then why not wear it for the big day?
The above technique is just an example of many tools I use with my clients to help them change and transform into the person they would like to become; whether its in an interview context or just in daily life. If you are interested to find out how coaching or cognitive hypnotherapy in Manchester can help you, then why not get in touch today.