For many, the euphoria at winning a coveted job interview is quickly followed by fear of the unknown. Unwelcome scenarios of disaster generously laced with embarrassment will often be entertained in a fertile underconfident imagination. "What if I do not know how to answer a question?" "What if nothing goes right?" "Will I end up slinking away – rejected, dejected and demoralised?" Over and over again similar doubts, questions and scenes are adulted, until any thought of an "interview" becomes irrevocably linked to a plethora of negative, limiting and often paralysing beliefs.
If an applicant's belief about interviews has strong associations with negative thoughts and feelings, I can guarantee any interviewer will "feel" it.
Have you ever met someone and instantly felt uncomfortable. Often the person did not have to say or do a thing – on a gut level you just "felt" it. The result – you wanted to get away from them as soon as you could. This is the risk you invite in an interviewer's response to you, unless you acquire positive and empowering beliefs about your future interview experiences.
Changing beliefs about interviews can dramatically alter your results.
In the 1950s it was a widely held belief that no runner could break the 4-minute mile barrier. Yet Englishman Roger Banister did just that on May 6th, 1954. It was only 46 days later that Australian runner, John Landy also ran a sub-4-minute mile, soon followed by many others. Why suddenly were so many able to run a mile in under 4-minutes? The answer is simple – their belief about the IMPOSSIBLE 4-minute mile barrier had been shattered.
What has this got to do with performing well in job interviews – everything! Your performance hinges on the confidence with which you present yourself in a job interview, irrespective of what actually occurs. You can dramatically improve your performance, if you possess an empowering belief and expectation that the interview will be a great experience for you and all concerned. A great philosopher once said, "He who has the highest energy wins."
This is a very simple two-step process. Create a movie in your mind, and then develop triggers, to remind you to play the movie. Play it often, particularly at times to replace negative interview related thoughts, feelings or emotions.
Imagine you are the Director of a movie, one in which you are also the lead actor. The story line is your next job interview. Use all your senses to create a realistic scene or series of scenes. For example, imagine yourself driving to the building, catching an elevator, you can even smell the receptionist's perfume; hear friendly chatter from passing office staff or the hum of a near photocopier.
In your movie you feel the interviewer's welcoming handshake, his or her warm, encouraging and supportive voice. You have a sense of the chair pressing against your back, you feel comfortable enough to notice the color of the walls, and appreciate a painting on the wall opposite. Maybe you can still taste the cup of coffee you had in the cafe down the road before you arrived. At a minimum, your interview movie should start as you enter the building and only end when you have finished the interview and said your goodbyes.
As the movie editor, you can cut and edit until you have created scenes that deliver a fantastic experience, and one that automatically generates positive feelings. You know you are on the right track, if while playing the movie, it causes you to smile, or you sit up straight, or you feel your mood lifting to one of positive expectation.
In your movie, you can see everyone in the interview room really likes you, and are eager to know you better. They are enthusiastic about their company and the job sounds even more wonderful than you first imagined – in fact, this is your dream job. The interview questions allow you to express yourself naturally, and feel yourself confidently presenting all the information they need and more. They are hanging onto every word you speak. They nod and smile in agreement. In fact, this experience does not feel like an interview at all, but a group of new acquaints, already comfortable in each others' company hanging out together.
You leave feeling wonderfully positive about yourself and have a strong sense of knowing that this job is yours. Take it to the limit. Spare no expense on this production. Some people find it helpful to write a detailed description of their movie. Whenever they read it they allow them to imagine and feel fully, their positive and empowering interview experience.
Our minds are dynamic power houses. You can create this movie in less than a minute. It takes less than 10 seconds to play. Feel free to continue making your Director's cut and to alter scenes so that they make you feel even better about yourself and interview experience. Like any movie, the more your senses – sight, sounds, touch, taste, smell and emotions are engaged, the better your connection with the positive empowering beliefs you are creating around and about interviews.
At a minimum, play this movie before you go to bed and on first waking up in the morning. Create triggers to help you remember to play it often, for example when you take a shower, or waiting for a bus. To get the best results play the movie WHENEVER you think of anything related to interviews, and particularly whenever you become aware that your thinking has once again turned towell on your own doubts. Be alert, catch yourself. With consistent application triggering the movie will automatically generate in you positive feelings about interviews, and empowering you to present yourself more confidently.
All my clients who have wholeheartedly and playfully adopted this strategy without reservation, self-consciousness or self-judgment have done exceptionally well in their interviews. A word of caution however, one of my clients, a graduate engineer was enjoying his interview movie experiences too much. He rang to complain that he was regularly attending second and even third interviews for the same job but none had resented in a job offer.
I suggested he change his movie to one where he could see himself working in the new company, having a great time meeting with members of his team and clients, and possibly adding a scene where he could feel the smile on his face as he opened his generous pay check envelope. He reported after changing his movie, he had another interview a week later, which reflected in the offer of a job. Do not allow limiting or negative beliefs to become a barrier to your dream job.