When preparing for interviews, it is fair to say that most of us choose to focus on what there is to ‘do’. We have a ‘to do’ list of what to bring, what to wear, what to say, what to research, how to sit, how to shake hands, how to introduce ourselves, and the list goes on. Whilst I think these are important factors, I consider all of these as secondary to what really makes the difference. I strongly believe that your being, and by that I mean your mindset, is the primary factor that determines your interview result. This is an internal facet that I term as the hidden image; it is not something that is tangible, however people get a sense of your self-perception, confidence and attitude when you enter a room. Hence your hidden image largely dominates the judgments that are made about you.
Often interviewers are looking at candidates who have very similar backgrounds, experience and grooming; in these scenarios the hidden image becomes a crucial factor for differentiation. During my last interview I had two candidates, Clara and Agnes. Both ladies had the same academic qualifications, they had diligently prepared for the interview with a similar to do list, and came to the interview in a dark crisp suit. The main difference was that Clara was being nervous and doubtful, fearing that this interview will be unsuccessful, and Agnes was being positive, energetic and vibrant. Again it was not about what they did, but more about their mindset and way of being that determined the result.
The key question is ‘who are you being’ during the interview?
Are you being scared and unsure? Are you being resigned and cynical? Are you being confident and motivated? Or are you being self assured and optimistic? Your answer to this question will give your interviewer the biggest indication on whether they will pursue the interview any further. It is impossible to anticipate everything you will encounter in your job interview, and that’s where preparation can fall short. However if your mindset is positive and you are being confident, you will be able to tackle most questions and challenges that may come your way. Here is a simple and easy method to ensure that your mindset is aligned with having a successful interview.
1. Be aware. Reflect for a moment on how you currently feel about yourself. If your thoughts are not expanding you and making you feel good about yourself then think about what is preventing you from feeling that. Whatever it is, it’s definitely not worth making you feel less than great at any point in time. A good way to shift your focus is to focus on all the great things you have in your life, and be grateful for them (think of at least 10 things). Being confident and capable comes from the inside out, and to do that you must have total certaintythat you are the ideal candidate!
2. Take Charge. Since all your behavior is evaluated and branded, take charge of the messages you communicate and define your own way of being! First you need to be clear on the type image you want to create. Think of three words that you would like your interviewer todescribe you as, (such as competent, dynamic, and confident) and then align it with your attitude and behavior. Remember if you can’t name it, you can’t have it!
3. Be Authentic. You can only really be confident on the outside if you feel it on the inside. When you are at the interview, let go of all worries of the past, fear of what people think, concern of the future and whatever else is clouding your space. Be present in the moment, completely engaged what you are doing at each moment and enjoy the experience! Remember it is your mindset that shapes your actions, and ultimately the outcome of your interview. Use these simple and easy tools to create a way of being that inspires both yourselfand your interviewer, and win your next interview without any interview jitters!