Job interviews. We’ve all been there. “You have 45 minutes to impress us. Go!” The pressure to suddenly ‘perform’ can get the better of even the most experienced of interviewees. But what if you were actually ruining your chances of interview success before even walking through the door?
There are two ways in which you could already be jeopardising the quality of your interview performance. Firstly, you’re not preparing properly. As the saying goes, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Secondly:
You believe the interviewer has more power than you
I appreciate that in many cases it can appear this way. You might have been unemployed for a while and urgently need the income. You might be desperate to move to a country where your family will be safer. You might be in a stressful job with an abusive boss and on the verge of a nervous breakdown. You need the job more than they need you, so they have all the power… right? Not necessarily.
Power is a state of mind. You can be the poorest person in the world, and still FEEL powerful. It’s about being certain. Certain of your value. Your worth. Knowing with every cell of your body that regardless of your situation, you have something to offer the world. And in the context of an interview, it’s knowing that you have something that the employer needs. Your CV clearly showed you have something they want – otherwise why else would they have invited you to interview? Whatever it is (skills, experience, know-how) you have it, and they need it. And as in any situation where a bit of influence might be required, it is the person who has the most certainty, in who they are and what they can offer, who has the most power.
Why is having a mindset of equal power so important?
Some of the main attributes employers look for in any candidate are: passion, drive, eagerness to learn, flexibility, integrity and willingness to roll your sleeves up and get stuck in. Perhaps above all of these, they will be looking for one thing in particular: confidence.
Confidence is simply the trust you have in yourself that you can do the task at hand. If an employer can see that you believe in your capabilities, including your ability to learn on the job if necessary, then they will believe in you too.
If you go into an interview thinking “If I don’t get this job, that’s the end for me. My entire fate lies in their hands” – what do you think will happen? You’ll be under so much pressure to perform, impress and not screw up, you’ll be a nervous wreck. And that confidence they’re looking for? Out the window. Not only that but all of your other amazing attributes, your sense of humour, intelligence, enthusiasm, ability to inspire people… They’ll all be hidden behind this wall of self-doubt and fear of failure.
How to gain that sense of power?
1) Appreciate it IS an even-playing field
In that one hour inside that office, it absolutely is an even-playing field. They have a position that needs filling – every day it’s left empty they are losing money, time etc. The pressure is on. Recognise that you have what they need. And, in each of those seconds you are together, they might need you as much as you need them.
2) Act as if you have it
More and more studies are showing that there are neuro-associations between body and emotions. If you put your body in a ‘powerful’ posture, then you will feel powerful. Try this – stand in superhero pose, with hands on hips, shoulders back, head up, eyebrows slightly raised, smiling from ear to ear and breathing deep into your belly. Now while you’re holding that pose I want you to try to feel super nervous. Hard isn’t it? Acting as if you have power with a firm handshake, strong posture and good eye contact can not only help you feel powerful but exude power.
3) Remember – it’s a two-way street
The pressure often comes when we think of an interview as a one-way street.They are interviewing us. However, this is not the case. Your decision to join them is just as important as their decision to hire you. And the employer knows this. Take the opportunity to make sure this is the right job and company for you. Ask them questions to ascertain whether or not they are offering you everything you want out of your career. The interview is always a two-way street – as long you make it so.
4) It’s just a discussion
Take the pressure off yourself completely and simply recognise the interview for what it really is. A discussion between two parties to find out whether or not they are a good match for each other. Ok yes, you might need this job. But trust that if you don’t get it, it’s probably because it wasn’t a good match for YOU. And that maybe someone, somewhere is trying to give you a gentle nudge towards something greater. Like maybe setting up your own business perhaps?
Zeta Yarwood is recognised as a leading Career Coach and NLP Life Coach in Dubai, helping individuals across the world to achieve success in all areas of their lives. With a degree in Psychology and over 10 years’ experience in coaching, management and recruitment – working for multinational companies and award-winning recruitment firms – Zeta is an expert in unlocking human potential. Passionate about helping people discover their strengths, talents and motivation, Zeta lives to inspire others to dream big and create the life and career they really want.