Interviews can be stressful. They are worse if you are worrying about your clothes, your fit for the job or how you’ll answer questions. As a result, I suggest you practice refocusing your thoughts in the 30 minutes before the interview and do some positive self-talk.
Here are my favorites; they work for me but you are welcome to adjust them to fit your own style and needs. The only rule is that you must be kind and gentle to yourself.
1. I’m looking forward to learning more about this job.
This self talk statement reminds you that an interview is a conversation. You are finding out about the job and the interviewer is finding out about you. It’s an exchange. This sentence will remind you to ask questions about the many exciting opportunities that this job will give. Reflecting on my own work, there have been times when I felt that assignments were electrifying; they were so exciting and thrilling. Imagine that the job you are learning about will have elements filled withelectrifying possibilities.
2. I am powerful in this situation.
This self talk statement should remind you that you bring value to the conversation. Your skills, education and experience are worthwhile and that’s why you are here. You have the power to describe how you can help the organization. You have the power to tell them in detail how you can contribute. That’s your role. Like Katy Perry sings, “I am a champion and you’re gonna hear me roar.”
3. I have prepared enough.
You can use this statement if you actually have:
-considered and practiced answers to a few of the usual questions
-checked out the company website and Googled the company name
-dressed appropriately and brought a spare resume plus your reference list
When you’ve done these things, you are ready. Take a moment and revel in your own preparedness. Like any accomplishment, it feels good to celebrate a success. I’m always delighted when I finish cleaning my house just before my dinner guests arrive; it’s the same thrill.
4. The interviewers want to know about me; they are going to listen closely and they are going to ask me interesting questions.
Interviewers like to hear specific details, ideally in story form. You have to get to the point quickly but telling a narrative has its own kind of peaceful rhythm. Hopefully, you have practiced describing your relevant accomplishments a few times. Hopefully, you describe a problem-action-result scenario in which your work caused a positive change.
5. This is going to be enjoyable.
Are you going to get the job? Maybe, but lots of things are outside your control. You have no idea about the competition, for one thing. You don’t know which of the employer’s needs is highest priority. This may be a soft, gentle interview. This may be one where you are grilled and challenged and pushed to be your strongest, debater self. Both styles can be fun as long as you remember that this is just an interview. If you are asked negative, challenging questions, accept that you are being welcomed to defend yourself. Rise to the challenge positively; in the near future, you might be defending the interviewer’s organization.
Interviews are great learning opportunities, particularly about yourself. Sadly, interviews tend to happen less and less as you age, partly because you end up in particular jobs for longer times and partly because interviews become meetings if you pursue self-employment. You even start to miss interviews when they’re gone.
About the Author: Gwen Pawlikowski is a freelance writer and entrepreneur who has also worked as an ISSofBC employment counsellor with newcomers. She lives in New Westminster and loves the diversity of the Lower Mainland. Please click here for information on ISSofBC’s career services.