Unleash the Superhero Within

Interviews do not come up every day so it is important your mind and body preparation are as match fit as your research preparation. 

In the early days I would always be shortlisted for interviews, but rarely won a job because of my interview performance, more likely I lost it because of the interview.  My professional background and achievements were strong, and my CV certainly got me shortlisted for interviews, but I could not, and did not present my true self and potential at interviews. I could barely recognise the stilted, hesitant person as myself. Invariably I would know before the interview started by how I felt within myself whether or I not I would perform well.  

It was incredibly frustrating to see people who I knew were less capable than me, win jobs over me because of their interview presentation skills. Fortunately, by the way, I was able to get very good roles through the odd good interview but also through relationships who knew my capability and sponsored me to informal interviews.

If only I knew then, what I know now. 

What I have learnt is that there is far more to succeeding at interviews than researching the company, the interviewers, preparing for possible questions passion for the role. Another of our blogs covers these very important items such as researching company and interviewers, preparing questions and answers, dressing appropriately, and so on. You must do these and they are in your control.

However, a very important element is how you confident you are and how confidently you present your true personality and capabilities at an interview or meeting. Interviews do not come up every day so it is important your state of mind and body preparation are as match fit as your research preparation. 

You can be talented, an outstanding achiever, but if the way that your mind is functioning on the day is counter to that, you’ll never realize your potential.  I have learnt that my performance can be ruined if I have permitted myself to imagine a negative outcome, images that will ruin my performance every time. Also, I used to over prepare, let my mind become cluttered by too much preparation and then present as unnatural and stilted.

To overcome this is not hard, you just have to do it. Top athletes are experts at positive visualization, presenting with postures of success, being relaxed but alert and ready, and dealing with missing the perfect result as a learning developmental experience.

Unleashing the Superhero Within

I have learned to

  1. Undertake conscious relaxation
  2. Proactively exercise Positive Visualization
  3. Learn my superman pose
  4. Eliminate the simple stressors
  5. Treat missing out as just a step in your journey to success

Relax

  • Set as a small amount of time to consciously relax or meditate each day. Whatever works for you. Morning or night, 10 to 15 minutes four to five times a week is plenty.

Visualize

  • After your relaxation or meditation, perform pre-match or pre-interview positive visualisation. All elite athletes do this. Guided visualisation or imagery is purposely rehearsing a skill, routine or performance in your mind’s eye to program your body for success[1]. Here we draw on sport coaching research and there is a lot around. I recommend you find the one that works you and follow it. The secret is to begin do it well before your interviews, and do it regularly, with all the discipline would apply to studying for an exam. Visualisation helps you get ready for an event by picturing in your mind you exhibiting positive behaviours and the success you achieved. It enables you to present a positive dynamic image from the moment they meet you and it gives your mind space on the day to be able to think on your feet, read the people and the room, be naturally dynamic and engaging, because you are practised. Athletes will tell you that experiencing an   event in your mind through visualisation not only enhances your success but also reduces the anxiety that comes from uncertainty. Seeing yourself fail has the opposite effect.


Consider ‘The Superman Pose[2] .

  • ‘There’s one very important thing that everyone should do before heading into a job interview, giving a big speech or attempting an athletic feat. According to Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at Harvard Business School, everyone should spend two minutes power posing. Power posing is adopting the stances associated with confidence, power and achievement — chest lifted, head held high, arms either up or propped on the hips. I first used this when preparing to give a talk to a large and potentially hostile group.  While there is some controversy around the veracity of the research, it works for me. I recommend you try it in a safe situation and see if it works for you.


Eliminate as many stressors as you can.

  • Travel to the interview location a week earlier than your scheduled interview. Check out the traffic, transport, parking, where to get a coffee, how people are dressed, how the lifts work…. Wear what you plan to wear, carry what you plan to carry. Can you, how do you, manage your umbrella, coat and bag!

Eliminate as many stressors as you can.

  • Travel to the interview location a week earlier than your scheduled interview. Check out the traffic, transport, parking, where to get a coffee, how people are dressed, how the lifts work…. Wear what you plan to wear, carry what you plan to carry. Can you, how do you, manage your umbrella, coat and bag!

It’s a journey. Do NOT beat yourself up if you do not succeed the first time.

  • The truth of the matter is you will win a few and lose a few. Job hunting is a percentage game. You may have been sensational, but perhaps someone was just that little bit better on the day. How do you deal with this?  Consciously recognise and pat yourself on the back for what you did well. Then identify where you could improve. An athlete can come fourth at the Olympic games and be delighted with the result. They recognise what they did well. They may have achieved their personal best; they executed their tactics precisely. They also identify what they will do better next time, but in no way diminish their achievement in getting to where they did.

SO, team there you have. A lifetime of learning in a page.

Go forth and do well

Steve Wylie

[1] https://www.peaksports.com/sports-psychology-blog/sports-visualization-athletes/

[2] https://blog.ted.com/10-examples-of-how-power-posing-can-work-to-boost-your-confidence/

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *