Our brain is an amazing tool – it makes us who we are. It helps us to achieve different tasks and feel happy and enthusiastic, but it can also produce fears, anxieties, thoughts and beliefs that hold us back. And when it comes to job interviews our brain generally thinks it is a danger zone. This is understandable; we are in the spotlight and messing it up could have a huge impact on our future life and career.
But there is a hope. By using the five techniques below you can make the interview process a bit easier for yourself…
This technique works very well for anxieties and negative thoughts or feelings. It uses your imagination to reprogramme your brain in order to stop the anxiety. Firstly, identify the emotion you would like to get rid of, then close your eyes and ask yourself: “If this feeling was somewhere in my body, where would it be?”
After you find a place where in your body the feeling is hiding, ask yourself: “If the feeling was and object, what would it be”?
“If the object was spinning, in which direction would it be spinning?”
Imagine the object spinning. After you have the image firmly in your mind, ask yourself: “If I were to make this feeling better, would I make it spin slower or faster?”
Make the object spin at any speed you need to in order to feel better. You will now slowly gain control over the feeling by controlling the speed of its movement. You can play with your imagination; make the feeling spin in a different direction, faster, slower, and notice what difference it makes. If you take this exercise seriously, you will notice the difference and hopefully discover a tool that can help you in many situations in your life.
2) Change Your Perspective
Do you have a voice in your head that tells you things that lower your self-esteem? The voice that says “I can’t do this”, “I can’t achieve that”, “They will think I’m a failure” or anything negative that brings your self-esteem down.
If this sounds familiar, here is a little trick how to weaken the voice: Whenever you hear anything negative that your mind tells you, repeat it again in your mind but put the word SO in front of the sentence. “So, I can’t do this?” “So, I’m worthless.” “So, I can’t achieve it”. The statements will slowly and gradually lose their importance because you break the pattern of how they are presented to you. You can also change the tempo, the tonality or even imagine someone really funny telling you the negative thought. Make fun out of it. It might seem a bit strange at the beginning, but sometimes it is the seemingly silly things that can create the biggest change in your thought patterns.
3) Have a Conversation
The best interviews feel like a conversation. When you memorise what to say, you are giving yourself something to fail at. When you miss something you wanted to say, you immediately know you made a mistake, and put too much unnecessary stress onto yourself.
On the other hand, when you take the interview as a conversation it will flow better and lessen the possibility of you starting to panic during the interview and, in turn, this will increase your chances of success.
Make notes or bullet points about topics you want to talk about, like your successes, what you achieved in your last job, why you are applying for this specific job – but during the interview be as spontaneous as you can be. After all, employers generally look for people who will get along with their peers. So let your personality shine through.
4) Drop Through It
This technique works on the basis that every negative feeling has an opposite, positive feeling. For example, for anxiety it can be joy, peace, confidence.
With this technique you’ll be able to move from anxiety to its opposite feeling. Firstly, close your eyes and imagine a situation that makes you anxious. When you feel the levels of anxiety raising, identify where in your body you can feel the anxiety. For many people it is stomach or chest. You might even see some image or colour when you think about the anxiety which can make it even stronger.
Now, imagine the anxiety is a layer that you can drop through into another layer of emotion. Just breath out and let go of feeling anxious and change it into another emotion. What emotion do you feel? It can be fear, shyness, shame or anything that comes to your mind – there is no wrong answer.
Keep repeating the exercise until you start feeling nice, pleasant emotions inside you. This will show you that you can be in control of anxiety and teach your body how to reverse the feeling into something pleasant.
5) Use your anxiety to your advantage
There is a very fine line between fear and excitement. If you feel anxiety or fear why not to use them for your advantage?
In order to turn fear into excitement you first have to embrace it. Don’t fight it when it comes – instead respond to it with a positive attitude. Imagine actually wanting to be in the interview room and doing well. You have done this many times before; remember how it feels watching a thriller or a horror movie? Or maybe even riding a roller coaster? You have already changed fear into excitement at some point in your life. All you need to tell yourself is that you are safe and you are actually looking forward to the experience. Breath into the fear and imagine how it felt like when you really achieved something, when you were proud of yourself. Your body language changes and if you commit to it I guarantee you will feel a change and your anxiety levels will drop.
Don’t let nerves lose you your dream job; use the five techniques above to prepare you for your next promotion or job interview – and you’ll find you’ll not only enjoy it more, you’ll also be sure to shine.