I used to get super nervous in job interviews. Like heart racing, bowel upset, can’t think anxious over job interviews.
And this isn’t a surprise.
In a job interview you’re basically trying to sell yourself. You’re trying to prove that you’re awesome, and the company is trying to determine if you’re the right kind of awesome for them. And they’re trying to sell you on how awesome the company is, and you’re trying to work out the truth of that… it’s a whole can of worns.
It’s a situation that makes you vulnerable. It can feel like if you’re not offered the job in the end, there must be something wrong with you – as a person –
This isn’t at all true by the way. There’s a huge number of reasons coming into play: the timing might be off, another person they’re interviewing might have just a smidge more experience, they could also have someone in mind for the job but wanted to ‘go through the motions’, the interviewer may be having a bad day, or the weather might be affecting them. You might even remind them of someone they don’t want to work with. There’s a lot of reasons, and none of them are your fault.
Whatever. You can’t control those things. The thing you can control is yourself.
Here’s the technique I use, which is stolen almost directly from Harry Potter. Just with less death.
You know the bit at the end of the Deathly Hallows when Harry is about to face Voldemort and possibly die? He pulls the resurrection stone out and turns it. He’s surrounded by his parents, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, a whole lot of friends and adopted family who died. They tell him he’s brave, that they’re proud of him, that he’s done well. It’s a beautiful tear-jerking moment.
I use this idea. I visualise my friends and family around me. I don’t kill them or anything, I just imagine them like they’re astrally projecting.
I go into the interview as prepared as I can, obviously, but once I’m there I sit and imagine people who love me. I imagine them standing behind me, which makes me feel a lot less alone when there’s two to three people on the other side of the table.
I choose people who are super supportive to me in real life. The ones who have my back. The ones who check in on me, the ones I can trust implicitly. I imagine them telling me I’ve got this. Maybe they’re telling me I’m awesome, or maybe they’re just standing and smiling and reminding me I’m not alone.
It’s kind of a form of self talk, and it’s a visualisation for sure. It might sound totally woo-woo. But I’m a geek, and a confirmed Gryffindor, and it’s very reassuring to me. It’s more or less erased my nervousness about job interviews and it frees my mind from the anxiety over ‘what if they don’t like me?’ and allows me to focus on answering the important questions. Not to mention remembering to ask questions of the people doing the interview.
I’ve even had moments when I’ve been asked a question which threw me, and had the feeling like these people standing behind me (Mum, Dad, partner, best friend, etc). One of them leans forwards and says ‘yeah, you know the answer to this’ and the answer comes to me.
I’m sure this technique would also work for other scary situations like public speaking, or going into a new situation like a new workplace, or going to a new meetup or club or something.
If you can contain even some of your nervousness, you’ll come across better in the interview. So, maybe you can try out this technique,and let me know if it works for you.