Author: David McGrane
Everyone gets nervous before something like an interview. It’s just a little stage fright, perfectly normal, very human, and nothing to worry about.
Heck, The King, Elvis, used to throw up sometimes before going on stage, even though he’d done it thousands of times.
Let’s be honest, logging on to a Zoom interview, or walking into an in-person version can feel a little intimidating and all sorts of thoughts and emotions are likely to be rushing through your mind.
If there are ways to calm them, ways to stop them from eroding your confidence and self-belief, that would be a good thing, right?
That’s where mindfulness can come in.
The concept of mindfulness is thousands of years old, yet over the last couple of decades, a whole raft of evidence has been gathered to demonstrate its impressive effectiveness.
Simply put, in this context, mindfulness is about enabling you to be aware of the present moment, to allow emotions to arrive and pass without judgement and to simply focus on the now.
Now I get it, you’re probably thinking it’s all tied up in meditation and relaxation. What’s meditation got to do with a job interview. Well, quite a lot actually. As has been proven, it can help you improve focus, reduce anxiety, increase productivity & resilience and improve communication. You become balanced and calm rather than anxious and worried.
You don’t have lie down and close your eyes while listening to calming music (although some of that beforehand never hurts). What we’re talking about is simply clearing your mind, in the knowledge that you’re fully prepared and ready for your interview. We’re looking to give you the space to calm and push away any panic or uncertainty.
Try these exercises before and during the interview, and watch your focus quotient shoot up.
Walking. Even as you approach your interview, clear your mind with each step. Focus on your breathing, and on noticing the feeling of the ground beneath your feet. One foot down after the other. Breath… breath... and repeat an affirmation to yourself with each step – something like “I am ready, I am confident, I am the right person for this job, I will be amazing!” Breath. Repeat.
Sitting: When sitting and waiting (at home, for the Zoom, or in the office for the interview) place your hand on your chest or rest one hand on top of the other in your lap. Imagine a balloon between your hand and your body. As you breathe in imagine the balloon inflating. As you breathe out imagine the balloon deflating. Repeat and simply focus on the ‘balloon’.
Noticing: Again, if you start to feel anxious, try this exercise - look around for 5 sounds, notice 5 things – maybe look for 5 colors, or 5 round things. It doesn’t really matter what. What you’re doing here is allowing your mind to simply focus on what is around you. It will calm and relax you, and no one has to know you’re doing it.
Breathing: At any point in the interview, if you start to feel anxious, inhale, count to 3 in your mind, exhale, count to 3. As you inhale, visualize inhaling positivity and success. When you exhale, release out any tension and negativity.
That’s it really, try any or all of them before or during your next interview. Feel the calm, feel the tension released. If you combine mindfulness with a positive mindset and plenty of preparation you will be surprised how much easier interviews will go.