The Secret to a Winning Interview
You applied for the job and you have been invited for an interview. Congratulations! You are through to the next round. Obviously they liked what they saw on your resume, and they’d like to know more about you. This is your chance to show them you are the best candidate for the job.
And you feel you’ve done everything there is to do to prepare for the interview. You’ve done your research, you know the ins and outs of the company, you’ve come up with answers for all the possible questions starting with “Tell me a time when…”. You also know the importance of first impression so you have your suit ready and your shoes shined. What else could you possibly be doing? Well there is one crucial element that could make or break the interview.
Every interview is different and the organizational culture will dictate the interview style. Your level of preparation is of course important, but lot of the questions you prepare for might not even been asked. Or some you hadn’t even considered might come up. However, there is one element that is always constant and always crucial for each and every interview, regardless of the organization and the people involved: your state of confidence.
Your state of confidence will indeed determine the success of the interview, especially in the corporate world. This is simply, because when we are communicating with others the impact of the message we are sharing comes not only from the actual words we are using, but also from our nonverbal behavior. In a seminal study on communication, Albert Mehrabian of UCLA, demonstrated that if there is incongruence between our verbal and non-verbal communication then people tend to believe our non-verbal signals.
In fact, when we are communicating feelings and attitudes only 7% of the impact of our message comes from our actual words! Leaving a whopping 93% down to our non-verbal behaviour: 55% on our body language and 38% on our tone of voice.
Does this mean words are not important? Of course they are. That’s why preparation is crucial. However, no matter how many times you’ve rehearsed that answer unless you deliver it with an air of confidence and purpose your words will not have the desired impact.
So how do you get into a state of confidence?
The fastest way to get an instant confidence boost is to stand up straight. Try this: let your shoulders drop into a slouching position and then say enthusiastically ‘I am beaming with confidence.’ It doesn’t work, does it?
So throw your shoulders back and stand up straight. Try it now. How does it feel? Can you say ‘I feel confident’ with enthusiasm? You bet you can.
If you are rehearsing your answers but at the same time have a little voice at the back of your head saying “Why am I even bothering? They will never hire me” or “I never interview well” you are putting yourself as far away from a confident state as you can.
Would you ever say something similar to a friend going into an interview? Of course not! So start treating yourself like you would a friend. Mute your inner critic and imagine an encouraging friend next to you telling you “you are well prepared and you will do great”.
Bring it all together and act as if:
While rehearsing your answers, don’t just sit at your couch. Instead recreate the interview scene by sitting at your desk. Straighten up your back and lean forward putting your hands on the desk. If your inner critic comes up, just brush it away by saying “sorry I can’t indulge you right now, I am at an interview”.
Take the Edge Off:
Look at the interview as a dialogue rather than an interrogation. This your chance to check out if the job, environment and culture is suitable for you as much as they are checking if you are suitable for the job! See your interviewers as your equals. What questions are you going to ask them? Are they good enough for you?
For the Greek version of this article please click here.
© 2011 Confidence Inside Out
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