Why do you want this job? My pre-planned, pre-rehearsed answer was suddenly nowhere to be heard. Worn out by lack of sleep brought about by the arrival of my wonderful baby daughter my mind went blank. My mouth was dry, palms sweaty and, worst of all, my mind had gone blank. Instead of the confident answer I’d been hoping of giving, out popped an unconvincing effort delivered in a flat monotone, as opposed to an upbeat, compelling ‘hire me’ kind of way. Deflated.
Other questions and the ensuing thirty minute ‘test’ did little to lighten my mood. Drained, disappointed and dejected. That feeling you’ve let yourself down is hard to countenance. Could, should it have been different? On reflection, I was not right for the role… That said, I thought it might be interesting to muse on what I could do to get my ‘head right’ for the next time…
In the second most viewed Ted Talk of all time, Amy Cuddy implores her audience “to fake it until you make it” in a stirring talk in which she describes how power poses help us feel more confident and thus create the right impression. In modern society, authenticity is rightly lauded. Betraying nerves in an interview might accurately portray your feelings, but it is usually interpreted as a sign of weakness.
Sir Clive Woodward, masterminded England’s 2003 World Cup success, described the lengths that he went to in order to prepare the team at last year’s CIPD Annual Conference in Manchester. The players would sit in a meeting and go through all the potential permutations that might knock the team out of its stride…
The photo above shows Claife Viewing Station which is located on the western shore of Lake Windermere a short ferry ride from Bowness. The views from the summit are well worth the climb.
The ‘what if’ approach clearly can have its benefits. Imaging potential dooms day scenarios might fire the imagination, but it might also send anxiety levels into the stratosphere.
Being rested, hydrated and arriving in good time can help an interviewee feel more composed and in control. In the event of a curb ball question, the ability to think on your feet is invaluable.
I wish you all a lovely Christmas and a happy, prosperous and, above all, healthy new year. Be your best authentic self, love what you do and the rest will, with any luck, take care of itself.