Self-doubt, self-consciousness and “the unknown” – for many of us, these are just a few of the reasons that we feel stressed or nervous before a job interview or a presentation. Paul Hill believes you can you turn interview anxiety and fear into excitement. Here are five tips to help you prepare for your next interview.
My name is Paul Hill and in my career that span over 25 years I’ve helped countless professionals achieve their career aspirations. I’ve done this through my work as a recruiter, a career coach and through delivering advance job search training.
In this ask Paul blog, I answer the following question. Paul, I’m nervous at interviews. What tips do you have to help me control my anxiety and nervousness, I know it’s really affecting my outcome.
This is a common problem. I believe most professionals are afflicted with. I know I was and I’m still anxious before a big meeting. I am too self-conscious period. And I have doubts about my abilities as well. I usually have anxiety before I take the stage and I’ve learned to prepare and to focus on the following items which helped me turn fear into excitement. I believe these tips which are coming up will help you prepare for an interview.
One, do a brain dump. Write about your fears before your interviews.
Two, write about an experience when you felt on top of the world.
Three, reframe your fear into something positive and reframe fear into excitement.
Four, tell yourself the truth about your fears.
And number five, realize that decision makers or people in authority or powerful people are just humans.
So what I’ve learned in my careers that I have fear anxiety, when I have self-doubt, or I don’t know what is coming, so I feel less than control. Maybe that’s happening to you also, if you’re like most professionals, when we don’t know what’s coming up, our brain has to fill that gap. And we tell ourselves a story and that story is usually built on the past. If the story is not a positive story, it can set us back. In other words, the story about our future is built on files in our brain from the past. You have to check those files because the future does not exist yet. It’s a blank canvas that you can fill the way you want if you’re willing to do it. Therefore, it’s up to you to tell yourself a story with a positive outcome rather than one based on a previous interview that didn’t go so well. I’ll show you how I do that. And perhaps you can adopt my exercises to help you out for your next interview.
I suggest about two hours before leaving for your interview. Do these three exercises. Exercise number one, write out about half page about your fears. It’s called a brain dump in the psychological circles and it will help you get those fears out. You must write them down on paper, use you know a pen and paper. This exercise really works for me something like this. What if they ask about my bad job? The one where I was only in my job for three months? What if I don’t know the answers to a basic question? What if I freeze and my mind goes blank? What if I start sweating a lot? You get the idea? But I hope these help you get started on your brain dump. So write a half page or a full page and then crumple that page up and throw out that paper.
This story about fear might help some new graduates that might be struggling to find your footing. This is about me. I love to challenge myself. And in my first career job after graduation was as a marine biologist when I went for my open dive certification way back in 1984, I told my divemaster I was so afraid of drowning. And I said this right when I suited up and ready to go underwater for my certification dive. Hello, this was the time for my open dive not the time to tell your divemaster you’re afraid of drowning.
I had an interview lined up for two month assignment in the Bahamas, teaching rich high school kids marine biology in the classroom and in the field underwater. I needed to show my scuba diving international certification in order to follow through with the interview. This was my dream and if I didn’t succeed at this, in my mind, my career was over before it even started. The truth is I could not put my head under the water at this particular time. I had done all the work in the pool. I was freaked out in this instance. I just could not bring myself to do it. I worked so hard to get to this point in my life, my degree and getting into shape and here I was I couldn’t get the last part done. In that moment. I could sense everything crashing down on me. I was going to be a big failure in life. My divemaster said to me I’m glad you’re afraid it’s gonna make you a better diver. Listen to me. You checked and triple checked your equipment and you double checked my equipment. So you’ll do the same with your dive buddy and be vigilant. You can be my dive buddy anytime. Your fear makes you a better diver now, let’s go.
In that moment, I decided to reframe my fear of the subject positive based on his words. I got my dive certification and my experiences in diving and in the Bahamas from it were absolutely exhilarating and life changing for me. I learned my vision of a great diver was all wrong, that of a macho dude who took risks and laughed at people who are afraid of sharks and basically was afraid of nothing, had to change. And I reframed it and I changed it.
Perhaps you have a vision of yourself as an engineer that does not serve you anymore and it’s time to reframe it. In part two of this blog. I’ll tell you another story about my life and career and introduce you to the other two exercises for you. If you want to get actionable tools, you can use for advancing your career or conducting a job search, check out our upcoming job search workshops which are now complimentary as an added value to your OSPE membership. Take care and I’ll see you at the next training and remember be remarkable impress for success.
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