Exercises to help you control your interview anxieties or fears.

Video transcript: My name is Paul Hill and in my career that spanned over 25 years, I’ve helped over 5000 professionals achieve their career aspirations. I’ve done this through my work as a recruiter, a career coach, and through delivering advanced job search training.

In this Ask Paul blog, I answer the following: –

Paul, I’m nervous at interviews. What tips do you have to help me control my anxiety and nervousness? I know, it’s really effecting 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 and sometimes I’m just too self-conscious and I have doubts about my abilities. So, perhaps sharing with you, can help you, deal with your interviews.

In part 2 of this blog topic, I will tell you another story about my life and career and introduce you to 2 exercises to help you control your interview anxieties or fears. If you’ve not watched part 1, please do, as it sets up part 2 and deals with how to do a pre interview brain dump, as I call it.

Here’s another story on putting fear into perspective and fear of authority or powerful people into perspective. I was three days into my new job as a high-tech recruiter for a firm called Tenant Management Services in Toronto. We recruited engineers for aerospace corporations. I recruited and was about to interview a Vice President of Engineering from Spark Aerospace for a job at Litton Systems, three days into my job. I was 25 years old. As you can see my career as an ichthyologist didn’t last long. That’s another story. I was 25 years old and scared out of my wits, that’s the bottom line. I had no training. I was given a list of questions by my supervisor and told to go to an office and ask the VP these particular questions. Here, I was sitting in a maple paneled high class office all alone with this powerful professional. I was sitting in front of him at the desk like a big shot except I was sweating like crazy, red face and totally afraid. I really felt like running right out of the room, instead I told the VP, I’m sorry, I’m really nervous, it’s my first interview. He recognized my anxiety and said to me “Hey kid! don’t worry, we are all the same. We put our pants on one leg at a time. I took that to me, we all have to start somewhere. We are all afraid and we do our best. I carried that statement throughout my career and every time, I’m in a meeting with someone powerful, I say that statement to myself, “We’re all the same. We all put our pants on, one leg at a time.”

As you can see, I still have self-doubt and fear, but I’ve learned to focus and reframe experiences in my life to serve me and perhaps these can help you do the same for your interviews. And with that in mind, I have one more exercise for you to consider.

Now that you dumped the crap from your mind, it’s time to fill it up with positive feelings going into the interview. Take out another sheet of paper and write a half page to a page about a positive experience in your life when you felt you’re on top of the world. May be about the birth of your first child. That’s a story I always go to, for me. May be when you graduated, how you felt then, may be when you fell in love with a significant partner or maybe, on the job when you solved the great problem. Once you’re done, do not throw it out, instead put it aside.

Now for your exercise number 3, spend five minutes with your eyes closed thinking, reliving, imagining the feeling you had during those moments, really visualizing that successful experience. Now get up and leave for your interview. Let’s recap, admit your fear and tell the truth either yourself or even the interviewer when the interview starts. You will be surprised what nuggets come out when we admit the truth.

As I described in part 1 of the blog, brain dump your fears on paper. Reframe your anxieties into something positive. In your exercise number 2, reset by filling your mind with a positive experience. Write out a page about a positive experience. In your exercise number 3, spend five minutes visualizing that positive experience from exercise number 2. Remember, no matter how powerful you think someone is, really, they are just human and they also have fears. They put their pants on one leg at a time.

I doubt with the psychological fear aspects of preparing for an interview here. Obviously, there are many more areas to prepare, including questions, research, making a great first impression and sucking it up and faking it until you make it. Most importantly, however is knowing how to build trust. That is how to get interviewer to trust you at very short period of time. They only hire you when they trust you. Check out the upcoming OSPE workshop on Acing the Interview for more tips on how to get hired. If you want to get actual 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. I’ll see you at the next training and remember, be remarkable, impress for success.

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