The waiting is the hardest part. Waiting for the news, waiting for the day to arrive, waiting in the lobby to hear your name called. It’s a huge relief and so exhilarating…until the anxiety sets in. Now that you’ve been invited to do it, you have to actually go and do it.
How personal is too personal when it comes to topics to raise? Which outfit says “I care about this” without trying too hard? Should you practice in advance, or just let the conversation flow? How should you respond to those dreaded questions about the “long-term”?
Is this a first date? In a sense, yeah. Those who have worked with me in the admissions and recruiting space know that I love comparing the whole application process to dating. It almost never fails me. In the world of recruiting, interviews are your first “real” date. You’ve built a “profile” through your application or your resume, maybe gone on a few group dates at recruiting events, and then you make yourself feel totally vulnerable by hitting SUBMIT, and you wait – and sometimes, wait and wait – until someone says, “Hi! Yes, you! Let’s meet. I’d like to get to know you better.”
That wave of relief hits as you realize you’ve cleared a MAJOR hurdle, and then…that block of ice returns to the pit of your stomach. Are you ready? Of course you are. You’ve got some tools to help you stay ready and totally centered when the big day arrives, too.
There are 3 stages to any challenging situation: the preparation, the action, and the recovery. Interviews are no different. Here’s how you can use mindfulness for making you way through each of them:
- If you can see it, you can be it, right? Yes. Guided visualization is a perfect way to both literally and energetically prepare for any nerve-wracking task. Close your eyes and in your mind’s eye, see yourself arriving for the interview. Notice details, like that you’re wearing and what the weather is like outside.
- See yourself in the interview smiling, answering questions with ease. Hear your responses to some of the questions you can count on being asked about your resume and your goals (aka, practice!).
- Envision yourself leaving the interview, feeling confident and resolved that it went well, and completely content with each and every one of your responses.
The Main Event:
- The night before your interview, set aside some time to write about elements of your life for which you are grateful. Active gratitude reduces the body’s stress response, and also helps you see the bigger picture of your life beyond the challenge before you.
- When interview day arrives, take a few moments early in the morning for mindful breathing and centering, reflecting on your gratitude list from the previous night and reminding yourself you are fully prepared for the day ahead. Later on, while commuting to your interview or waiting for it to begin, visualize it going exactly as you hope, and taking some deep breaths with both feet on the floor (grounding your energy) as often ask you like.
- During the interview, engage in mindful listening to the questions and comments of your interviewer. When the background noise of your internal monologue ramps up, bring your focus back to the sound of their voice, the color of their shirt, and other details that will keep you grounded and fully present in the conversation. Finally, SMILE. :) It not only positively impacts your brain chemistry, but your interviewer’s as well.
- After you exit the interview, take a reallllly deep breath. You did it, and it’s over. Other than writing a stellar thank-you note within 24 hours (!!), there’s nothing else to be done. Practicing non-attachment to the experience, and to the result of it, over which you no longer have any control, will allow you to be at peace with whatever the outcome may be. It will also help you move on to being fully aware and there for whatever life holds for you in the next present moment.
Back to my original analogy for a sec – if you think this works wonders in an interview, try it on that next date, too. You’re welcome. ;)