How to be confident during job interviews
Episode 1 - Three strategies that will give you an unfair advantage for your job interviews
The Job Hunting Podcast episode number 1 is out of the bag! In this episode, my goal was to make you re-think your stress and use it to your advantage.
I focus on three key themes during this chat:
Focus less on your fear:
everyone is as nervous and jittery as you are, the other candidates as well as the people interviewing you. The candidates, including you, all want the job. And the selection panel has the pressure of getting it right. There is a lot on the line, all around. Once you come to terms with this (that is, stress is the baseline for you and your competition), you can focus on other things.
Focus on your strengths:
Which is what got you through the door in the first place. And it may be what the panel needs to know about you. Indeed, it could be what they need in their team.
Use your stress to sharpen your focus:
relax into the situation, be yourself, read the room, use the pressure to your advantage.
All while you learn about how I shrunk my skirt and other bits of information you may or may not find helpful!
Resources Mentioned in this Episode
Transcript of this episode
Well. Hello, I'm Renata Bernarde and this is The Job Hunting Podcast. This is our very first podcast. So God help us all. Let's see how we go. The purpose of this podcast is of course to help you in your job hunting and do enable me to share lots of ideas and chats and experiences that I've had in the past and if that can help you, I'm really hopeful that it will. But worst comes to worse, I'll have a lot of fun just talking about it because I really enjoy talking about it.
And for this first episode I thought we would be discussing ideas to help people become more confident during job interviews. Because I've felt that there's so much that we can do to improve how we perform just by controlling our nerves, quite frankly. And I have some ideas and I've been collating and I'd like to share them with you. If you like them, please let me know. A five-star review or something! Write to me and definitely subscribe to this podcast because there's more to come. This is just the first one. There will be lots of others. Actually, I've already developed about 38, I think, ideas for future podcasts to show you. So there is lots more to come, fellows, keep listening and subscribe.
Okay so going back to the topic of today, which is to be confident during job interviews. If you are listening to this, I assume it’s because you are going through job search, applying for jobs. Maybe you haven't got to that stage yet of going through job interviews but if you have, it can be quite nerve wracking, we can get really nervous, and for that reason things tend to go wrong that day. And I think it's because when you are nervous you are bypassing your neurons, the important links that make good decisions, and you have to be prepared for that and plan that day as much as you can to account for the fact that you will be a nervous wreck.
Please do that. Believe me, if you haven't done job interviews recently, don't take that for granted. It's just the way we're wired as suppose. And you tend to get quite stressed out on day of a job interview. That's like 95% of the people; and 5% of people don't. That doesn't really resonate well to the panellists. You know, if one is too relaxed during a job interview, it can send the wrong signal. Right. So there is one tip there that I just thought of. I didn't actually prepare to tell you this. I didn't write it down, but I was just thinking about situations where I have been on the other side of the interviewing. I was part of the panel and I remember, I have them in my mind now a couple of situations where the candidate seemed too relaxed and you then think, why are they here? You know, they don't seem to want this or they seeing resigned. I remember one candidate that's coming to my mind in particular, I could this person was not stressed, but this person also didn't think they were going to get the job. It was kind of clear halfway through the interview. So that's my first takeaway for you. Focus less on the fear itself and remember that everybody is supposed to be nervous at a job interview. That's to be expected. In fact, the panel is to, you know, it's kind of weird to be interviewing somebody and having that type of conversation in a very artificial way. I'm not saying it's right or wrong, I'm just trying to get you into your next job. But that's the system that most people go through and, and it's quite artificial, so that will eventuate in a bit better stress, but that should not be the focus.
So if you can remember that, that it will happen anyway, plan ahead for the day of the interview so that you have dotted all the I's and crossed all the T's and you're ready to go from your house to the interview room and you have kind of managed all the risks for that journey and prepared yourself well. You have to feel comfortable within that environment and just remember that it is a natural thing to be fearful and a bit stressed out. And during the interview, gosh, I'm being quite horrible and that wasn't the plan. The plan was to actually give you some confidence! So let's kind of move on and see if we can, um, get to the point where you don't get all freaked out. Okay. But yeah, you know, it is important to know that everybody is going to be a bit jittery and that's the baseline, really.
You know, that's the baseline for you and your competition so you can focus on other things and not focus on the fear. So that's what I had in my notes. Do not focus on your fear. Everybody will have that and you should focus on other stuff. So what would that other stuff be? Well, it should be the reason why you're there in the first place. By the time you get to an interview, you have already gone from a very long list of candidates. I'm sort of going into like the standard [recruitment], it varies of course, but you may have gone through a recruitment journey where dozens or sometimes even hundreds of people applied. That was narrowed down possibly even automatically or manually by a search engine or a search person. And then you made it to a shorter list.
That shorter list was probably revised a couple of times and you might have received a call, and then you made it to an even shorter list. And then eventually the organization decided on a few people that they wanted to interview. And it's usually about three to five. But I've seen clients interview up to 10 people, which I think is too much. But you know, if you're an organization and you're still trying to figure out what the job is actually going to be or you're growing too fast and you really need that many people, you might interview 10 people but normally three to five, right? So you've gone through a lot to get there and your strengths and the strengths of your application and possibly your phone interview took you all the way to that room. And if you focus on stress and not on your strength, which is what got you there in the first place, you will be missing out on the opportunity to make them shine and to make that very clear to the people that brought you into the room.
I'm not saying that everyone in the room knows who you are, quite frankly. Usually there is one person and you will hope, we will all hope that that person is in the room. But sometimes fellows, that person is not in the room. Let me tell you, the person who has read your interview [sic resume] and know that back to front, that person is usually part of the search team externally. So if they have engaged a recruitment organization and executive search group, that person will know a lot about, they will have done all the research, looked you up online and stalked you and made sure that you were a good candidate for the organization. And then you might have people in the room that are good people and do their homework and they will have read it. But there has been situations in my experience where people go into the room and they quickly scan the resume before the interview starts.
It's so bloody annoying, isn't it? And then you get those questions that makes you know that they have not read your resume or your cover letter or your application. Because if they had, they wouldn't be asking you that question. Has this happened to you? Please send me an email. I'd love to hear your story. There's usually some interesting crackers and stories from people in interviews. I love them. Okay. So, um, where were we? Oh yeah, yeah. Focus on your strength. Right? But you have to regardless of the interview panels, knowledge about you and your strength, that's what got you there, right? That's what made people think, okay, you know this person deserves to be in this room. Let's interview them so when your mind is going all over the place because that's what happens when you get too much stress hormones in your head, remember those strengths. And if you think you're not focused enough, just remember the day before your interview to write down a post it note or notepad, somewhere that you can read as you're commuting to the interview location or driving or whatever and just make sure that you remember what the key strengths that you are bringing to this organization and why they should hire you.
So that’s how you refocus your energy during the interview. Then I have a third bit of recommendation for you. Sorry, I'm trying really hard to go back to my phone. This is my first podcast as you know, and I want to make sure I'm not going overboard with time, but no, I think you can cope for another few minutes. Okay, so the third is, have you ever been very stressed? Like on a scale of zero to 10 I'm asking you have you been on a 10? Because I have and it's really, really interesting. And if you have not good on you, well I'm very jealous. But I have to say once you go through this, you know, horrible, horrible experiences in life, you have a whole new perspective and you can only tell other people how it feels. And that's what I'm going to do because, it's helpful because once you do know you become stronger and definitely more resilient. You can gather that experience and that energy and make something good out of it. And if you've been in a terrible situation at some point in your life, you would know what I mean. So, on a scale of 10, what stress has done to my mind, you know, this is personal, right? Is that my mind goes in some sort of weird mode where everything slows down, and you've seen that movie. So I'm thinking people that work in the Hollywood, they probably have an understanding of those things because if they're showing something really stressful that Tom cruise is doing, they will slow it down. And that's, and uh, Jason Bourne, you know, like in the Bourne movies, if you were in his head and seeing the scene from his point of view, things kind of slow down.
And unbeknownst to me, that's what happened to me when I was in a very stressful situation. Once everything slowly down, my vision became really acute. Like I could see everything in detail and I was thinking a lot of things in my mind and trying to figure out how I was going to get out of that situation. So that happened to me when I was in my mid-twenties long time ago. I'm in my mid-forties now. And so what that has done to me is that when I get into a stressful situation again, and I was in kind of a similar one a couple of weeks ago in a meeting and in fact I felt cornered by the person that was meeting with me and they came up with some questions that I felt were trying to trick me, get me and immediately that kind of plays on the back of my mind again, almost like a PTSD.
But what I do is I kind of turned it in a positive way to support me and help me during stress, right? So I can see, you know, okay, this guy is trying to trick me with this question. This question is trying to get me and everything slows down for me. And I can think it's almost like I had more time, I carved more time in a second or two. And I don't know if I'm explaining this well, I'm making a movement with my hand, kind of like a bubble, you know? It's just kind of like a balloon, you know? The balloon has a small hole for you to blow into and it's big inside, right? So that's how I feel when I'm in that situation.
Things slow down. I feel like I have more time. I feel like my head is thinking faster and coming up with better ideas. So if you relax into the situation, you can be yourself and you can read the room better and you can use that stress to your advantage. I've never heard anybody talking about this. Only me, I talk about this. I've told people this before. I hope that this makes sense to other people really because it's been such a good thing for me. It has helped me so much, you know, to remember that, to remember to use my stress and I find that that's really, how do you say, natural? It's part of the fight and flight situation and that's what stress is there to do. It's to help us either get away from danger or to fight danger, right? So if you are positioning your interview in such a way that you want to get away from it, I think that's when your mind goes all busy, hectic, and you are kind of fighting all these sorts of things in your head and you're losing control and you forget the keys to your car. Or, all of a sudden get into the wrong train. Look, I'm actually telling stuff that I've done as I walk into important meetings or interviews. Oh yeah, I have this for you. I remember getting ready for an interview and like the week before, I have my favorite suit, beautiful English skirt suit that I have that I love. I still have it. And I sent it to the dry cleaners and it was like 5:00 AM in the morning and I was getting dressed because it was a very early interview and I kid you not, they had shrunk my skirt! Now I had not gained weight, fellows! Yeah, I'm a big girl, but I know this for sure. This skirt had shrunk at the dry cleaner.
It was the first time I used this dry-cleaner. Oh, I was so annoyed and so angry and that just sort of completely unravelled me. Right. Of course. I had to turn on the light, woke up my husband, five am in the morning. He's asking me what's wrong and I'm like, you know, using the F word a lot and trying to figure out what else I was going to wear.
So again, went into this kind of tangent, but back to the stress and to focusing on it. Relax into the situation. Don't try to fight it, just walk into that room with purpose and ready for the fight. It's called job hunting for a reason. And you don't want to be the hunt, you want to be the Hunter. So go there, read the room, slow down the pace of the situation and use that energy to help you win.
Make sure that you feel comfortable. And stress can be very good in reading other people in the room, I have found. Because if you are in it for the fight and you're walking away instead, f you're walking with that purpose, then again, all those natural instincts, they will sink in and you will be paying a lot of attention to people's body language, the way they move, the way that look at you, the way they interact with you and what you're trying to do. Then remember, you're not trying to kill them! You're trying to win them, right?
Focus on your strengths, the things that brought you to that room and win that interview. I'd love to hear from you. If you use these tips next time you interview or if you don't have an interview coming up try them at an important meeting you have at work or an important conversation that you have to have that you've been postponing because you don't like confrontation. It's the flee instead of the fight, you know, response to stress. So, embrace that going forward, try to do it using those steps that I've mentioned today and let me know how you go.
If you like this podcast, by the way, remember to live me a review and to subscribe because there shall be more podcasts coming.
By the time you listen to this, I'm hoping to have at least four up and running there for you and also have all the best intentions of writing episode notes. So whenever I mentioned something like a book or if I think of a book after the podcast is recorded, I will put the links below and also the link to my website where you can get in touch with me. For example, if you have a question or an idea for a podcast in the future, I'd love to hear that. Please send me ideas even though I have 38 ideas already. As I mentioned before, this podcast is here for the long run. So this is a marathon. Guys, I need as many ideas as you can give me. Thanks and Ciao for now.
About the Host
Hello, I’m Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job Hunting Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. I teach professionals (corporate, non-profit, and public) the steps and frameworks to help them find great jobs, change, and advance their careers with confidence and less stress.
If you are an ambitious professional who is keen to develop a robust career plan, if you are looking to find your next job or promotion, or if you want to keep a finger on the pulse of the job market so that when you are ready, and an opportunity arises, you can hit the ground running, then this podcast is for you.
In addition to The Job Hunting Podcast, , on my website, I have developed a range of courses and services for professionals in career or job transition. And, of course, I also coach private clients.
Contact Renata Bernarde
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