Lindsay Maclean is a communication and personal development coach who has worked with firms including Arcadia, Asos and Cath Kidston. Here’s her guide to giving the best possible account of yourself at your next job interview
When you go off to an interview, common advice is “just be yourself”, but do you find this easy? More often than not, people find this a challenge and “yourself” can be someone who gets nervous, who overtalks, who overthinks and who falls apart. I’ve interviewed many people, I have been interviewed and I train people in managing interviews. Here is a selection of my favourite tips.
1. GET MOVING
If you feel nervous, go for a long walk or run to wake up your body prior to the interview. Get the spirited energy flowing.
2. SHAKE OUT TENSION
Just before you enter the interview, go into a private space (it might have to be the lavatory) and press against a wall really hard. Let go. Shake it out. You’ll be amazed at how much tension you release.
3. POWER POSE
Amy Cuddy delivered a popular TED talk encouraging you to do some power posing before you enter an interview. By this she meant: tweak your body language – open up, stand tall, lift up your head and get yourself into a powerful position. Her research indicates that, by doing this for two minutes before the interview, you can increase your testosterone levels and walk in feeling more powerful.
4. MOBILISE YOUR MATES
Identify your most energetic and positive friend or family member and speak to them within the 24-hour countdown to your interview. There is often that one person who leaves you feeling energised and positive. Avoid “energy vampires”.
5. HAVE A LIGHTBULB MOMENT
Take a few moments by yourself, stand in front of the mirror and imagine what it would be like if you had a light switch inside you. What happens to your facial expressions when you turn it on? How does this naturally alter your body language? Turn this light on just before the interview.
…at everyone you meet along the way to the interview, especially the receptionists and security guards. You never know the role they can play in getting you the job, plus smiling will lift your mood.
7. JUST BE
In the lead-up to your interview, take five minutes every day away from everyone and just be. Be in the present moment – no screens. Listen to all the sounds around you. Can you hear cars? Can you hear birds? Take in the sounds. This can help to keep your mind calm. Do this just before the interview. It will also help you to learn how to be fully present in the discussion, listen and understand the questions.
8. AND BREATHE
Never underestimate the power of breath and its relationship with voice. If your breathing is shallow, it may distort your speech. Breathe from the bottom of your stomach to ensure long, smooth breaths. This will help you find your natural voice when you’re under pressure. If you’re unsure, I’d suggest doing some research on breathing to help you feel calm
This is an edited extract from Lindsay Maclean’s book, Speak Up & Be Heard, published by iElevate Educate