It is natural for you to feel nervous just ahead of your interview. Of course you are nervous, this is after all an important and potentially life-changing event for you.
Maybe this is your dream job, and no matter how well you have prepared, you are bound to be feeling some tension. You are fearful that you might fluff your lines and blow any chance of landing the role.
So can anything be done to help fend off those last minute nerves?
Well the good news is yes, and the answer, like many when it comes to understanding successful interviewing, lies in neuroscience.
We all know how important good body language is for an interview. Sitting up, moving energetically, making good eye contact, all of these are important components to triggering a positive response from your interviewer.
We also know that certain situations trigger the release of certain neurochemicals which can alter our “state”, for example a timely dose of adrenaline which helps us jump up a tree if a lion charges at us.
So how does this helps you manage your last minute interview nerves?
Research carried out by Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at Harvard Business School, has shown that our body position can trigger the release of neurochemicals which can either help or hinder us as we go into an interview.
She has shown that adopting a “Power Pose” – making oneself large, standing tall, spreading arms – for two minutes will trigger a release of testosterone which is the “dominance hormone”. You will start to feel confident and powerful just because of the way you stand!
On the other hand, by adopting a weak pose – sitting hunched, cross legged, small – for two minutes will trigger the release of cortisol, the “stress hormone”. Watch this 5-minute video to see Amy explaining her research:
Now imagine how most people are positioned ahead of an interview – usually seated in a waiting area hunched over their mobile phone. This is the worst possible preparation as it will trigger the release of cortisol which heightens your feeling of stress. Instead, move around, stand tall, find an area where you can stretch your arms out and make yourself “big”. Get that testosterone flowing, to make you glow with confidence!
Many years ago, well before I appreciated the neuroscience at work, I was taught a very similar process on a presentation skills course, making myself big just before going on stage to make a presentation, and it works every time for me.
As I have shown in my articles on first impressions, it is absolutely critical that in those first few moments of meeting your interviewer he sees a confident and empowered you.
By performing your “Power Pose” for a few minutes ahead of your interview, you will walk into the room in a very positive and confident mental state.
Make this a part of your interviewing toolkit and you will reap the benefits!
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