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How to Psych Yourself Up for an Interview

by THEA kelley | September 17, 2020

Let’s say you’ve done a lot of smart job interview preparation, but you still don’t feel entirely confident. How can you psych yourself up for the interview?

It isn’t enough to be intellectually well prepared for interview success. You also need to be ready emotionally. Here are some ways to get yourself to that point.

Use “virtual reality.” No, you don’t need special glasses. Take a few minutes to vividly imagine that successful interview, what it will feel, sound and look like. This isn’t mysticism, it’s psychology: you’re giving yourself an actual experience of success, which primes you for success on interview day. You may be surprised what a difference this makes.

Create a “confidence anchor.” Right now, close your eyes and take a minute to  remember a time when you felt very confident. It can be work-related or an event from your personal life. Once you have a time in mind, go back into that memory and experience it as clearly as you can. Really wallow in that feeling of confidence! Now let your imagination come up with a simple symbol of that confidence. What pops into your mind? It might be a word or short phrase, an image or a gesture. Anchor that feeling of confidence onto that symbol. Whenever you want to feel confident, bring it to mind and let the feeling fill you.

Prepare some self-talk: Write several sentences beginning with “They’re going to love me because…” Which of your sentences boost your confidence the most? Write those on sticky notes, post them where you’ll see them and repeat them to yourself frequently. Taking a few moments to relax and breathe beforehand will help deepen the effect of these affirmations.

Start mixing the personal chemistry. Interviewers aren’t only assessing your skills and knowledge; they’re trying to get a feel for the chemistry, whether there’s a feeling of liking between you and them. You can actually work on this in advance. Based on what you know about the interviewer from  LinkedIn or any other source, what do you think you’ll like about this person once you’re working with them? Use your imagination. As I wrote in my post, Interview Success, What’s Love Got to Do with It?, “The interviewer is a human being. Sometimes we forget that, and start seeing him or her as the Almighty Judge and Holder of All Power, instead of as a person like oneself who has fears, hopes, humor and love, and who probably likes puppies and pizza and believes in the Golden Rule just as much as we do. Imagine the interviewer becoming your friend eventually.” Will this help you feel more at ease at the interview? Try it and find out. It certainly can’t hurt.

After following one of the suggestions above, get some exercise. Give your brain a break and take care of your body for a while.

Which one of the above appeals to you most? Experiment with it. Have fun with it. You’ve done all the intellectual preparation. Now it’s time to get a little creative and psych up for a great interview!

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