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February 11, 2015

Mental Practice for Interviews, Part 3

Mental Practice for Job Interviews, Part 3If you want to ace a job interview, you need to prepare yourself on every level, inside and out.

Mental practice – also known as imagery or visualization – can help you present yourself effectively and get the job.

This is not mysticism. It is self-help techniques for learning to do your best in interviews and get job offers.

In the first of these three posts I introduced mental practice, and in the second I provided troubleshooting for some common difficulties experienced by people who are new to it.

In this post I’ll describe several advanced techniques to make your mental practice more powerful – and fun – by making use of deep relaxation or “the alpha state.”

Why These Techniques Are Powerful in Interview Preparation

When you relax deeply, your brain shifts from a “busy” beta brainwave pattern into slower alpha brainwaves. This state of mind is similar to meditation or a light trance, like what you experience when you are caught up in a daydream and forget about the outside world for a while.

When intentionally focused, this state of mind helps allow creativity and learning to occur – for example, creating a clear vision of yourself being confident and articulate in an interview, and learning to make that a reality.

Because this state allows greater access to your subconscious mind, you’re able to have a learning experience that isn’t purely intellectual, but also emotional and even physical (as I discussed in Part 1). You’re preparing your whole self for success.

How to Do It

To enter this deeply relaxed state, start by getting into a comfortable position – sitting or lying down – and take a few deep breaths. Relax. Close your eyes, or focus them on something simple like the floor, a wall, or a candle flame.

Now experiment with the following ways of deepening your state. You don’t need to master all of them – just find out what works best for you.

  • Counting down: Count slowly down from 20 to 1, telling yourself you are relaxing and going deeper. “Twenty. Relaxing. Nineteen. Going deeper. Eighteen. Letting go…” etc.
  • Color: Choose a color you find relaxing, and imagine it vividly. Imagine you can breathe that color into your body, one area at a time, filling you with a deep calmness.
  • Special Place: Imagine a very safe place where you can easily feel deep relaxation and well-being. It can be a place you’ve been before, or one you create in your imagination. Go there in your mind, experiencing it with all your senses so that it feels as real as possible.
  • Utilization: This is a great way to deal with distractions: tell yourself they’re causing you to go deeper. “The cars I hear passing outside are carrying off my tension. Every passing car allows me to go deeper.”

Once you have attained some degree of relaxation and focus – which may not feel like anything special, since it’s a natural state you’ve been in before – it’s time to practice for your interview. Now you’re ready to clearly experience and practice having an excellent interview, following the steps I laid out in the first post in this series. If imagining the interview brings up any anxiety or distractions, you can repeat the above steps to quickly return to a deeply relaxed state.

Use a Guided Imagery Interview Preparation Recording

It’s not necessarily easy to follow  instructions while remaining deeply relaxed. It can be very helpful to make a recording to guide yourself through the process. Or contact me for your own customized “Relax and Psych Up” recording and coaching.

Deep relaxation-enhanced mental practice is a valuable tool help prepare yourself – mentally, emotionally and even physically – for successful job interviewing. Enjoy using it!

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