Job Interviews and Mindfulness
The Power of the Present
I previously talked about how pausing to focus on a specific moment can bring huge rewards for self-awareness. Now, how being mindfully in the present can improve your performance in job interviews.
Huh?! Yes, I do realise that the last thing you want to do in the middle of job interviews is to sink into a deep mindfulness meditation. It may relieve the stress to simply notice the questions and your thoughts and let them float by, but it isn’t going to get you the job. So NO, I’m not talking about meditation in the interview room.
But imagine this.. you have prepared like mad, you have loads to share with the interview panel, you are pumped up with enthusiasm and/or nervous energy (you’re not really sure which) and wow - isn’t it weird how time is flying by as you race to tell the interviewer everything they need to know about you and all your achievements.
You could leave the scene above feeling like you have been interrogated, or that you rambled. In any case it probably all feels like a bit of a blur except for the question which you couldn’t answer well and have just now thought what to say – drat!!
Now stop. Drop those shoulders, unclench your hands, relax that jaw and your thighs and take a slow breath. Where in that emotional state is there the space for your ears to hear, your eyes to see and your brain to consider and find the best responses to the questions?
If this scene sounds familiar then finding that space is what you need to achieve. This is where learning to become mindfully aware of the present moment is so helpful.
Being present at interview means:
- You notice where you hold tension in your body. Don’t judge, just notice.
- Often tension will then automatically lessen. If not try..
- Re-framing. Fear and excitement have the same physiological symptoms so choose to label tension, sweating and racing heart as excitement not fear.
- Notice your breath. Breathing is the most useful and simplest thing to improve.
- Once you settle your breath and physically relax, you feel safer and you move your brain out of the primitive fight/ flight/ freeze state. Blood can go to your brain and…
- Bingo! You can engage your brain to listen properly, connect with the interviewer, understand the questions and give the best responses you have.
- Plus – breathing properly your voice works better and your posture is better, so you’ll look and feel more confident.
This is simple but may take time to become a habit you remember when you most need it. Try it out, practice. Ideally in practice interviews, but the same technique can be applied to any communication: presentation, group work, phone call or meeting.
To remind you why this is worth working on, imagine this. You show up to job interviews with an easy calm confidence. You are engaged and engaging, you are sharing openly and are also curious. Your intellect shines through as you interpret the questions with ease and give clear and relevant examples. You enjoyed what you shared and what you discovered and leave knowing that you have shown your best.