Fighting to get the Job at Interview!


The walk out to the cage can be one of the scariest things you could ever think to do. The clink of the door closing and then it is just you and the man opposite you. But if you have already been there 5 times before in your mind, then you somehow feel at home.


Preparing people for interviews is very similar to preparing someone to fight in many ways, because the nerves, the adrenal dump, the lack of clarity of thought, are all the same. So below are a few pointers to have you winning the job you want and becoming the next office champion!


Understanding nerves and adrenalin


So nerves are a bit like beer on a Friday night, some is a good thing but then too much is a problem! So understand that you are going to feel nervous but also accept that to have some nerves is also positive. There is a well known performance chart that shows that your performance increases as your nerves increase but then you get to a point when they start to lower your performance and more importantly your ability to think clearly. So how do I control my nerves so that they do not get too much?


Train how you fight so you will fight how you train


So if you do not train then how can you expect to win a fight, right? Same with interviews, you need to train and prepare for the interview. I do not mean, just do your research on the company, you are going to see but actually live the interview before it has happened. You can train your body and brain to relax when under pressure and also to act automatically, under extreme pressure. It does not know how to do this on its own, you need to train it.


Eye of the tiger


So sit down, close your eyes and start making yourself nervous. Think about the worst possible journey to the interview and how you arrived late. Picture yourself sitting in the reception area, waiting for your interviewer to arrive, your hands are sweaty, your breathing is faster and you can barely remember your name, let alone what your strengths and weaknesses are! Now STOP and breathe, and now breathe again. Not crazy Water buffalo sounding breaths but quiet, deep breaths and tell yourself to calm down (in your head only!).


What causes this feeling of nerves is adrenalin starting to release into the body and the only way to get it out and return to normal brain function, is to breathe the adrenalin out, so breathe. Now focus on the fact that your interviewer does not actually want to be interviewing because really they would prefer to be doing their actual job. Interviewing for most managers, is an aggravation so the quicker they believe you are right person for the role, the quicker they can give you the job and go back to whatever they normally do. They WANT to give the job to you so just give them the chance to do so, by showing them how awesome you are.


Can you do this job? I mean really, really, can you do it? If they employ you, will you be amazing at it? If the answer is no, then in your mind, stand up from the sofa and walk out the door because you should not be there.




So you are now sat in reception and you have calmed down slightly and are thinking more positively but in reality you are on autopilot and lacking in full conscious control. Autopilot is fine though as long as you have pre planned and pre trained what your autopilot does. Most interviews start in very similar ways which is the interviewer meets you in reception and escorts you to a meeting room or office.


They ask you to sit down and ask if you want a drink. Decide now if you will say yes or no so this does not throw you off on the day. Take some water not coffee or tea, is my advice. They will ask you fairly early on in the interview what you do or did in your current role so pre plan your answer and make sure the information you share is relevant to the job you are interviewing for. If you are interviewing for a designer role but in your current role as designer, you happened to make tea then you do not need to share this, stick to what you know, they need to know.


After the first few minutes you should be in your stride and more comfortable, plus that adrenalin is making its way out of your system so you will be able think more clearly. In your mind recite exactly what you will say when they ask you this question, then change it to sound better and then rehearse it 3 times. This is now programming your autopilot to work under pressure.


After this the fight can go any number of different ways so prepare yourself for eventualities, such as strengths and weaknesses questions etc and just roll with the punches. If they catch you with a lucky punch then breathe and just carry on, do not dwell on it, as it will set the tone for the rest of the fight.


Post fight analysis


So in your post interview analysis, ask yourself ‘did I do everything I could have done, in the moment, to get the job?’. Everyone could do something slightly better, in hindsight so do not stress about that afterwards. If you prepared correctly, then all the things you could control, should have gone roughly as you expected and you cannot change it now anyway.


If you did not execute your fight plan as you had hoped, then ensure you prepare better next time.


First impressions count


So now you understand the need for mental preparation for interviews, you can run this scenario through your head, a few times and should be able to physically calm yourself down, imagine how much easier it will be on the day. The interviewer will see a calm, confident person, answering their initial questions competently, not the shaking sweaty mess you could have been!


So do your fight prep and go and get them, champ!


Points to remember -


• Nerves are normal for everyone and a good thing to have! They help to increase your performance for in the interview so do not allow nerves add to your feeling of nerves!

• You need to prepare for your interview by trying to act out the interview in your head and how you want it to go. You can train your mind and body to relax under pressure.

• The best way to do this is to sit down and think yourself into a nervous situation – the worst you can think of. Now stop, breathe and tell yourself it is ok. Nerves are caused by adrenalin being realised into the body and the only way of stopping this is by returning back to a normal way of thinking.

• Most interviews start off the same way with a basic question on 'tell me more about what you were doing in your most recent job' - prepare this answer in advance.

• Interviewers want to give you the job. Ask yourself; Can you do this job? Will you be the best? If you can’t answer yes to these then now is the time to leave.

• Running on autopilot is ok; most of us do it as most interviews start in similar ways. However, make sure the information you are giving the interviewer is relevant to the job you are applying for.

• After a couple of minutes of settling in you start to become more confident and calm. Just be prepared for all eventualities; strength and weakness questions etc. If they throw you off track with any unexpected questions don’t dwell on it just calmly move on.

• Following these steps will allow your interviewer to see a calm confident person, who has prepared for the interview and really wants the job. First impressions really do count!

Thanks for reading.



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