Do you find job interviews intimidating?
Don’t underestimate how the way you perceive an interview process will directly affect your ability to show yourself as the best candidate.
Some people tell me they hate interviews in higher ed. because they feel scrutinized and judged by hostile people who may have unfair biases and personal agendas. They say the entire process is flawed and ineffective because of the rigid pre-determined list of questions, silly writing assignment, lack of interaction, intimidating setting, and so on.
While they are not entirely wrong, creating such a negative and disempowering story in their minds puts them at a disadvantage. You see, whatever story you create in your mind can build or destroy your confidence and comfort level.
So choose a good story!
The point here isn’t to look at facts objectively to make rational observations. It is to make you feel at ease with the process and allow you to show your best self instead of getting in your own way.
Here is an example of what you can choose to tell yourself to feel good about the process, reduce pressure, and allow yourself to shine.
Your story – What to tell yourself as you get ready to interview
1. They are excited to meet you
The hiring committee members have reviewed your application and they want to meet you. You are undoubtedly qualified for the job. If you weren’t, you wouldn’t be invited. They already appreciate you and can hardly wait to learn more about you and what value you can bring to their organization. In their eyes, you are already a VIP.
2. You are going to enjoy it
The interview will be a great opportunity to meet interesting people. You’ll get to talk about subjects you’re passionate about and highlight your skills, accomplishments, and ideas. It will be an engaging intellectual exercise.
3. The process works to your advantage
Meeting an entire committee is good for you because you get to show the value you bring to multiple people who have diverse perspectives and you can create more fans. Their ultimate decision is more likely to be fair than if it was made by one single individual. The list of questions is well thought-out and will allow you to talk about what matters to them. All is well!
4. Success is having no regrets
While your ego would like you to be offered every position you apply for, you know you can’t be the best fit every time. Your goal is to get a job where you are a fantastic fit and it may or may not be this one. The best way to be chosen where you belong is to show yourself with authenticity and confidence, and let the committee decide if it’s a match or not. If it’s not, it means there is something better for you on the horizon. So relax! Your goal isn’t to be chosen every time (there are too many factors you can’t control) but to have no regrets about how well you did at the interview.
5. Focus on the big picture
You are not attached to any one particular job opportunity. Not much is at stake here today. You are going to succeed, here or elsewhere. You know your worth. You know the value you bring to an institution. In today’s process you’ll either be appreciated or redirected to something else. Either way, you win. You keep getting closer and closer to getting your dream job. You are safe. Life is full of exciting opportunities!
I invite you to create your own story and go as far as you want to go with your imagination. You can imagine that a group of people you don’t even know are throwing you a party! They are all taking time out of their busy day to meet you. They want to talk to you. They even thought of you when they got dressed in the morning. They chose an outfit to impress you. They are feeling anxious, vulnerable, and excited all at the same time because they are going to meet someone who may soon join their leadership team. They are ready to appreciate you and admire you. They too have dreams and hopes. They hope you will be a supportive and inspirational leader. You – and them – are the same. There is no reason to be intimidated. Expect good things.
You see, you can focus on anything you want, real or fictional, so choose what will make you feel at ease.
Now, you may ask…
“What if it is not just my story but real insecurities that are holding me back?”
I would answer: Don’t just hope for the best. Don’t hope you’ll magically come up with the perfect answer to the questions that make you feel insecure.
Be proactive! Prepare. Take charge.
If you have self-doubt (e.g., not competent enough?), or un-healed wounds (e.g., having been treated poorly or even fired), insecurities (e.g., you’ve been rejected before), shame (e.g., you don’t like to talk about something in your professional past), etc., then “changing your story” won’t be enough. You must own your present and your past to show yourself with competence and confidence.
Thinking the same thoughts over and over again won’t allow you to move past what is holding you back now. Let’s talk about the obstacles you face and how I can help you overcome them quickly. Click here to make an appointment for a complimentary phone consultation.
About the author: Dr. Audrey Reille has empowered thousands of professionals through one-on-one coaching, group coaching, speaking engagements, online courses, and interviews on international telesummits. Audrey is the go-to coach for leaders in higher education administration. She empowers them to thrive by reducing stress, optimizing strategies, improving professional relationships, and developing a strong and empowered mindset. For more information and free resources visit ThrivingInAdmin.com