Relaxing at Interview – 2 Tips by Chris Cutting

Ever wondered why it is, when you don’t try at interview you end up with an offer and when you really want the job and try so hard, you don’t get it? Frustrating isn’t it?

The answer is that you’re either relaxed or not. It’s what makes a significant difference. When you’re relaxed the authentic you is clear to see and that’s what interviewers are looking for. It’s what enables them to connect with you.

Don’t mix up being relaxed with not being prepared. Flying by the seat of your pants won’t do, especially in the current employment market.

How can you achieve being relaxed at interview?

Tip 1State of Mind

This requires practise. It doesn’t just happen. My shortened version of this is the “hell with it” principle and here’s how it works.

No matter how much you want the job, try to put yourself in the following state of mind; 

“I will perform my best at interview and if it comes to me, it comes to me and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. It doesn’t really matter in the scheme of things, it wasn’t meant to be” 

It’s this semi subconscious process that happens at interview for the job you don’t want. Take the same process and apply it consciously at interview for the job you do want. Call it a mantra if you like and start saying it to yourself the night before you go to interview. It takes mental practise and you will get better at it. It will begin to take the pressure off you in a stressful environment. 

Tip 2 – The CV can help you relax

This is about the construction of your CV and here is how it works. When telling a story that is a satisfying memory, particularly if there is a strong sense of achievement associated with it, you relax and enjoy reliving the memory. It’s not too different to retelling the holiday tales that cause joy and laughter. How do we create the condition for this to happen in interview?

Take your achievements and state the metrics of the improvement you made at the start of a sentence, relating to the specific area your achievement was in BUT don’t tell the story of your journey and how you got there. For example;

“Improved productivity and output of a product line by 27%”

Why do this? The interviewer is naturally going to ask you “How?” It’s exactly the question you want because now you tell the story. Here’s the significance. During the telling, because its a good memory and something familiar to you, you begin to smile, gesticulate, and get animated. What happens is that the interviewer gets to see the real you and to connect with you. Apart from which everyone likes a success story told well, it engages people. It will also be remembered by the interviewer for a while. In behavioural terms, the undesired behaviours (nervousness) are being displaced the desired behaviours (relaxed attentiveness). 

One warning. Don’t throw everything and the kitchen sink at your answer. Keep it brief and highlight the main points. If the interviewer wants to know more, they will ask. Now you have engagement rather than glazed eyes.

30 years in recruitment and CV coaching has enabled me to understand some of the dynamics of a CV and how they can enhance or kill an interview. It’s not just to get you to interview but to help you during the interview. 

Here to help for tips and tricks or to be engaged. 

As always, wishing you success especially in these times.

You can read more articles by Chris, here.