You Have Nothing to Lose in Interviews - Really!
It’s OK, we’re alone, so raise your hand if the idea of interviewing is intimidating or frightening. Guess what? It’s natural to feel intimidated about the unknown. That's how most people feel!
The great news is that interviewing is a situation where not only can you overcome your fear, but you can strategically position yourself as the one to win the job.
You see, you have to recognize interviewing for what it is -- a game. It is a game in which the most prepared applicant will win.
In fact, it’s rarely the most qualified candidate who receives the job offer; instead it’s the one the interviewer liked the best, who demonstrated they would fit into the organizational culture.
So where does this leave you and your interviewing anxiety?
Who Is Hired?
Picture your choices: If you had to choose between a totally qualified yet arrogant and unkempt person and a seemingly smart, vibrant, and communicative person, who would you be most likely to choose?
Except in situations like brain surgery, if you appear trainable, fit in and can meet the company / customer needs, then you are a better choice than the person who can do the job but will not be liked by staff or customers.
What does that mean to you? If it is a game, then there are strategies to winning the game. If you master the strategies, then you can win, regardless of your age, education level or other self-perceived barriers.
The Power to Succeed on a Uneven Playing Field
The best way to visualize this is as an uneven playing field. This is the only competitive sport where you will never get to see your competition perform. Therefore, you do not know what you are up against.
My personal approach in the interview process is to recognize the power of striving to be better than average.
We live in America, called the land of opportunity. Many people have made millions starting with nothing in this country because they recognized the value of excellence. We live in a society where most people do only the minimum to get by. If you can give that little bit extra, you can be good - which is held in high esteem, but if you can give your all, you can be excellent and reach any goal you set for yourself. This is very good news for you – like everything you have ever set your mind to, such as studying for a test that requires memorization, you can learn to sell yourself confidently in the interview!
The Attitude to Succeed
So, besides studying, what else does it take to succeed in the interview? A positive attitude!
It is easy when you are in a transition such as graduating from school, changing careers or seeking employment to become discouraged, self-deprecating, or negative. In fact, many of us are not even aware of the negative self-talk or attitudes we have.
You see, attitude is so important to your success not just in your next job, but in your life. Whether you see a glass as half full or half empty will determine how each situation that befalls you will affect the next step you take. Many people have had terrible situations happen to them and have made that situation into the best thing that ever happened to them.
Why YOU Cannot Lose
But, a positive attitude cannot banish fear, can it? Our palms still get sweaty and we still fear we’ll clam up and not know what to say.
But, are you really the one who has something to fear? Surprisingly, no!
Sure, you can argue that you have a lot to lose – a job offer, for example.
However, you cannot lose something you did not have to begin with; this is more "practice for the big game."
Use that positive attitude I talked about to overcome the little things that crop up in an interview. Strive to present the best version of you that you can and enter this interview process with an open mind.
The outcome of a less than perfect interview situation will really be determined by the way you allow yourself to see the situation. Where one person may trip and fall and then become so embarrassed that they start to cry and have to leave, another will laugh it off and make the employer laugh too, establishing rapport.
The truth is, whenever you interview, YOU HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE.
You can’t lose time, because you gain practice in each case of what doesn’t work. Or you gain knowledge of who you don’t want to work for (that rude employer). Or you perceive this and what you thought was disinterest was really something personal and not you at all.
The worst enemy you can have is your negative beliefs creeping in to tell you that you are doing something wrong and bad.
The interview is just a game that you will strive to win. If you don’t win, you don’t also lose, but you learn what not to do the next time!
© Copyright Laura DeCarlo 2009. Used with permission.
About this author: Laura DeCarlo is recognized as the career industry’s ‘career hero’ making a difference to both job seekers and career professionals as the founder of Career Directors International. She possesses 11 top-level certifications in resume writing, career coaching, and career management; 7 first place resume and job placement awards; and has written three books on interviewing and job search including Interview Pocket RX, Interviewing: The Gold Standard, and Job Search Bloopers. Follow Laura on Twitter; username: @careerhero.