I was recently coaching a client before a callback interview for a job she really wanted. One of the things we worked on was creating a routine for exactly what she would do in the moments before the interview. This isn’t about how to show up on time (yes, you need to get there early to account for traffic, security clearance and filling out employment forms in Reception). This isn’t about how to prepare for commonly asked interview questions (yes, you need to prepare stories and specific examples that highlight your best self). This is about knowing how to ground yourself right before an interview so that you are in a good mood, enthusiastic to be there, and relaxed enough to perform at your highest level.
You cannot reliably expect to be “on” or “in your element” if you don’t have specific techniques to get you there. After all, you may be under the weather, or you may stub your toe that morning which just sets you off, or you may hear some bad news right before (and in this economic climate there is plenty of that to go around). So you can’t just expect to turn it on when it matters. Many athletes and artists have specific routines that they build to make sure they are on for game day or a big performance. Some of my favorite techniques:
Have a song that inspires you and listen to it that morning or right before you go into the company building;
Carry pictures that get you in the right frame of mind. I like to look at pictures of my kids to instantly ground me and remind me why I am about to pitch this big proposal or ask for the business;
Read inspirational quotes;
Smile. Even if you have to force it, flexing your muscles that way has been proven to put you in a better state.
Whatever you do, do something specific that you have prepared and that you know works for you. The market is competitive. People are anxious; even the employers interviewing you are probably more worried about their own jobs than they are about your search. Now more than ever you need to reliably be ready to shine. Create the environment where you can succeed. Don’t leave interview inspiration to chance.