Over the course of my 21-year coaching career, I’ve found the vast majority of our clients find the interview process nerve wracking, intimidating, and for some, downright scary. Job interviews are like a mini presentation, and public speaking always scores as one of the top fears among most people when surveyed.
Communication is more about how the message is delivered than the actual words used in the message itself. Conveying your message in an interview with confidence, conviction, and a dose of passion for what you do is extremely important and can make all the difference.
Every pro athlete has a pre-game routine. They have the physical tools, skills, and game plan, but most avid sports fans will agree the game is usually won first in the mind even before the teams step onto the field, rink, or court.
It’s the same with you on interview game day.
So like a pro athlete, what can you do to get into “state,” which is a positive, proactive, and confident state of mind, before the interview even begins? Let’s borrow some techniques from today’s top athletes, leaders, and professional speakers on how to manage and mitigate any pre-game jitters or anxiousness and maximize your chances for success.
Here are 3 must-dos before your next big job interview:
1- Eat a bowl of oatmeal 90 minutes before the interview. Oatmeal is slow burning complex carbohydrate that will give you sustained energy without the sugar crash an energy drink, candy bar, or even some alleged “healthy” energy bars can cause. Oatmeal will improve your cognitive ability and if eaten regularly provide a litany of other health benefits such as normalized blood sugar, reduced risk of colon cancer, weight loss, and cholesterol control. Ensure you eat rolled or steel cut oats versus an instant version which can contain copious amounts of sugar and counteract the effects of the complex carbs.
2- Drink a cup of coffee 90 and 30 minutes before the interview. Caffeinated tea is also a good choice, but go easy on the sweetener for both as sugar will offset the positive effects of the caffeine. It’s a medical fact that caffeine has a positive effect on cognitive ability (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK209050/) and can give you a powerful mental boost in the proper amount. It’s important to know your “zone” as too little won’t have the right effect and too much caffeine can create more anxiety and nervousness around your job interview. For most people 1 to 2 cups of coffee or tea are fine if spaced apart 30-90 minutes before the interview.
3- 15 minutes before your interview, play your “walk-up song.” This is the X Factor. During home games in major league baseball, the home team players have their walk-up song blaring for 10-15 seconds before stepping up to the plate so they are in state when facing the pitcher. You can do the same. This should be a song that gets you fired up and tells your brain and body it’s Go Time! Emotion needs motion so don’t repress your body and mind by sitting still, getting nervous and anxious, and thinking about how you “can’t blow this interview.” This is guaranteed to get you into state for your interview. You’re alert, enthusiastic, motivated, and ready to go—exactly what you (and the employer) want!
Most will agree that the people who are the best at what they do are driven and passionate about their cause. So after you’ve mapped out your interview plan, assembled your agenda for the meeting, and rehearsed your presentation, now it’s about getting into “state” and programming your mind for success so you perform and deliver like the true professional you are. Follow the steps above and you’ll be crossing the goal line and spiking the ball after your next interview.
So, what’s your walk-up song? Do you have a similar “game day” routine? Leave a comment below as we would love to hear from you!