Are your interviews feeling a little stale? Whether you’re going on your first interview, you are a passive candidate who hasn’t brushed up on your skills, or you’ve been in the job hunt for awhile and can’t seem to land the offer, sometimes you just can’t find the right rhythm or comfort with interviewing.
We’ve put together a list of things you can do to get back in the right mindset, improve your presentation skills, be ready to tackle your next meeting, and get out of an interview funk.
Speed Networking (or Speed Dating)
Sound silly or intimidating? Just approach it with an attitude of fun. What’s your personal pitch going to be? You’ve got 3-5 minutes to ‘sell’ yourself to the other person. Learn what your highlights are, what techniques are effective, and also note how your partner in each round communicates. Translate your findings into delivering short, impactful answers in your interview and avoid any bad habits you observed networking. And hey, if you’re single, kill two birds with one stone and opt for Speed Dating.
Mixers, Business Networking, Meetup Groups
So maybe speed isn’t your thing, but getting out among other groups of people can get you motivated about interviewing. Find a group or two to network with whether it’s for business or pleasure. Start talking to people about you, not just about your job search, and you may just remind yourself of why you’re so great and make a few new connections in the meantime. And the same ideas apply here as they do for Speed Networking, pay attention to how people communicate and what you find effective.
If you’re feeling a little uninspired, find a seminar to attend on a subject of interest. You might get a renewed sense of energy by listening to others and engaging in a more meaningful conversation, whether the subject is self-help, spiritual, on a business topic, or about hobby. Being in a room full of people with like-minded interests can create a positive energy and be motivating.
Take an Improv Class or Go to an Improv Show
Laughter alone is great for the mind and spirit and can loosen you up around the edges. Taking an improv class can help you to learn to think on your feet as well as how to expand on subjects when you’d like the conversation to continue. If you don’t have time for a class, attend a show and notice how the performers carry themselves. Even better, some shows have an amateur hour afterwards and you can try your hand at it for a few minutes on stage. (Also good for dealing with stage fright, if you can perform in front of a crowd full of people, one or two interviewers shouldn’t be a problem–just don’t ham it up in the interview!)
Children have a unique way of seeing the world and being around them can remind you to look at things differently. Whether it’s getting creative or simplifying things, these exercises can help you take a new look at how you approach the interview process. Even better, role play with the kids and do some mock interviews. See how you have to adapt to their style and take cues from them and make sure you’re following cues in your next interview.
Keeping a daily journal can help you get our any thoughts or fears that may be weighing you down. It also allows for you to take note of the highlights of each day and get more honest with yourself. By providing yourself this outlet, you can avoid carrying some of that extra baggage into the interview. It can also help center you and have positive effects on your Emotional Intelligence. (Want to know more about Emotional Intelligence and Interviewing? Check out this article: Interviewing for Emotional Intelligence: Part 1
I always like to stress the power of activity. Exercise increases positive endorphins in the brain and can help center you and provide increased energy. It’s also a great form of meditation when it’s just you and your thoughts while moving through a routine (or some great music to let you de-stress!) Try finding a group of people to work out with or take up a team sport to keep yourself motivated.
Join a Club
Whether it’s a charity group, social organization, or a book club, like networking, socializing can have a positive impact and having a cause to center your attentions around can help bring out some positive skill sets like organization or leadership that you may have forgotten about.
Do the Impossible/Take on a Challenge
Never thought you could run a marathon, jump out of plane, or tackle cooking 6-course gourmet meal? Pick a goal that you never thought you’d achieve and work towards it and do it. Sometimes we have something to prove to ourselves before we’re ready to prove ourselves to other people. Plus you’ll have a personal example of drive, determination, and motivation to share when you’re interviewing and you can translate those ideas to the workplace.
Go to Trivia Night
Aside from having a little fun and blowing off steam with friends, attending a trivia night can get you reconnected with the power of teamwork, stimulate you brain, and get your adrenaline pumping, reminding you how to lighten up and enjoy the moments when you’re under pressure.
Organize Your Space
When our lives are cluttered, so too our minds often are. Take some time out to organize your world around you. Clean your house, put away everything and establish some order to your personal chaos. You might be amazed at how much more clearly you can think and focus on what’s ahead when the little distractions of your daily life are put away.
Read a book
Having trouble articulating in an interview. Pick up a book. Reading expands our vocabulary, syntax, and communication skills. Get comfortable with your words while enjoying a great novel or learning about a new subject.
Whether you decide to take up painting, cooking, or crafts or head out to your local museum or a music concert, exploring different perspectives and ways of expressing yourself can open you up as a person where you may be closing yourself off in an interview.
Develop a New Skill Set
Is there something you always wanted to do or study or thought if I only knew how to do this I could be better at my job? Do it. Give the interviewer one more reason to hire you because you’ve got one more skill to offer that other candidates don’t.
Get or Give a Pep Talk
Who’s your best cheerleader? Sometimes we all need a little pick me up. Sitting down and talking with someone who knows everything that makes you great can be a nice reminder before an interview. Being the cheerleader for someone else can also make you feel good and realize everything’s okay and that any gray skies will pass and you will still shine through.
No matter what avenue you choose, choose to do something versus staying in your funk. Even wrong action is better than no action at all (and you can learn from it!) And don’t do it alone, the power of a friend or network can help raise your spirits and get you through the interview haze.
Have you tried something else that’s helped you mentally and emotionally prepare for an interview? Share your ideas or experience!