This is the last post of Interviewing With Confidence: The Series! Throughout the series, we’ve talked about the importance of knowing yourself, why and how to do pre-interview research, mining job descriptions and connecting them to your resume, scenario-based and open-ended interview questions, how you communicate without speaking, and best practices for interacting with interviewers. It has been quite the trip! But before we shut it down and shuffle along, we’re going to touch on how you can maintain wellness during the often stressful job search process.
[There aren’t any activities in the IWC worksheet bundle for this post, but if you missed any posts or were waiting until the end to do the activities, get it here!]
Looking for work (even if you’re currently employed) is stressful, and the longer it goes the more demoralizing it becomes. Sending out countless applications and getting rejections (or no response at all) is mentally and physically exhausting. You start to question yourself, your qualifications, and even your worthiness to do the job that you want. If you’re feeling defeated, and this sense of defeat bleeds into the interview, then it becomes even more likely that you won’t get the job. It’s hard to convey enthusiasm when you’re beat down.
But you have to maintain a positive outlook on your job search for there to be a positive result. You have to know that this is just temporary and that you’ll be better for it, or else things can get unhealthily bleak. The job search is the type of thing that sucks until it doesn’t. It’s going to be awful until you have a new job, so keep that in mind. It’s not easy, but it’ll be worth it.
If you’re at the breaking point, you need to be proactive in ensuring that your stress doesn’t impact your interview performance. I’ve met some people can just flip a switch and go into the interview all sunshine and lollipops, ready to go no matter what the external circumstances are. If you’re one of those people who can fake it til they make it, good for you! Use this trait to exude positivity in every interview.
If you can’t – and that’s totally okay – you need to be more deliberate about it. You need to actively invoke a positive attitude by any means necessary. Here are three quick ways to do that.
Be nice to yourself.
In the time leading up to the interview (and always, really), be kind to yourself. Cook yourself a nice meal. Get your nails done. Go to the movies. Take a nap. (My personal favorite!) Do whatever you need to do to make yourself relaxed. These sorts of activities serve to de-stress the body and mind, and put you in a better mental space to rock the interview. Pump yourself up when you do something good, no matter how small. If you make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up. Laugh about it. Keep things light and positive, and deflect the negativity and stress.
Acknowledge your situation.
Stress and anxiety become compounded and exacerbated when we don’t allow for them in our lives. When we try too hard to push through as if everything is fine, we make things worse. Instead of ignoring your situation, allow yourself to acknowledge it. If you find yourself feeling down about a rejection letter or an unsuccessful interview, sit with it for awhile. Let yourself grieve for an option that has been lost and reflect on what you could have done differently in that situation. Set a time limit for this, then take the steps to move on once the time is up. This simple activity will help you be able to close the loop on crappy experiences more quickly so that they don’t get you down in the long term.
Create some portable inspiration.
Inspirational quotes and phrases are helpful in maintaining sanity because they’re a quick and easy way to keep yourself going. Many of us have vision boards (or Pinterest boards) that are explicitly for this purpose, and if you don’t I encourage you to make one. You never know when you’ll need it! In addition to these static or virtual options, you should have ones that you can pull up at any time. When you find quotes that resonate with you, write them on a physical piece of paper. Keep the list in your purse or wallet and post the mantras around your house. Look at them whenever you need to!
To conclude the series…
Interviewing is tough and very subjective, but preparation is helpful in ensuring that you did everything you could to get the job. Now that you have the process down, keep at it! Get in the habit of assessing yourself and reflecting on what you’ve done. Stay in the know about companies and industries you’re interested in. Work on the practice questions with friends and family. Use the self-critique rubric to assess yourself and your progress. Be as polished as possible in your interview to remove any doubt in the interviewer’s mind that you are the right person for the job.
Remember: The interviewers already like you! Now go out and get hired.