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Friday, February 03, 2006


Reframe your interview approach

The emotional stress of a job interview is widely recognized. No matter how much self-confidence you try to project, the reality is that it is an occasion where you have little power and where you are being personally scrutinized and judged. It is awkward, uncomfortable, and anxiety-provoking.

Approach an interview bearing a mental tape that keeps repeating "I have to get this job . . . I have to present myself perfectly . . ." and the stress level rises to the point of immobility. You can't think clearly or creatively because of the panic gnawing at the back of your brain. You mumble, fall over your words, and forget what you intended to say because your nerves have overwhelmed your carefully prepared presentation.

If at all possible, approach your next interview as just one more opportunity for practice. Try to convince yourself that this is not the job of your dreams but an expenditure of time to allow you to watch yourself to learn for future interviews when you really want to receive an offer.

Look back at your own history and see how often you were offered positions you didn't really want and, conversely, failed to make the grade for jobs you found exciting and tempting. You may have assumed, as most of us do, that you weren't quite good enough for a prime job and were simply offered positions that no one else wanted.

Then consider whether the difference might have been how you presented yourself, often most effectively when your internal pressure to perform is less intense.

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