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Dr. Mac Powell Reveals How to Handle Job Interview Nerves

Try out these NLP exercises as soon as apprehension appears, and you can gain control of the negative thoughts and physical sensations that can impair performance.

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You want to make a good impression during job interviews, but interviewing for a job can be as debilitating a phobia as public speaking, spiders, and heights. Sweaty palms, shaking knees, and a dry throat are common anxiety symptoms that can signal your apprehension and spoil your chances of getting hired. A common set of techniques to overcome these jitters comes from the work of neuro-linguistic programming (NLP), and you can raise the odds of nailing your dream job by practicing some of the skills.

Keep Calm and Carry On:

While you might be nervous when you have an interview, the symptoms of anxiety can become information points rather than debilitating. Shallow breathing, increased heart rate, restlessness, and digestive issues are common symptoms of rising anxiety levels – and some of the best interviewers use these physiological manifestations to trigger techniques to combat the underlying beliefs driving the increased anxiety. “NLP can help you connect your thoughts and feelings to drive better emotional states,” shared Dr. Mac Powell.

If you think of your mind as a movie screen, you are constantly running through images, scenarios, and thought-patterns. When you begin to see images or scenarios that create anxiety or fear, that fear is often expressed physiologically. Your body is responding to the possibilities in your mind by producing stress chemicals that offer a physical boost that can increase focus and prepare you for fight-or-flight.

Once those physical stress reactions are triggered, it becomes even more critical to arrest the cycle and take back control of the images, scenarios, and thought-patterns. In other words: pay attention to your body. It may have as much or more to offer you as your perceived self-awareness.

If you want to arrest the process, play a positive scenario in your mind. Then, play it backwards. Slowly. Just like a movie in rewind. Notice details. Are the images colorful, large, and animated in your scenario? Zoom in and zoom out of pictures. Play the entire scenario forward again and pause it a couple of times. These kinds of NLP techniques help reinforce positive thought patterns and solidify their importance in your mind.

The Medicine of Moving:

I remember going to an audition with a student who was hoping to be selected for an important musical ensemble. All of the musicians had sequestered themselves to practice rooms or were sitting nervously to await their turn. One musician, however, was running! She’d go out into the parking lot and speed-walk or run until she got her breathing just right. Not too shallow and slow, not too forceful and fast. Guess who got the part: the girl running!

Regulate your body and monitor your breathing by staying in motion (or being at rest if you are overstimulated). As you do so, you can begin to align your breathing and arousal levels with the imagery and scenarios in your mind. Keep the scenarios positive. See yourself in the interview giving calm and thoughtful answers.

Prepare to succeed. See yourself as cheerful and confident, and imagine the interviewer reacting positively to your answers. “Make the pictures in your head colorful, big, and bright, and the nervousness will fade,” shared Dr. Mac Powell.

Try out these NLP exercises as soon as apprehension appears, and you can gain control of the negative thoughts and physical sensations that can impair performance. Don’t forget to use them in the waiting room before your job interview, and your confidence will increase as fear subsides.

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