Have you ever had that feeling you have left something behind or forgot to do something important before an interview?
Your outfit looks sharp. You are ready to present that engaging smile and firm handshake. There is no food or lipstick on your teeth according to your last selfie camera check. It’s nagging you though. What have you forgotten to do?
In my years of experience as a hiring manager, employment center supervisor, and an interview skills coach, I can bet you have not taken a few moments to remind yourself of your value.
And even if you have, it’s worth it every time to pause and do it again. Your self-talk has the power to relax your muscles, deepen your sense of confidence, and boost your first impression. Are you using it in a positive, consistent way?
As I often remind my clients, I’ve discovered career movement happens quicker when I pay more attention to my strengths instead of the naysayer in my head.
(That critical voice would have me feeling stuck, eating ice cream and Netflixing my favorite shows most of the time if I let it).
Are you not sure where to start with positive self-talk so it feels genuine or squeezed for time? Telling yourself these three itty-bitty but oh-so-powerful statements will do the job.
Putting yourself out there where you have to talk about your achievements may make you cringe. Maybe even want to throw-up. Or at least not feeling like your best self.
You might be thinking, who am I to be going for this opportunity?
You might begin to question if all this effort to get closer to work you enjoy is worth it.
It feels safe to stay where you are, although you know you could do better and want more satisfaction in your day to day.
It would be so easy to pull out of this opportunity. But you were selected to show up.
For this interview. In that hot seat.
Hundreds of other people most likely also put their application or resume forward. Many of them were NOT invited to share their value in person.
They chose you to sit in front of them and connect in a meaningful way.
Really, you belong.
This one can be a challenge at first. I can hear you instead telling yourself…..
“But others have more experience than me.”
“But maybe my degree is different than what they want.”
“But perhaps I had something happen that created a work gap on my resume.”
“But, but, but…..”
We can so quickly talk ourselves down instead of lift our spirits up. Often, our brain goes into overdrive because it is set up to protect us from big changes and taking risks. It’s time to park that default reaction that many of us have to high pressure, professional situations. Or at least put it in neutral.
It is of no help to you right now.
Your hard work, preparation, and time you put in to visualize your success are also there on the sidelines– but instead of closing down your confidence, they are cheering you on. Look closely at them and remember how far you have come.
What does that say on their banner they hold up proudly and are waving around like crazy so you can’t miss it this time? Oh, it reads: YOU ARE ENOUGH. (I think I even see some fun glitter on it. They really go all out for you.)
It is common for your mind to flip back and forth from doubt to confidence before your big moment. Suddenly all your flaws may feel like they are about to be under a microscope.
But in this moment before your job interview, remind yourself you belong in that chair. In this opportunity. In this spotlight.
Really, you are enough.
So your palms might be sweaty or maybe you can feel your armpits giving away your secret that you are nervous. But still, you got this.
Perhaps you notice other candidates walking by while you are waiting your turn to interview. And you see their proud smiles. They must have done a great job in there.
But still, you got this.
Maybe you start to remember a moment when you had an epic fail in front of a crowd when you tried to share your true voice. But still, you got this.
Trying too hard or not being yourself can send a red flag to employers or hiring managers. It often makes them think you are hiding something or not comfortable in your own skin.
Don’t let these normal reactions to being under big pressure steal the light of your show, but also don’t make things worse by only brushing them aside.
“Ignoring what is happening inside you only makes your first impression seem less genuine, less the real you.” –Shea Ki
Instead, allow yourself time to recognize and hold space for any feelings of self-doubt and memories of shame, vulnerability, or failure that an interview triggers. But then in the moments before your interview, imagine in your mind that you can see those heavy feelings or negative memories start to fade or shrink. (It helps me to picture them in colorful, hot air balloons drifting off into the distance.)
Those disempowering thoughts or memories might come back in strong force later, but their energy within you before your interview will be decreased. This instantly upgrades the first impression you offer because it allows space for your authentic self to shine through.
There is another simple but powerful trick I share when coaching clients for calming those nerves. First, acknowledge that you feel uneasy. Don’t try to mask it or worse, “fake it until you make it”. Instead, choose to change the channel in your mind of what is playing.
Tune into a time that you felt successful. See the details of that moment. Feel what it was like. Let your mind stay there for a few minutes. Notice how a feeling of empowerment starts to rise up. Sometimes at first it is small, but the spark is still there.
To deepen the effect, listen to this video of 22 Mindset Mantras To Upgrade Your Interview before it is your turn in the hot seat.
The benefits to your career will build as you figure out what feels best so your self-talk serves you well before an interview. Taking this step will help others believe the message of value you bring to their company, team, or project and excited to see more.
Really, you got this.