7 Interview Tips. Or, I am not a piece of paper.

March 05, 2021 Emma L

From 10 years of preparing young people for competitive interviews and doing rounds of auditions myself, here are some tools and gems for all.

Open Doors with these 7 Interview Tips. Or, I am not a piece of paper.

1. Dropping stress. Stressful thinking is a sure-fire block to success and most importantly to your ability to express yourself confidently and articulately. Often someone can go into flight, fight or freeze response in the event of the interview. Re-framing in advance can demystify the process and allow the athlete "zone" or natural "flow" to lead.  Protect your sleep and see the attitudinal adjustments below. 

2. Re-claiming power. As long as the student or interviewee is objectified into an achieving performing seal and the school/employer made into an ogre or mecca - it's a losing game. Most do not intend for this to be the case but the set up can encourage such positioning. Re-dressing the power balance can ensure a collaborative win-win outcome.  The classic anchor is to remember these people poo (!). However, affirmations such as "I am equal to the opportunity in front of me" or "I am capable of great things" can help right-size the power dynamics as well as remembering you have choices. 

3. An opportunity to learn and build your reputation. Over-arching lessons about time discipline, communication and working towards goals can be gleaned along the way - it is about the interview and it isn't about the interview. This time can be an investment for the long-term future not only end-gaming the next few months. As they say in the acting industry, "audition for your career, not the job". 

4.  Appropriate chemistry and action plan.  Is there an opportunity to nurture and develop individual talents and skills? No point fitting a square peg into a round hole. Develop a specific action plan about how you can contribute your strengths and participate in their development. What talents could you bring to bear? Make a list of what you intend to offer the school/organisation as well as what you would ideally like to receive in return. 

5. Ditch the fake corporate body language. Training young people (and by young you know I mean even as young as 7!) to be mini execs with body-language-by-numbers just won't cut it in my humble opinion. Neither does it read true for adults. Yes, some essentials like eye contact are helpful but human beings are trust-barometers and the superficial shapes can obscure the uniqueness of the candidate.

6. Reverse Role-Play. Rehearse the interview as the interviewer - see what's like to be in their shoes. This prepares a connection with the interviewer, creates a sense of playful adventure and highlights the need to move away from a stagnant question/answer dynamic and explore the art of conversation.

7. Practise. Plan. Prepare. And bonus P - Presence. The 3 P's are a dependable set of guiding principles but Presence gives you edge. Presence in this case meaning being present and available to spontaneous and irreverent conversation as well as influencing the atmosphere of the room - commanding the kind of attention an actor has on stage. People don't remember credentials they remember how they felt in your presence.  


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