Friday, 19 December 2014
Following my review of Louis Efron's excellent book How to Find a Job, Career and Life You Love, the author has very kindly provided this article to help you to interview with confidence.
Originally published on Forbes.com January 23, 2013
Get That Job! Nine Ways To Interview With Confidence
by Louis Efron
We are born with complete confidence. My best proof is my 10-month-old daughter. Her walk is shaky, she constantly falls down and she can’t really communicate. Still, she never thinks twice about getting up again to try and navigate across a room and interact with others.
She is not special in these behaviors. All healthy babies do the same thing. They have not learned to lack confidence in their abilities, be nervous when addressing others, or be anxious when all the attention is on them. Most of us adults are not this lucky. We can remember past failures. We second-guess ourselves. And, unfortunately, our learned lack of self-confidence is harmful at the most important times in life, like interviewing for a job you want and need.
To make matters worse, research shows that, on average, interviewers reach final decisions about applicants in only four minutes after meeting them. In this time there is little more to evaluate than how you look and speak, how you carry yourself, and how you greeted the interviewer, all clear clues of your level of self-confidence.
Being confident from the moment you walk through the door will always give you a better chance of landing the job. The good news is that self-confidence can be generated and regained. Here’s how:
In Amy Cuddy’s video, Your BodyLanguage Shapes Who You Are, she asserts that not only does body language affect how others see you, but how we see ourselves. Her studies show that “power posing” – standing in a posture of confidence, even when you don’t feel confident – affects your brain’s testosterone and cortisol levels, and makes you feel more confident. Her research concludes that changing your body positions does influence how others see you and even alters your body chemistry.
Power Posing before an interview – or before any event where you are in need of a confidence boost – will greatly improve how you feel and appear to others.
The Confidence Mirror
In a Radford University publication, Behavioral Interviews: It’s Not What YouKnow, It’s What You Did, confidence is strongly correlated to attractiveness. Multiple studies also conclude that “attractive” job candidates get more offers and make more money. Making yourself attractive during an interview with a comfortably firm handshake, direct eye contact, good posture, relaxed but passionate communication style, and a genuine smile will give you an edge over other candidates.
You can naturally adjust your body for confidence by asking, “If I was really interested in what my interviewer was saying, how would I sit?” You will be surprised how often you need to readjust your body and how much more confident you feel afterwards.
As a theatre director, I used a technique called Affective Memory to help my actors connect with their characters and generate a consistent, real and confident performance. This process is a central part of Method Acting, a system pioneered by the late Russian theatre director and actor, Constantin Stanislavski, which requires actors to call on personal memory details from a similar situation to those of their characters. Used with positive personal experiences, this same technique can be effectively applied to rehearsals for job interviews, especially when rehearsing for the critical first four minutes.
Close your eyes. Recall and experience a time you gave a firm and confident handshake. See the eyes and face of a friendly and kind person you know or interviewed with before. Hear their reassuring words. Feel the energy of a positive and successful interview, meeting, or exchange you had in the past. Pay attention to what your posture, breathing, and heartbeat were like. Rehearse and experience this interview in your head, heart, and hands – live it.
Done completely, this exercise will give you confidence for your upcoming interview by connecting it to positive and successful experiences you have already had in your life. You will no longer be walking into an unknown and perhaps scary circumstance, but one you have successfully already experienced. In fact, if done correctly, your mind will not be able to distinguish the difference between the two.
As you grow in your career, knowledge, and expertise and have more successes in life, you will naturally become more confident when interviewing. Experience and confidence usually go hand in hand.
If you are early in your career or short on the experience, knowledge, or successes you need to feel fully confident for the job you are interviewing for, seek assistance from relevant books, the web, training courses, and a mentor. Good resources and a commitment to study will give you all the confidence you need.
Exercise & Dress
Staying fit and dressing appropriately for interviews are helpful practices. Both will give you more confidence and regular exercise always provides you more energy and makes you feel better about yourself.
Focus On The Positives
We tend to focus our energies on the negative things that happen to us. Despite buckets full of positive experiences, it only takes one or two nasty comments to knock someone off their horse. In fact, meanness is at the root of all confidence issues. Being laughed at when you make a mistake, being harshly rejected by someone you like, or being taunted on a schoolyard all play a part in a person’s self-confidence. To overcome negative experiences in life, focus on positive ones. Most people can count only a few really bad experiences in life, while positive ones are abundant.
Even better, extend this positivity to others. Dr.Maya Angelou once said, “At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel.” We have the ability to give the gift of confidence to everyone we meet by being constructive and kind in all our interactions. I encourage you to be a champion of confidence for others. It not only feels good and helps others, but gives you greater confidence as well.
Rewrite Your Self Talk
What are your low confidence triggers when interviewing (e.g., entering the building, shaking hands with your interviewer, sitting down to start the interview, starting to speak, answering questions)? Write them down now. Then write down what you say to yourself when these events occur and how it makes you feel. Cross out any negative “self-talk” and re-write the statements in a positive and assertive manner – a way that makes you feel confident and good about yourself when you read and say them. Turn, “I will never get this job” into “I am the best person for this job. This company needs me.”
Dr. Wayne Dyer, the renowned self-help guru advises, “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” And there lies the secret to how you reverse the impact of low confidence triggers in your life.
By re-writing your self-talk, you will change the way you feel and how you behave. Negative self-talk will generate low self-confidence and self-esteem issues while positive self-talk produces the opposite effect. Practice positive self-talk throughout your life and your confidence levels will soar.
The key to confidence when interviewing is coming prepared and staying present, connected and fully engaged in the process and what you need to convey about yourself. Connect with your interviewer by providing helpful answers to questions and being actively interested in what they have to say. The more focused you are on what you trying to accomplish; the less room insecurities, nervousness, and self-doubt will have to creep in.
For additional help and guidance, my new book How to Find a Job, Career and Life You Love (Second Edition) now available on Amazon.com and other major on-line retailers. Also, check out my companion recording, Surrender to Your Purpose – a 30-minute guided audio journey of deep relaxation to help unleash life’s purpose and build confidence - available now on Amazon.com and iTunes. This recording will help further your journey towards a life of purpose, fulfillment and more happiness than you ever imagined possible. For more information about me, please visit my website at LouisEfron.com.
Friday, 12 December 2014
I am pleased to welcome to this blog an article from Alfred Ajani (@fr3dsantana). He came to notoriety a few months ago after adopting a creative approach for seeking graduate employment which landed him a job with Asoria Take it away Fred.....
After unsuccessfully applying for over 300 jobs I decided to take matters into my own hands and get myself the role I wanted, which is what Asoria offered. I am now Marketing, PR and Project manager for four recruitment brands; Green, Energy, Digital and Property.
“What pushed me to go to Waterloo station?” many asked, “I was desperate” many say. I tell them I was ready to work and take my ideas to market. My main idea is self-promotion, what are you doing to stand out? With traditional methods of applying I would be waiting for a response for at least two weeks, sometimes even no response or and automated message stating unfortunately I do not have enough experience.
Similar to my situation the directors at the Asoria Group shared an identical struggle to land the dream job after three tough years at university, which is noticeable in their internal recruitment process, of hiring young hungry graduates ready to take the first step. Way back when getting a degree and a role in your desired industry went hand in hand, I could ramble on but we know those days are over, as it was way before the time my company directors graduated. Hopefully those days will make a swift return, with the help of a middle man. So I will tell you why I took on a marketing role at a recruitment agency.
I have the freedom to give advice to many who seek it, I will be giving guest lectures at Universities on topics such as social media and how to go viral, perseverance and how to get your foot on the career ladder without sending your CV (A video CV might do the trick though). It’s not your top 10 interviews tips but advice that will really make you stand out, I will call it ‘Guerrilla Interviewing’. I have had my fair share of interviews and know how daunting of a process it can be. It is also tempting to throw down a million CV’s from the tallest building and hope someone catches it and gives you a call after endless rejections. But I had good people around me giving positive advice and I knew the right role will come along for me soon enough where I can have a real impact on an industry. Change won’t come over night, but it is something I am working towards. Many may not see it now but when I look back, I’ll know.
It took me all day to find some inspiration, so I took a tour around the seventh floor and thought back to the times where my imagination was at is most creative point. It was at school when it was drilled into us that only going to University would land us a career, and we were constantly quizzed on what we want to be when we grow up. “Alive!!!” was the response most of my friends made. Should they have been putting so much pressure on us to be the next Tony Blair or Angelina Jolie? But if you do go down the marketing route like me do not limit yourself to social media marketing activities as they are easily ignored by others. The Asoria Group will be engaging in unexpected and noteworthy campaigns and our ideas will spread. ‘Safe is risky.’ I am very equipped and willing to do what it takes to see The Asoria Group move forward in the right direction, starting out at a new company is not a problem; you can grow with them.
Remember it’s a new day, employers are on Social Media too and use it as a point of reference, use it wisely.
Tuesday, 9 December 2014
When I was first asked to review Louis Efron’s new book, How to Find a Job, Career and Life You Love, I must admit to feeling a touch reticent. I’ve always been a little bit suspicious about self-help books, much as I’m sceptical about the next great dieting fad; it will probably be too good to be true and you’ll get nowhere fast. However, upon receipt of the book my opinion quickly changed within the first few pages.
Once you get past the inevitable ‘I've had a great career, you can too’ introduction (and for the record, Louis has had a very interesting career which has taken him in a variety of different directions), what you are presented with is 35 concise chapters each with their own thought provoking exercises which help the reader to deliberate on where they’re at, where they want to be and how to get there.
It is not a book designed to produce a quick fix. Indeed Efron invites the reader to take the book one chapter at a time, think about their responses from the questions posed in each chapter and then sleep on it. I had envisaged delivering a very authentic review based on my own personal responses to each chapter, but if I’d stuck to that original intention I would probably have talked myself out of my current employment after just the first three chapters. Probably not the wisest move to make on a public blog!
"There is nothing more fulfilling or emotionally charging for me than watching others win" - Amen to thaT #LouisEfron
— ThePlacementOfficer (@PlacementBlog) November 24, 2014
The strength of this book lies in its simplicity. The reader is challenged to think for themselves in bite-sized chunks. You are not expected to find resolution within a couple of hours, but over a considered period of time. It doesn't pretend to make decisions for you, but provides the sort of questions and pointers that anybody serious about career change, or seeking greater fulfillment needs to consider before taking action, not least the issue of money; there may be idealistic jobs out there, but if you’re left out of pocket how will that affect your work/life balance?
"Don't postpone your life waiting for the right time to live. That time may never come." #LouisEfron
— ThePlacementOfficer (@PlacementBlog) November 24, 2014
Efron’s writing style is easy to digest, alluding to aspects of his own experience. For less than a tenner, this book is a sound investment, either for yourself or as a stocking-filler for a friend or loved one who you know could do with a little support with their career path.
Get yours today from Amazon or other good book retailers.
Students can sign up for a free 6 month trial of Amazon Student here
Students can sign up for a free 6 month trial of Amazon Student here