When I’m coaching, this is often one of the more contentious
obstacles to overcome in relation to interviews, and indeed life. 
Who is Responsible for How You Feel?
Who is responsible for how you feel in an interview – you, or the  panel? It is common to come out of an interview thinking “They made me feel really nervous”, or alternatively “They made me feel very comfortable”. If you are going through life allowing other people to make you feel things or push your buttons, then you are putting yourself in a fairly powerless position – who knows how someone might make you feel today?! 
Er…But…Wait a Minute!

Taking responsibility for your feelings can be a tricky concept to accept if you are a big believer in the ‘make me feel’ philosophy. After all we are conditioned to sign up to the idea  from a very young age – how many songs have that exact phrase in it – ‘you make me feel like a natural woman, ‘the way you make me feel’, ‘you are the one who makes me feel  so real’ – the list is endless.

However, what if you’d just won the lottery and walked into that interview, or just been proposed to by the love of your life – would the panel have been able to make you feel as
nervous, or as uncomfortable?  My hunch is no, therefore some, if not all, of the responsibility, and power lies  with you – great!
Make the Panel Feel Good!
Taking responsibility for how you feel can be extremely liberating, especially in an interview situation. I like to take things one step further than that. How about taking responsibility for how the panel are feeling. If you assume that, unlike you, they sign up to the make you feel philosophy, then think of the impact how you’re feeling and behaving can have on them. If you’re feeling nervous it might make them feel stressed, if you’re feeling comfortable and confident then it may well make them feel comfortable and  confident in your abilities. Challenge yourself to guide the feelings in the room. Once you do, you’ll find you’re far less concerned about how you’re feeling and are adopting a ‘host’ (as in hosting a party) mentality – flexibly adjusting your approach to best suit the people you’re with.

The Interview Heaven course (details below) that I am running monthly with a fantastic trainer, Angus, gives you plenty of tools for taking responsibility and importantly a forum in which to practice them. In the meantime here are some top tips. 

Top Tips for Taking Responsibility
- Mentally act as if you are ‘hosting’ the interview – you are responsible for making the panel feel happy and relaxed. This enables you to  focus externally rather than internally.  
- Identify your‘ hot-buttons’ in advance. These can be questions or facial expressions or gestures or anything that you think might throw you off course.     
- Diffuse your hot-buttons. This is worth doing with a coach, but if you don’t have time for that, make a plan for how to handle things if these questions/gestures etc. do come up so that you can be fully focussed on nailing the interview.

Canary Coaching are offering half price tickets (£65) to Interview Heaven in March. Just use promo code ‘CANARY’ when  booking.
For more information on the ‘Interview Heaven’ course see
Saturday  16th March 2013

Saturday  13th
April 2013 (Edinburgh)

Saturday  18th
May 2013 (London

At the moment I am co-running a monthly, one-day, interview course ('Interview Heaven') which gives candidates the tools they need to be at their best in an interview. 
As we know, the jobs market is extremely competitive and more often than not we’re up against people with the same qualifications and similar CVs. The thing that stands us apart then, and wins us the job, is our performance in the interview. It’s no wonder that candidates feel the pressure!
Unfortunately the ‘symptoms’ of putting this pressure on ourselves (the sweating, nervous rambling, mind going blank, or even just not being quite authentic) can be the things that lose us the job we know we can
In this series of blogs about interviews I’ll be covering the  most common areas of concern for interviewees. However there’s no substitute for  actually using these tips so it’s  worth doing the course if possible. 
One of the most common areas of concern is around answering  questions – sounds simple, but in the pressure of the interview it can sometimes  be more difficult than you might think. 

Here are three top tips for handling interview questions:

1. The Courage  to Clarify
Many interviewers haven’t  had a lot of time to  think about their questions before coming into the room.  They also may not  know exactly what they want out of a question, or they might  be using a  standard interview question that they’ve read off a sheet but aren’t  sure  what they’re after from it. If you are in any way unsure about what they   are after, be bold and ask – it’s much kinder to then then rambling on  about  something you think might be relevant !
 2. Listen to the Style of the Question
 In order to give the panel  what they want, it is a good idea to listen to the way in which they ask the  question and answer in the style  indicated.
There is a real difference between:
 A: Can you name three scenarios in which  you’ve had  to report figures to senior  management?
 B: Can you recall a  time when you handled  reporting to senior management well?
 C:  What are the most important things to  remember when reporting to senior management?

Whilst they are all about   reporting to senior management, the style each question is asked in gives you  a  big clue as to how to answer it. ‘A’ is most likely to want three  short  sentences with reference to figures. ‘B’ is most likely to want a  story or  experience with a bit more detail. ‘C’ is most likely to want a  high level  summary of what you find to be important. It may be worth  clarifying whether ‘C’  would like examples.

3.  Check
Be aware of the panel when  you’re answering the questions. Check for ‘buying signals’ like nodding and  smiling, and ‘stopping signals’ like fidgeting, interrupting and looking away. If you are aware of stopping signals come to the end of a sentence, and stop. 
If you are in any doubt as  to whether you have given them what they wanted, you can ask. Did that answer  your question or would it be helpful to add more detail/give facts and figures  etc.
Canary Coaching are offering half price tickets (£65) to Interview Heaven in March. Just use promo code ‘CANARY’ when  booking.
For more information on the ‘Interview Heaven’ course see
Saturday  16th March 2013 (London)
Saturday  13th April 2013 (Edinburgh)
Saturday  18th May 2013 (London)