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
April 2013 (Edinburgh)
May 2013 (London)