Many of my clients have difficulty with interviews as they suffer from anxiety. Sometimes, a client will have a perfect resume that tells the story of a professional with three degrees and an employment history that includes decades of professional work – often including public speaking. Yet the thought of having to do an interview causes profuse sweating, shaky hands, and tongues that dry out to the consistency of shoe leather and clatter on the roofs or their mouths.
I try to deal with this by going some mock interviews, thinking that over time they will overcome the fear, ace the interview and get the job. I wish it were that simple.
“So tell me a little about yourself,” I’ll say, hoping they’ll tell me a little of their experience, their education and training, and maybe a little bit of what they do in their spare time.
“I hate that question,” they’ll say as they begin to sweat and hyperventilate, Once, a client who was perfectly calm when she came into my office, sprinted for the door when I asked the question. She called a few weeks later to reschedule a meeting.
“Should I come up with another interview question?” I asked.
“No,” she said. “I have that one under control now.”
Clearly, I needed to come up with a set of tools that a client can use to get rid of the anxiety before the interview. That way they can better compete in the market place.
I call the set of tools the Zen and the Art of f Interviewing. I use the following three steps to help them gain some control of their emotions.
1. Make them feel powerful.
Back in the ‘50s there was a television show staring George Reeves called “Superman.” At the beginning of the show, George would stand with his hands on his hips with his cape flowing behind him. I get my clients to do this before the mock interview when I ask the dreaded question. (Actually, I do this before I teach fitness classes. It keeps my knees from collapsing.)
2. Help them feel centred.
Learning breath control can help them relax before the interview. It’s something that they can practice during the interview, providing they don’t fall asleep.
3. Learn how to cheat at the interview.
Even people with profound anxiety can find success at interviewing if they can find a way to get someone else to do them. The trick is to do it without letting them know they’re doing it. They can assume the personality of someone they admire and answer the questions in a way they would imagine that person answering them. In 2011 I wrote a blog posting called (How to cheat at your interview that you can read at: http://mikebroderick.wordpress.com/2011/09/11/how-to-cheat-at-job-interviews/
Many of my clients have had success with this – except one who used me as a role model. “You really should get better control over your language,” she told me as we were writing a thank you note.
Mike Broderick , a one- time archaeologist, is a Vocational Rehabilitation Counsellor with the Fraser Health Authority in Port Coquitlam where he helps people with mental health disabilities find and keep full or part time employment .
He WAS the Employment Specialist for the Neil Squire Society in Burnaby where he found employment for people with physical disabilities, A Supported Employment Coordinator at THEO BC (now the Open Door Group), and a case manager at Community Fisheries Development Centre where he helped people move from the fishing industry to something else because there, “Aint no fish.” This means he is VERY familiar with how a modern day resume should look.
He is an active ambassador with the Vancouver Board of Trade and a member of the Labour Task Force of the Burnaby Board of Trade He does some work as a field Archaeologist, is a fitness instructor and frequent contributor of fitness humour articles to Alive Magazine. He is always saying, “If you can’t be fit, you can at least be funny.”
He lives in Port Coquitlam with his spouse Cecelia. You can reach him at home at email@example.com or at 604-464-4105. If you’re looking for a career change, he is the Spin Doctor and can give you a resume makeover at competitive rates.