Zen and the Art of Interviewing Pt 2 – Insecurity is for the Birds!

In my last post I discussed how confidence is a critical ingredient in being successful in an interview. I also mentioned how useless this “insight” may seem to those of you who are suffering from a bout of insecurity about your job prospects.   Well I wanted to write a little “how to” for those of you looking to have greater success on interviews by improving your confidence.

The first thing to recognize is that everyone (and I mean everyone) suffers from insecurity.  Really.  I mention this because earlier in my career I was hamstrung by moments of anxiety and was completely convinced that I was the only one who was affected by this. I was at a party and I saw some hipster who (I thought) was much smarter, better looking, cooler etc., have a visible moment of social angst.  My world changed in that moment.  Looking back it sounds stupid, but until then I really thought I was the only one to harbor self doubt.  But it occurred to me that if this guy was feeling insecure, then there must be more people who go through this, right?  It was such a relief to know that this was not a personal cross to bear but rather just a part of the human experience.

So take some comfort in knowing that your moments of insecurity are shared with everyone – even the person who is interviewing you.  The really popular guy in high school? Him too.  The really scary bouncer at the club door? Yep.  Everyone.

The next step is to begin to be conscious of your internal dialogue and what it is prompting you feel insecure. If you don’t know what your internal dialogue is, it is the voice in your head that is saying “what’s my internal dialogue?”  Now empowering this dialogue is a key factor in self esteem and becoming conscious of this dialogue is a key part in overcoming self confidence issues.   So the first step in keeping your internal dialogue from messing up your mojo is simply becoming aware of it.  To do this, spend the next few days listening to yourself think and notice when your internal dialogue says something contrary to your understanding of yourself.  If you are anything like me it will happen quite frequently.

Now, many of you might argue that your internal dialogue is actually you.  It’s not.  Want proof?  Try controlling your internal dialogue – you can’t.  It will say what it says whether you want it to or not. But by being aware of your internal dialogue you will begin to make choices about whether or not you want to empower what it is saying.  For example – you are interviewing with someone and after you finish with an answer the interviewer furrows his brow.  Your internal dialogue says “Oops, wrong answer – you screwed that one up!”  If you are aware of your internal dialogue you can choose to empower that explanation or choose a powerful one that empowers you.  One like “He is baffled by the brilliance of my answer and needs to ponder my vast intelligence by furrowing his brow.”

After a while of paying attention to your internal dialogue you might begin to understand that you have another sense of self that is much stronger than the fickle shifts of your internal dialogue.  Empowering that part of you is where true confidence lies.

Another tactic that will positively impact your confidence is to focus on your success in life.  We humans tend to focus on the negative – and you know how that ends up.  So before an interview look at what you know about that job and take some time to get clear of instances from your personal history where you did great work on similar projects.  Keep your focus on those accomplishments and know that you are capable of doing so again.  Let that momentum carry you into the interview.

Another helpful tactic is to focus on what you like about the person with whom you are meeting.  If I keep focusing on someone’s great head of hair I can crowd out negative internal chatter.

Finally, give yourself a little space and freedom.  People have written countless volumes about this very subject so don’t expect yourself to tackle all this at once.  But know that just by asking these questions you will start to improve your confidence.

Hope this was helpful in finding a job you love.

Until next time,

Peter Laughter


Wall Street Services

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