In today’s fragile economy, some of you may be working diligently on getting yourselves hired. If you are, you are probably talking with a corporate recruiter/human resources manager like me whose job it is to help organizations determine who is the best fit for their vacant positions. We all know that interviewing is very stressful—right up there with having to give a speech. Too many candidates work themselves into a frenzy preparing and find it impossible to relax and enjoy the conversation as it unfolds. Instead, they panic and that feeling overwhelms the interview, the candidate leaves the interaction empty-handed, and the recruiter is disappointed.
As you ready yourself for your next big interview, I don’t want this to be you. To help you avoid this trap, I’m going to let you in on a trade secret. Contrary to what you may believe, most recruiters want you to ace your job interview. We want you to bring your A game and blow us away. The better you do, the easier our job is. The worse you do, the more candidates we have to interview before we can make a credible recommendation to our client’s leadership on whom to hire.
So in the interest of helping you help me, I want to offer you a practical tip that will improve the quality of your/my/our interviews.
Recently, Harvard Business School’s Amy Cuddy spoke to the TED network about body language. In the 20-minute talk, Cuddy, a well-known social psychologist, discussed her game-changing research on the impact your poses have on the way you view yourself—yes, the way YOU think about YOU, not just the way others think about you.
SPOILER ALERT! Your body language has a definite impact on your body’s levels of testosterone (good—boldness) and cortisol (bad—receptivity to stress). For example, a powerful pose like standing with your hands on your hips increases testosterone and decreases cortisol. This chemical reaction leaves you feeling on top of the world, which, in turn, translates favorably to your audience—whoever that might be and whoever you might be.
OK, I got it—you’re wondering what does this have to do with preparing for your interview. Well, if you’ve done all of your homework—read everything that’s been given to you and searched the web far and wide for every scrap of information about the company, the staff and your recruiter—you are ready, right? Well almost. Cuddy says, instead of huddling over your mobile phone trying to glean the last shred of intel on your prospective employer, you should be in the rest room practicing your best Wonder Woman/Superman imitation.
Who knew? Preparation is not just a matter of careful study; it’s also practicing a posture that brings out the best in yourself. Please take this suggestion all the way to the boardroom. I’m counting on you.
View HBS' Amy Cuddy’s TedTalk for yourself!