Interviewing: Challenge Yourself First To Convince Others

internal confusionThis morning I gave a presentation about interviewing. I am not going to write about dressing appropriately, showing up a few minutes early, having extra copies of your resume and doing your homework before you get there. There was a theme that came up throughout the presentation that I think would be more helpful to focus on.

I’m making an executive decision – it’s my article, I get to do that.

The theme was transition.

How do I transition into a different job/career/industry?
How do I transition from school to a new job?
How do I transition from a different career, earning a degree in what I want and getting there with no experience?
How do I transition from being a stay at home mom to back in the workforce?
How do I transition from being perceived as an older worker into a new position or industry?

Transition is a funny thing; it can be the most exciting thing in the world to you and scare the crap out of you all at the same time.

We want transition, we need transition, we long for transition and then when we get to the point of transition we stand on the edge of that cliff and say, “well….maybe I’ll go back to my safe place for a little while longer.”

Safe places are fine, but they are not always best for us, we outgrown safe places. We transition out of safe places without even trying.

Darn you, transition! Why must you be so cruel!

But wait, it gets worse! Now you have to try to convince someone else that you can do this transition, that you deserve it and can knock it out of the park.

Holy cow!

That worse fear of convincing someone else, dressing up and presenting in front of an audience about something that frightens us then leads us to shut down our brain a little bit. We forget to convince ourselves before we try to convince someone else.

This is where challenging yourself comes into play.

I give a lot of presentations on LinkedIn, personal branding, executive presence, team building, leadership – I am passionate about these topics, I love speaking about them and I thrive off the energy of the room. However, even though I speak often, if I do not prepare before a presentation, I will not give a quality presentation in my mind.

Interviewing is like that. We convince ourselves that we know we can do it and we can speak to it when we get into the interview; however, when that time comes, it does not flow naturally, evenly or convincingly.

Why? Because we haven’t convinced ourselves first.

I am a competitive person. If someone tells me I can’t do something, I find a way to do it. It is a driving factor for me. It would help me prepare for presentations and interviews.

I would sit down with the position requirements and description and create a mock interview right there in my bathroom. I used the bathroom because I had a mirror there that I could monitor my facial expressions and body language.

I would take each point and imagine someone on the other side of the mirror challenging me saying, “We need you to do this quality, skill or aspect in a job yet you either don’t have the experience or qualifications, what makes you think you can do it?” I also imagine them being very snotty when they say this, it helps in my mind.

Then I let it rip. I get myself started talking about skills I have used in previous jobs, how I used them, education, certifications, life experiences – anything that equates to the position in any way possible and make my argument. I get all riled up and get on a roll. I might even throw in a couple “oh hell no”s in there.

I also take notes. When I stop over-thinking something and let it flow, that is when the good ideas start coming to the surface. So I take notes and after I go through my rampage, I go back to my notes and start formulating a more business response based on the passionate argument that I just made.

I convince myself and in doing so I gain confidence and that is then expressed when I am asked a question in person.

Once you challenge yourself you can then convince yourself. Once you accomplish that, you can paint a very solid picture for anyone on how you can take where you have been and make it successful in where you want to go.

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