Nobody likes interviews, but they are inescapably a central part of modern life. A job interview is likely to trigger the "fight or flight" response in many people, causing a surge of adrenaline. The hormonal rush causes the heart to beat faster and the blood to rush from the brain to give energy to the muscles. These responses would have been useful to cavemen faced with stressful situations, but they are the last thing you need when you are required to sit in a room with strangers and make pleasant, intelligent conversation. To be a successful interviewee you must stay calm and focused under significant mental pressure.
Meditation is taking the corporate world by storm, with most successful companies, including the likes of Google and Apple, fully embracing it in their cultures. Luckily, meditation is available to anyone, and it could form a key part of your interview preparation. Here are some reasons why and some tips on how to start.
How Meditation Improves Performance at Interviews
There are many ways in which meditation can help you achieve your optimum level of performance at job interviews. Various studies have shown that those who meditate regularly are likely to have a greater ability to control their emotions in stressful situations. Somebody who has been meditating will find it easier to focus on what they need to do next, rather than dwelling on any mistakes they might have made, or what more may go wrong. Regular meditation in the run-up to an interview will almost certainly help with interview nerves. Meditation also increases the ability to tune in to the emotions of other people and adjust behavior accordingly and appropriately to the needs of the situation. This emotional intelligence is precisely what most interviewers are looking for in a candidate. Those with a high level of emotional intelligence will be better at fitting into a new working environment, as well as better at connecting with customers.
How to meditate
If you're new to meditation, you may benefit from using a guided meditation to start off with. You might try Breathworks who run an online course in stress reduction, or Headspace which allows you to download a variety of meditations onto your phone or tablet. For a spiritual approach to meditation try this link: how to meditate.
If you feel a sense of panic whilst waiting outside the interview room, try this quick technique. You won't even need to close your eyes. Start by acknowledging how you feel. Has your breath changed? Does your body feel tense? Are you starting to feel hotter or as though your heart is racing? Rather than ignoring those sensations, face them. Then start to focus your mind on just your breathing. Do not try to change your breath, simply focus on how it feels for the breath to move in and out. How does each breath differ from the last? Finally, expand your focus to how your whole body feels and how it is connected to the space in which you are sitting or standing. You should find that this technique helps. The more you practice the better you will get at controlling your stress levels.
Have you ever used meditation to calm pre-interview jitters? Please share your thoughts in the comments.