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Visualising your way to interview success

By Ciaran Wrynne, Head of Practice, Hays Career Transition Services

In the run up to an interview for a job you really want it’s easy to be overwhelmed by nerves. Interviews can be very stressful events and it is not uncommon for images to flash through your mind that fill you with anxiety. These might be memories of previous unsuccessful interviews, an aggressive interviewer who puts you under extreme pressure or a visual of yourself stumbling over your words or becoming tongue-tied.

How do these images affect us?

They are likely to negatively impact on the key factors that influence performance, inciting an anxious response and impacting your physiology by increasing your heart rate or causing you to perspire. This can lead to feelings of insecurity and depreciating chains of thought, which in turn may impact performance by causing you to pace up and down beforehand or forget carefully thought out preparation.

So how do we combat this common tendency?

Rather than becoming overwhelmed with unhelpful imagery, having control over what takes place in your mind’s eye can be turned to your advantage. Hays Career Transition Services has coached thousands of people during periods of redeployment and incidences of redundancy, and one approach found to be consistently helpful when interviewing is an imagery technique based on the ideas of leading psychology professors Stephen Palmer and Gary Cooper.

This simple approach has 5 steps:

1. Identify the challenging situation (for example the interview)

2. Note down the aspects of the interview you anticipate will be challenging

3. Reflect on how you will surmount these difficulties and perform more effectively

4. Visualise yourself in the interview using these coping styles and performing well

5. Repeat this whenever you feel anxious in the run up to the day

Unsure whether this approach will work for you? Try it in other walks of life even if you don’t have an interview coming up.

Hays Career Transitions utilise approaches like the ones above to work with people undergoing career change at a transformative level, with feedback on their effectiveness being consistently high since the launch of the service.

For more information read about Hays Career Transition Services.

About this author

Ciaran is an Accredited Executive Coach, Coaching Supervisor and a Chartered Member of the CIPD. He established Hays Career Transition back in 2009 following a successful initial career in recruitment with Hays. He uses a range of solution focused and cognitive behavioural approaches in his consultations with clients to help them navigate career change.

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