10 Minutes before the Interview

by Sarah Roark Schott, former Head Editor, INALJ Arizona
previously published 7/22/13 & 8/18/14

10 Minutes before the Interview

SarahRoarkSchottINALJI recently had the best interview. Seriously, the best interview! I’m not just saying that because during my last interview there was a crying baby. No, this time I felt super comfortable with myself and the people I met. I had such a great time that I knew I wanted to share with you guys how I prepared for it.

The week before I knew I had the interview I did the usual: I researched the facility and interviewing panel participants, I brainstormed interview questions and responses with my partner, I prepared my portfolio, and I picked out an interview outfit. The night before the interview I got a good night’s rest after reading through all of my notes one last time, and brain drained in front of an episode of International House Hunters. That night I put everything in my portfolio determined to leave it in there until the interview began.

The next morning I woke up 3 hours before the interview. I took my time getting ready, and then I drove to the interview location giving myself plenty of time. I got to the place without a hitch, but this is always the most nervous time for me. You know, that time when you are about 15-20 minutes early, but you know there will not be an ideal area for you to wait for the interview, so you have to do your waiting in the car until 6-10 minutes before the interview starts.  Usually I spend that time looking over my notes one last time. NOT THIS TIME. This time I kept everything in the portfolio, turned up the Justin Timberlake a little bit louder, and put my arms up over my head and lightly pumped my fists for about two minutes. This is called a “power pose”! Have any of you watched the Ted Talk with Amy Cuddy titled ‘Your body language shapes who you are’? If you haven’t seen it yet, watch it! I got some great tips from that episode, but the one that influenced me the most was the idea of raising your arms to feel more powerful and confident.

Here is the link: http://www.ted.com/talks/amy_cuddy_your_body_language_shapes_who_you_are.html

This is what I looked like in the car:

After sitting in the car with my arms raised for a couple of minutes my “I need to pee” sensation was gone, and I was ready to meet my interviewers. (Oh yeah, Justin Timberlake probably also helped.) I’m not sure if this pose will help trick everyone’s mind into exuding confidence, but it worked for me. My interview turned into a friendly conversation, not a scary grill-fest. I felt ready for every question I was asked, and I did not have the usual brain freezes I usually experience in tests and interviews. Who knows if I will get the job, but I am definitely going to continue power posing in the car before future interviews!

What do you guys usually do in the few minutes before your interviews? Sing? Pray? Jog in place?

  10 comments for “10 Minutes before the Interview

  1. Kari
    October 1, 2015 at 5:44 pm

    I had a similar experience with my last interview. I usually go to interviews on my own, but this last interview was nearly an hour away and my husband was dying to check out the town so he tagged along. On the car ride down there, we spent the time talking about different things, including how great this interview was going to go. We arrived about an hour early for the interview (thank you good traffic!) and spent the time driving around the town, walking around Walmart laughing (I realized the only pair of tights in my closet had a huge run in them so I had to grab a new pair) and then laughing as I attempted to put tights on in the front seat of my car and eventually had to waddle into a gas station bathroom to put them on.

    I didn’t get the job, but I was their 2nd choice which is not as great as getting the job, but was an amazing compliment seeing as the job was for a position that I felt highly under-qualified for when I applied and was simply ecstatic to even get the interview. I highly recommend taking a few minutes (or an hour) to decompress before you walking, it was much more productive than the usual frantic review session that I normally do just before walking into the building!

  2. Mary
    September 30, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    This article is exactly the same experience I had before my last interview (spolier alert :) I got the job). I prepare almost identically but the night before my last interview I heard of Cuddy’s talk. I watched it that night, did the poses in the bathroom before walking in, and didn’t cram any prep. Surprise, I gave my best interview and got the job. Since then my boss has told me that it was the best interview she ever saw too. Cuddy’s advice is indispensible.

  3. LMS
    August 18, 2014 at 3:34 pm

    I like the idea of a portfolio, something I also do based on my daughter’s experience as a graphic designer. Having some of you work in print form helps remind you of your accomplishments and helps if you blank out.

  4. Maria
    August 18, 2014 at 1:06 pm

    Oh I could have really used this last Friday; fairly certain I blew a very important interview because of nerves. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Sara Stilley
    August 18, 2014 at 11:27 am

    mmm – if I ever get the interview stage I will totally remember this…well I have had one professional interview and I was 2 hours early, wandering around the library like a well dressed stalker…I was so nervous I couldn’t even sit down….I think I need to look at that TED talk…I loved the drawing BTW…made me smile!!! Great advice – short, sweet and funny….just what we frustrated people need…write more!

  6. August 18, 2014 at 11:12 am

    This worked for me too, only I stood in a bathroom stall with my arms stretched out, instead of sitting in the car. Felt awkward at first, but seemed to help! I got the job!

  7. April 27, 2014 at 10:50 pm

    I saw Amy Cuddy speak at PLA this year and she was definitely very inspiring! I have an interview this week and I will get pumped up before hand with some power poses!

  8. Sara
    July 22, 2013 at 11:54 am

    Important interview tomorrow with a loads of stress in the personal arena we call life. Thanks for this! Will definitely be trying tomorrow at 9:30 :-)

    • Sarah
      July 22, 2013 at 6:48 pm

      Good luck, Sara! I hope the power pose helps! :)

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