You were ecstatic when you got the phone call, but that initial euphoria seems like a lifetime ago. You are now sitting in a waiting area where your nerves, rising like a tidal wave, are threatening to sabotage the moment. Your heart is racing, your palms are sweating, and your foot is oscillating like a hummingbird’s wing as it bounces back and forth against the carpet.
It doesn’t have to be this way. While butterflies are typical before an interview, there are several strategies you can utilize to minimize nervousness and maximize positive energy.
“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.” – Arthur Ashe
While many people view interviews as high-stakes experiences, look at it through a different lens – it’s an incredible opportunity to showcase your skills. To do this, you need to reframe anxiety as excitement. It may seem trivial, but this mindset shift, known as anxiety reappraisal, produces tangible results.
You must also believe you are capable of performing well, and to do this, preparation is required. Top athletes do not merely show up and hope for the best. They prepare mentally, physically and emotionally to deliver a top performance. You need to do the same. Make a list of probable questions and rehearse your answers. Record yourself and note your demeanor, tone, clarity, and confidence in delivering these answers. Have friends and family interview you as well. Of course, you will receive unanticipated questions, but your training will help reduce your overall stress.
Review your social media before applying for your dream job. If it does not reflect the life of a professional educator, then you need to clean it up now! Every day in our great country, a promising young professional misses out on a job because of their digital footprint. You have a right to post what you want, but schools also have a right not to hire you if your social media reflects the life of someone who seems unreliable, crass, and irresponsible.
You should also perform a Google search on yourself and review your state’s court/case history website. Most schools will review this information, and you need to ensure what they discover is favorable.
Dress for Success
Schools know you have been subsisting on ramen noodles for the past four years. Nevertheless, what you wear to the interview is important. Nice interview attire communicates that you believe the job is important and you are ready to take the next step as an emerging young professional.
I know spending money you don’t have seems counterintuitive, but think of it as an investment. A $300-$400 outfit can help you land a $40,000 a year job.
Apply to Multiple Schools
Most likely, you have circled one or two schools as your dream destinations. While this is understandable, you should also expand your options and apply to many other districts. Remember, your goal is to get a job and begin your professional career. You may not receive your dream job right out of college, but you might land the job you need. Over the past few years, I have been shocked by the number of students who only apply to a few districts.
Keep an open mind when applying to schools and view them as opportunities to begin your professional career. You are not settling; you are embracing an opportunity to improve your professional practice and help some great kids in the process.
“To be yourself is all that you can do.”- Audioslave
It is tempting to say what people want to hear, but you need to ensure your unique voice is present during the interview. You will never be your best pretending to be someone else, and while adjusting your persona can help you land a job, it is also a mistake. You don’t want a job where your personality, values, and talents are a poor fit. Be yourself to ensure that your future employer can fully utilize the attributes that make you unique.
Embracing your identity and voice will allow you to enter the interview with confidence. You are not pretending to be someone else; you are happy with who you are and what you represent. Remember, the stage is not too big for you. Your hard work has earned you this opportunity. Embrace it and enjoy the moment.