“In the know”: 3 Universal Truths for the young and ambitious

Universal truths that make a difference in interviews

We are all familiar with the surge of hate that rushes through us when our competitor gets the job. He is older but he has bad breath and he certainly isn’t that attractive. Yet he walks out of that small, interrogation-like room with that oh-so-annoying smug smile that just boils your blood. And then… there is astonishment. How? Must be experience. Not only has your self-esteem hit rock bottom and now probably resembles mouldy spaghetti but you’ve also just lost sight of your goal.

But sweat beads no more. This is not the end; there are powers that conquer even 10 years of experience; but sit back down please… they do not involve flying.

Unfortunately, and fortunately for some, interviews are not based on your outward appearance; I mean you may have the softest Prince Charming locks in the world but if you are honest with yourself, your potential boss probably doesn’t care. But hey, let’s nevertheless try to avoid any threats that a greasy mop instigates. So, if it’s not the state of your luscious locks then what is it that leaves you with that winning smug smile? Personality?

Well yes-ish. To be friendly is definitely important in the workforce but he probably hears cheesy compliments about his handsome jaw all the time. And it’s also really weird. Please don’t say that.

So, let’s cut to the chase and get on with our 3 vital truths:

1. Lead with body language. Body language is an extremely effective form of communication… and communicating confidence is just one of its crazy perks… yes, you read that right; confidence can also be achieved through physical means. In recent studies, it has actually been observed that engaging in a “power pose” or in other words, a pose that makes you feel confident, initiates an increase in Testosterone, a hormone associated with confidence boosts, and a decrease in Cortisol; a hormone associated with feelings of stress. With the new assertion of sureness as a result of Testosterone, your risk tolerance is heightened and thus you are left feeling strong and prepared – but it doesn’t stop there – you also become more optimistic. Who knew something as simple as an open posture could save your interview? Bad start? No problem. Open your stance and welcome success… oh, and a few extra hormones.

And what’s more? Body language communicates interest and engagement in conversation, enhances words, and suggests professionalism. Moral of the story – do yourself a favour and don’t resemble a sloppy noodle.

2. Redefine confidence. Be confident they say; we all know that it’s easier said than done. But something interesting happens if you change your perspective. Instead of “feeling confident” – let’s take a more pragmatic approach. Confidence, according to health psychology expert Alexandrina Dumitrescu, “has to do with beliefs about one’s general ability to handle situations and problems in the world”. In simpler words, confidence is whether you believe you can deal with tough circumstances. So if you take this definition and apply it to an interview situation; It becomes clear that your potential boss is trying to assess whether you are suitable for the job. So a display of confidence in the interview communicates the message that you believe you can handle the types of situations the job demands; This assures him/her of your capability and enables him/her to move forward from “are you competent” to “will you fit in with the team”

Makes sense, right? So, let’s put confidence into action: we will dive in to how you can “show” confidence. Confidence can be expressed through your ability to communicate well in tough situations (Come on, we all know your nerves are secretly off the charts – check out our A Student’s Guide to Taming your Nerves, apparent engagement in conversation, lots of eye contact and maintenance of appropriate voice projection.

3. Know your stuff, and bring a folder for it. Researching news and details about a company and your offered role is not just for your potential boss’ sake. Knowing your stuff beforehand gives an impression of readiness and seriousness; two critical factors that your employer will consider, particularly if you are up against people with history. Back this up by supplying a folder to keep everything organised. Organisation is an admirable trait, and one that your boss is probably looking for – after all, no one likes a ‘no-show’…

So Mr Joe in the know, or Miss Beatrix that knows my secrets - leave your boss impressed, your competitors envious and yourself triumphant. Say goodbye to that familiar feeling of hitting rock bottom and hello to undoubtful success. Like they say, age is just a number and… experience is less relevant than ever.

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