The Subconscious Wins During a Job Interview | Jobs In MD

The Subconscious Wins During a Job Interview

By: Judi Perkins

Body Language

What your body language says is often more important than what you say verbally, especially when the two conflict. When in sync, your movements are a reflection of what you're thinking and what you're feeling: your conscious and your subconscious. But when they aren't, the subconscious prevails.

Why? Because while people will make themselves conscious of their words, few are conscious of their feelings and how that translates into body language - much less what that body language is saying. When you pair this with an interview, the result can be terrible, especially if you're sending the opposite message than what you intend to send.

Don't Internalize or Apologize

Being recently fired or laid off is a good example - especially when it takes place for reasons that have nothing to do with the individual. In other words, you did nothing to cause the severance, yet you feel responsible.

Since few job seekers know how to put a termination in perspective and handle it appropriately, it comes out in how they move and conduct themselves. Almost every action is an apology. You not only ask permission to sit, but you ask which chair. You either over-explain or under-answer.

Instead of speaking smoothly in a relaxed manner, your voice is too loud or can't be heard. You insert "um" or "ah" into your sentences. Even though you manage to articulate your accomplishments, everything about you screams insecurity.

The hiring authority becomes puzzled as to how you managed to achieve so much, when your manner isn't conducive to making things happen. It leaves him with a question about you. Hiring authorities don't like to be left with questions; they want to be 100 percent confident of who they hire. So, you're out of the picture.

This conflict also happens when someone doesn't have a degree, but has excelled in their career and frequently ends up competing with those who do; or when someone has been unemployed for a long time and really needs a job.

Look Within for Confidence

Many people want a list of body language cues to pay attention to, but that's like trying to learn several different interviewing styles and how to respond to each one. It's a waste of time. You'll spend so much time trying to remember what to do, and how and when to do it, that you won't be able to focus on selling yourself and learning if the company is compatible with you and your goals.

It starts with your head. If you don't feel confident, then stop thinking that you aren't. Here's how:

  • Find the reasons why you're an asset to a company
  • List your skills and contributions
  • Put together a sales pitch about yourself, and then take it to heart

Actions Mirror Thoughts, Thoughts Mirror Actions

When you're thinking confidently, you behave confidently and vice versa. At the same time, you can program one to follow the other. Pay attention to yourself, what you're feeling and what's going on around you. If you notice yourself shuffling in through the company door, pick your head up, put a smile on your face, and walk into the office as if you belong there, because you do. You have an interview, and they're expecting you.

An interview is a sales presentation. You're the product, and the hiring authority is the buyer. If you're communicating that you're not good enough to be hired, why would a company think differently?

Judi Perkins is the How-To Career Coach and was a recruiter for 22 years. She worked with hundreds of hiring authorities, set up/followed up on over 15,000 interviews, and consistently broke sales records by building relationships with clients and paying attention to details. Her insight into the hiring authority's mind has led to many of her clients finding jobs within 8 to 12 weeks because her focus and orientation is considerably different from that of other coaches. She's been on PBS's Frontline, SmartMoney magazine, CareerBuilder, MSN Careers, Hot Jobs, the New York Times, New York Daily News, and featured as an expert in numerous career books.