Everyone’s nervous before a job interview, but there are plenty of ways you can amp yourself up and shake off the jitters. Of course you need to do your research on the company, and practise answers to the most common interview questions. The more you prepare, the more confident you’ll feel. In addition, I like to listen to my running playlist before any type of situation in which I’m likely to be nervous but need to impress. You probably have your own tricks, too.
But, according to a study from New York University and Columbia University, you should take that hyping a step further, and brag about yourself before you head in to see the hiring manager.
This goes beyond psyching yourself up in the mirror. The study found that participants who wrote two paragraphs about their aspirations and ambitions before completing a task were considered more influential by other study participants than those who wrote about duties and obligations that they had to fulfil or simply about their commute to campus that day.
In another experiment, participants were asked to describe a situation in which they had power over other people, while a different group was asked to remember when someone had power over them. Two days after this, the participants were brought back together for an altogether different task, and their “status” within the group was measured. Though it had been a few days, those who had initially described a situation in which they had power were described as “higher status” and more proactive than those in the other group.
While the experiments were performed in the context of group work, the takeaways are translatable to interviews, as well. The primary focus of the study is how we’re perceived initially, and how that changes. Interviews are all about first impressions. So if you’ve done your interview prep, hyping yourself up to seem more proactive and influential will be easy.
You’ve likely written down or at least thought about why you deserve the job you’re applying for, and what you’re qualifications are. Instead of keeping them in a mental checklist, write them down in paragraph form the morning of your interview. When have you been the leader? Write about it (this will be even easier if you’ve kept a list of your work accomplishments, as we’ve suggested in the past) and then read it to back to yourself, out loud. Then blast some pump-up music and get ready to rock your interview.