Usually for those of you who are out there looking for a job or maybe unhappy at the workplace, Mondays are very challenging days. Sometimes you don't want to go back to the workplace or, nowadays that a lot of people are working remotely, you just don't want to get back to the screen.
It is scientifically-proven (1) that your happiness perception rises 15% during the weekend and goes downhill on Monday because you will go back to a job you don’t enjoy. Let’s be even more honest here, you don't actually want to get back to the boss, right?
I know exactly the panic of finishing a wonderful weekend and start thinking about going back to work on the next day. The terrible sensation of frustration and the fear of losing the important financial income offset any courage to change. I guarantee you there is light at the end of this unhappiness tunnel!
If you’re reading this, it’s maybe because you either have an upcoming job interview or want to catch up with what is happening in the job market right now.
The Interview Preparation theme came up exactly because I realized that when I post about interviews, usually people get more interested and ask me more about how to perform well and what are the main questions that the recruiters and hiring managers are asking around.
In order to maximize your time, I’ve created a 3-step framework which will allow you to organize yourself - both mind and body - to start your interview preparation.
So let's talk a little bit about anxiety. I'm an expert in anxiety because I'm very anxious myself just like 3.8% of the world population (2). First thing first: breathe! Yes, you have to breathe! Use your lungs and take very deep breaths. This is physiological, breathing triggers some chemical reactions related to hormones in your body. Breathing deeply will calm your body down (3). When you breathe deeply, you just calm yourself. Calm down your body and your mind will follow your lead. It's simple.
Let’s assume you got a job interview and then you start thinking “Oh my God, this is the job of my dreams!” or “I don't know if i'm prepared, I don't know what to say!”. You may also start traveling inside your mind thinking about the future: “Oh what I'm going to do with my kids?” or, if you don’t have kids: “Oh my God, should I move to another city?”. The next step is to start googling for apartment rentals, school prices and restaurants.
If you’ve been doing any of that, I have to say: STOP IT! My first advice regards how to beat anxiety when you have a job interview. Trust me, it's simple and it works.
If you get a screening call, not actually an interview, and just start cracking up, you may be nervous and talking too fast. This is the point when you should realize you are either not breathing or too accelerated. Take the lead, breathe a little bit and calm down, your breath will set the pace of your speech and you will be speaking slower.
As you know, I live in Italy and last year I was looking for a job as a Financial Controller. My Italian was not perfect and it still is not even now, but I was applying for many Italian companies. I was getting screening calls from Italian recruiters and I would be extremely anxious at those calls. I would just talk very fast and make a lot of grammar mistakes. At some point of that conversation, I realized all the mess and asked the recruiter: “okay, I don't know if you can understand my Italian, can we switch to English?”. I was nervous, anxious and I had to work on that because I realized that was not normal, that was not me. It was misguiding the recruiter and the headhunter with massive misinformation at speed. That was terrible and we don't want you to go through that.
The key to succed is to breath and to speak slowly. It will shift your state from extreme anxiety or stress to a centered and calmer one and it will help you.
Start the preparation immediately after you get the interview notice. The best performance you can achieve on a job interview is by changing roles with the interviewer. You can do that if you are genuinely curious and know facts about the company - not gossip. The secret is research.
I use 3 pillars for researching about companies:
1. DIGITAL FOOTPRINT. Discover yours, your interviewer and the company’s digital presence. Use Google, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Quota and Reddit. Nowadays with LinkedIn you can actually look for whoever in companies and try to search for the positions, the names and then you can gain impressions of what is coming.
2. COMPANY VALUES. Visit the company website and seek their official information. If it’s a listed company, look for the annual report and info on Seeking Alpha. Highlight the key drivers and indicators of your position.
When visiting their website to look for their values, you're going to find very strong action verbs. They are the core drivers of the company, their purpose. The key is to start using those values in your speech.
3. COMPANY CULTURE. Jump into your network and get information from connections. One thing is what the companies envision as their values and mission. Another one is their culture. It's just like us, we all have a set of values, a set of things that we believe in. But it's our behavior that drives our actions. It is the same for companies.
The company culture will be the collection of behaviors from all stakeholders - employees, clients, suppliers, shareholders, etc. Bear in mind that the more you know about the company’s culture, the higher your chances to make questions are. This is a wise way to demonstrate interest. Many recruiters and hiring managers love to talk about their employers.
Those three pillars of research, in my opinion, are fundamental for any interview preparation. When I'm working with clients I do that myself first, before moving to the simulation.
I hope you have enjoyed the reading and if you want to learn more about this topic, hit the “subscribe” button on YouTube (4) and be informed of the next Live Mondays session. Let’s put some colors on your Mondays! Live Mondays is weekly broadcasted on Instagram and YouTube straight from my Italian balcony in Modena.
I want you to nail your next job and to finally start loving Mondays, just as I do.
Clarity is power!