Picture this. A woman walks into a job interview and appears nervous. Her arms are crossed across the front of her body and her gaze is less than confident. She is fussing with her clothes and you can tell that something is “off.”
Here she is again, so let’s take another look. This time, she walks into the interview briskly and has great, yet natural posture. She’s not fidgeting and calmly folds her hands on the table.
Which applicant would you want to talk to? I’d try and speed through the interview with the first woman as quickly as I could. Heck, I might even come right out and tell her that we just hired someone and send her on her way. No one likes a train wreck and they certainly don’t make great hires. The second woman, however, I’d be interested to learn about. I’d probably be intrigued enough to learn about her background, qualifications and whether she’d be a good fit for my company.
You’re may be thinking this will turn into a blog about how to carry yourself and get the job. You’re only partly right.
While working with a coaching client recently, I had an epic realization. A life-changing lightbulb moment, really. The kind of idea that hits like a ton of bricks. Ready?
It is okay to feel insecure. You don’t need “fixing” and you are not broken. You feel how you feel and it’s probably not realistic to overhaul your self-esteem when confronted with an unexpected job search. Don’t even try. Being terminated or laid off can be a huge hit and I won’t attempt to tell you otherwise.
My client had been downsized out of the blue and she felt too fat to job search. She hated her clothes and was dreading the interview process. She is (or was before being RIF’d) a director-level account manager for a Fortune 100 company, so this applies to every level of job seeker.
My advice? Don’t spend time trying to fix how you feel about yourself. It’s a never-ending cycle and you really don’t have time to spin your wheels in the middle of a search for your feelings to catch up.
Step 1. Find one interview outfit that makes you feel professional – even if you have to shop at Goodwill.
Step 2. Acknowledge that you may feel inadequate but choose to ignore it.
Step 3. Walk with confidence, even if you feel inadequate.
Step 4. Talk with confidence, even if you feel inadequate.
Step 5. GET THE JOB, even if (you guessed it) you feel inadequate. Refer to Steps 2 – 4.
Back to the woman from the opening. When she walks in briskly and with energy, she could suffer from the worst self-esteem, but there is no reason that the interviewer ever needs to know. Right? Right?? So (again) acknowledge that your feelings about yourself may not be great – but as long as you don’t let on, those feelings are okay. You are PERFECT just the way you are. Self-esteem issues and all.
And if you’re worried about stuff that you can’t change like age, sexual orientation or gender, read my recent blog about bias and “isms” in your job search. As always, I’m easy to reach at firstname.lastname@example.org.