It’s all about the power of positive thinking – it takes you places and moves you forward. Essentially, we as humans give off a lot of energy; you get what you give off so to speak! If you walk into a job interview feeling and/or thinking negative, there is no doubt that this will affect your performance to some degree. It is important the affirmations we make or internal dialogue that goes on as we think about the impending job interview, that we think about it in positive terms. Do not mistake nerves or anxiety with negative thinking – this is feeling. In fact research has shown repeatedly that a mild degree of nervousness or anxiety actually leads to better performance. Yes, that little bit of adrenaline rush that we feel when nervous is beneficial. Befriend your anxiety, don’t view it negatively – it can help! Like Tiger Woods said in a press conference after his comeback from knee construction surgery: “I like nerves, they show you care!”.

We all have days where we wake up and don’t feel that great, or where we may be doing well on the day but something happens to turn our mood black in an instant. It is important that we try to ‘compartmentalise’ these situations; tuck them away (in our minds) to deal with later. This is not as easy as it sounds and takes maturity. I can tell you it does develop over the years, believe me, I’ve had a lot of experience. What I can turn around (from negative to positive thoughts and ‘compartmentalise’ the negative) now in my 40s is easier to do than I did in my 30s and 20s.

I’m going to be honest and up front and share with you a real life example of how I managed (or mismanaged I should say) a specific job interview situation due to my negative mind set. I went into the interview from the outset feeling and thinking very negative, and it affected my entire performance in a very big way! Back in 1999 I was working fulltime in the Brisbane CBD as an Office Manager, I was on the look out for other positions as I was dissatisfied with this role. A friend of mine who worked for a prominent FM radio station in Brisbane suggested I send in my cover letter and resume as they were always on the look out for progressive and proactive individuals. That night I emailed my documents through to the relevant contact person at the radio station. The very next day I received a phone call to attend a job interview. She (the contact person) said that the radio station was always on the look out for people who took initiative like myself.

The position was a PR role, dealing extensively with the public and businesses. The interview was scheduled for a Wednesday afternoon at 5.30pm. This gave me plenty of time to hop in a taxi at the end of my work day at 5pm and arrive early as the radio station was only 10 minutes away from the Brisbane CBD. Up until 3.30pm on the day of the interview I was feeling very relaxed (which is the way I like to be before a job interview) and positive about the interview to come later in the day. I was making positive affirmations (in my mind) throughout the day regarding the interview. This is always how I like to think and feel (essentially how I manage myself) before an interview as I find that it works well for me. However, at around 3.30pm whilst working on a tasks, the Managing Director came down on me like a ton of bricks, angry at the way I had handled one of my tasks.

Needless to say I was completely caught of guard and became very upset and angry (which I internalised & kept it to myself). A permanent dark cloud had prevailed over me for the rest of the afternoon and I couldn’t shift it, I was only making it worse. I take full responsibility for having ‘stewed’ on what happened for the rest of the afternoon; I just couldn’t let it go. I started to think negatively, asking myself how I could get out of the interview; telling myself that I wouldn’t be able to perform well because i was now not in the mood for it, and so forth.

From the moment I walked into the radio station for the interivew, it was over even before it had even begun. The initial meet and greet was terrible; I was physically present but not in mind and soul. I was just going through the motions in introducing myself, shaking hands and so forth. What was even worse is that I couldn’t even smile upon initial introduction! Remember, this role was a PR position; I would be dealing extensively with the public. As such, how would I look presenting myself to people in such a negative way! First impressions count, and what the interviewers saw first up I’m sure gave them a very negative impression. As far as my verbal communication went, well, I couldn’t even answer several of the questions. I know I wasn’t doing well because the interviewers (a male and female) kept probing for more specific information; they got nothing out of me. How did it all turn out you ask? The very next morning I received a phone call from the female interviewer to say they weren’t interested. I can understand why!

The point I am making in this example is that if you are in a negative mind set, it will affect your performance in various ways. In my instance it affected me greatly and on all levels – both verbally and nonverbally. If I’d know then what I know now about ‘compartmenalising’ the negative, I believe I would have performed much better. I would have made the conscious decision to push this situation to the back of my mind and deal with it after the interview. It may sound difficult to do, but I tell you it can be done. I say this through experience. Part of my professional resume business services involves conducting motivational sessions on job market skills to educational and community groups. I project a great deal of positivity, passion and motivation during these sessions. However, I’ve been dealt some heartbreaking situations over the course of these last two years (centred around my teenage son) that has required me to ‘compartmentalise’ and push these situations aside in my mind in order to undertake these sessions and conduct them in projecting positivity. If I went into these sessions with the negative and emotional mindset brought forward from these sometimes distressing situations with my son, the whole delivery of my presentations would not be credible, nor would I make a positive impact on the attendees.

In a nutshell, one of the keys to performing well in a job interivew is to stay positive before and during the interview process. Project the positivity you think and feel about the prospects of this new position you’ll be interviewing for. If there are any negatives you are contending with, set them aside and deal with them after the interview.

Remember, I’m here to help market and motivate you in the best possible manner.

Stay positive!


Annie Cerone