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Lights, Camera, Interview!

How to Get Rid of Performance Anxiety

Lights, Camera, Interview!

Interviews are like auditions

By Amanda Frank
Monster Contributing Writer

If all the world’s a stage then you are being evaluated on your performance in an interview. If you can deliver a passionate performance in the interview you will sell them on the belief that you will deliver period. Why? Because you are a superstar and this is a quirky and fun mindset to get into that will hopefully motivate you to see the value of proverbially belting it out as if you’re the next American Idol. Because interviews are in fact so much drier than 3 minutes in front of Simon Cowell or Steven Tyler.
Of course it's hard to get excited when you might be experiencing dread and worry. You have to put your fears aside and focus on what are you being evaluated on.

Do you possess the skills and talent to do the job required of you? Do you have the personality that will click with the others and complement the office dynamic? These are the selling points of a good interview performance. And here is a script to enact:
The pitch

In this scenario you are a screenwriter with a script you’re trying to sell to a production company. The script has to tell a compelling story to bring the job description to life and help the producers envision you in that role. It has to have the elements of a story including a protagonist (you), an arc (an obstacle you overcame in a previous job) to move your story forward explaining why you have the experience to outdo other candidates, and a plot (a plan or strategy that relates to the job objectives as you have come to understand them in your research of the company) that brings them to a happy ending (you are the hero they’re going to hire).
Beyond being ready and able to articulate your past accomplishments, be prepared to sell them on the bigger picture your added value could offer them. Somehow your salary has to justify itself in the return you reap for the company even if your position is not sales. The work you do saves the company money and covers your cost to them. Justify your worth and help them see the return on investment if they pick you.
The Suspension of Disbelief

This is what the film audience has to do to benefit from the escapism a movie provides. Similarly you have to convince your interviewer that you are the right person for the job, but to do that convincingly you must believe it too. Leave your fears and reservations at home. Own the job. Want. The. Job. Being prepared with your pitch will make it easier to display confidence.
The Make Up

You’re not a dancing monkey; you are an actor performing the role of You - so look the part. There’s a saying “If all the world’s a stage, I want better lighting.” There are no Instagram photo correctors in real life. You just have to look sharp. No one is saying not to be yourself, just take it up a notch. If you feel khakis represent you then you can wear khakis but not the wrinkled pair you’ve been wearing all week with no underwear.
The Show

Being in the spotlight in an interview isn’t like sitting down to dinner with conversation with company. It might seem like a dialogue but all eyes and ears are on you and you should keep them peeled for cues (and clues) they might give you about what they are looking for so you can respond appropriately as you tell the story you prepared in your pitch.
The Love Scene

This is the part where you win over your love interest and convince them they might be able to live happily ever after with you. Relationships are based on the same fundamentals whether they’re romantic or professional.

You're in the courtship stages of trying to establish a relationship, and like wooing any love prospect, on some level you abandon control of the situation to the gods of compatibility, same with career match ups. If there a mutual attraction, there is jobmate potential. You both must be able to visualize yourselves happily ever after, that you will fit in with the family (corporate culture). Me, personally, I resent gratuitous love stories that get tacked on to action movies. They feel fake and contrived. Avoid being disingenuous as you try to develop your own love interest.
The Stunt 

If you’re sincerely vested in getting the job then it’s not too much trouble to pull something unforgettable. Set yourself apart from the herd by doing something exceptional that goes beyond the customary obligatory thank you email. I like to mail a handwritten thank you note and include a coffee card for a $5 treat. Whatever you do try to leave something in your wake that makes a lasting impression.
The Audition - This is a good way to look at it if you give them your best performance and they don’t call you back. Don’t be a drama queen, it probably wasn’t the right gig for you anyhow. It wasn’t a waste of energy and hoopla, it was a dress rehearsal for the real deal.
Lastly, be on call. As an active job seeker, you never you when a request for an interview will pop up. It’s always showtime. Put on a stellar performance and they’ll be flagging you down for an autograph a work contract. Break a leg!