Everyone gets nervous. Especially in a job interview. When the stakes are high, feelings can run high too. While it’s normal to feel nervous, there is a way to deal with your nerves—using emotional intelligence—so you can communicate your value clearly and confidently. Here’s how:
Understand what emotional intelligence is – this is the first step in a job interview
“Emotional intelligence is the ability to use, understand and manage one’s emotions in a positive way, manage stress, communicate effectively, mitigate issues, solve problems and be empathetic to others,” says Joanne Frederick. Forbes. She is a mental health counselor based in Washington, DC
Interestingly enough, trying to control your emotions is a fool’s errand – and not a smart one at all. Consider a difficult situation, such as the loss of a loved one. or going through a divorce. Are you really able to control your emotions, especially when you are saying goodbye to someone you really care about? Take this quick quiz: stop crying now! (How did you do? Did your sadness stop instantly?) This is why you can’t turn off your feelings, like a light switch: no one can. Welcome to the human race. Even funeral enthusiasts are steeped in privacy. This is how feelings work. Is this a sign of weakness? Fragility? Or … humanity? You don’t have to ask ChatGPT to find this answer. Emotions are part of the panoply of human experiences, and managing our emotions is really a matter of focus. Where do you put your attention, and is that the smarter choice you can make right now?
Getting into emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence means understanding the way emotions work. In a job interview, it’s normal to feel nervous. If you’re not nervous, you really don’t care! So why deny that you want the job? Why try to stop what happens naturally?
When we understand that a high-stakes conversation will cause our emotions to bounce back, we can use that understanding to appear differently. What happens if it feels good to be nervous? In fact, what if you were kind of expecting it? What now? Beyond your feelings is something called “service”. This is the service you can offer your potential employer. Service is another word for the solution you can deliver, the value you can create, and the impact you know you can achieve. Service may be the opposite of self-awareness.
Transform negative feelings into a positive outcome
Emotional intelligence means having the ability to use your emotions in a positive way – by focusing on what’s important and ignoring what doesn’t. Here are three key ideas that can help you take action, despite your feelings — because we all have the power to act outside of our emotions.
- Yes and… This classic phrase, from the world of stand-up comedy, can help anyone achieve effective communication. I feel nervous? Yes, and now it’s time to share your story. What if emotional intelligence wasn’t about self-awareness (the cousin of self-awareness), however circumstantial consciousness? Consider the situation and the service you can provide – and you may see beyond your feelings. Sure, you’re nervous, but what about your degree from IU or Kansas State? Yes, and… what about the team you led in that marketing company in 2018? Yes, and what about your familiarity with control systems technology? Emotional intelligence allows us to focus on what matters most. What is most important about this interview? If you say, “My nerves, my insecurities, and my unrelenting desire to be absolutely perfect in everything I say and do,” you’re missing out. Consider how service might fit into the conversation. What service can you provide – even when you’re stressed? Can you say “yes, and…” and then share that story?
- Be curious: Emotional intelligence helps us see beyond our thoughts and feelings, to determine what really matters. Are you curious about the interview? After all, unless it’s a one-way interview, you can ask questions. You can turn the interview into a dialogue. But only if you see that the interview can be a conversation, not an interrogation. What is one thing you would like to know about your next employer? What is this thing that is not on the site? Instead of being the judge, jury, and window for your performance in a job interview conversation, why not distract yourself? Be curious – and create a conversation. Curiosity probably killed the cat. But satisfaction brought it back. Curiosity is a way to turn stress into discovery. What will you learn or discover in the job interview conversation?
- be ready: Do you know what questions you will be asked in a job interview? Have you researched where true confidence comes from? If something — anything — seems difficult, there’s one simple reason: lack of practice. If, in an emergency, you have to land a plane, this can be a daunting proposition—because you’ve never practiced it. But pilots do it all the time! So, is landing a plane scary or easy? Depends on your level of practice! And if you have a co-pilot who handles planes and planes landing, that virtual emergency landing just got easier. Because you don’t have to go it alone. Who is your co-pilot? Who is your coach? And how do you train, so that your emotions don’t control you when you come to land?
On social media, the place where emotional intelligence dies, we see EQ (short for emotional intelligence) lacking. Johann Harryauthor stolen focusHe says the algorithm doesn’t want you to get smart, it wants you to be hooked. Wrong swiping is something we’ve all done, and here’s why: Humans have a negative bias. Keep in mind that ten-week-olds will stare longer at a picture of a person in distress versus a picture of someone smiling. Online, the Matrix presents us with hot shots, grunt, misplaced aggression, and wild self-expression. Isn’t it entertaining? Sometimes it feels like we can’t look away – because the algorithm knows us better than we know ourselves.
In a job interview, you can’t leave emotional intelligence behind. You have to know yourself. and bypass the algorithm.
We are not animals driven by instinct alone. We can respond to any situation with emotional intelligence. We don’t have to let our emotions rule the day. Even when that day is marked by a really important job interview.