This advice is intended to help you create trust, acceptance, and confidence while interacting with any group of people.
I’ve discovered a few parallels between teaching yoga students and making presentations for interviewers.
Here's how you can use body language to create a zen atmosphere in your next job interview.
Here's how to breathe properly
This sounds pretty simple. You do it all the time, right? But do you find that you speak too quickly when you’re nervous and must pause to breathe?
If so, there’s a strong chance that your breath is landing in your chest.
You’re not taking in the big, deep breaths to fill your lungs and provide oxygen to your brain, which is slightly important during an interview.
Breathing before an interview
The next time you find yourself in an anxiety-ridden interview, prepare for it by breathing deeply and slowly, before heading in.
If you want to be formal about it, breathe in for a slow count of 4 seconds, exhale for a slow count of 6, pause for another count of 4, and repeat.
The longer exhale of oxygen will cause your body to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for your resting state. Your body starts to relax.
Remember to keep breathing during the interview
This one is simple. Use punctuation marks to breathe.
Typically, you pause momentarily after each comma, and longer after each period while reading sentences.
Talk like you read and use those pauses as a chance to take a deep breath before finishing your thought.
As a bonus, you’ll seem more relaxed and confident than if you’re stringing 11 thoughts together in one breath.
Getting yourself grounded
Keeping your feet flat on the ground stabilizes you.
The solid connection with the ground stimulates your body to relax and stay still since you’re no longer prepared to move.
It also helps you sit up taller because of the way it tilts the sacrum.
Grounding before an interview
Scoot to the end of the chair and firmly set your feet on the ground while waiting in the lobby.
This will enable your body to relax and stay alert.
If you lean back in the chair, you will become too relaxed.
If you’re standing, make sure you’re pressing evenly through both feet. I like to sway to the left, the right, the front and back of my feet to find the center of my stance.
This will help stack your joints going up the leg, as well, and ease tension in your body.
Staying grounded in the interview
Pull the chair back from the table and sit with your feet flat on the floor.
Unless you’re using your hands to explain a point, place them on your knees or thighs, palm down.
This at-ease position signals your brain that there isn’t any danger and you’re feeling settled.
Feeling settling will keep you focused on the task at hand.
The at-ease position also keeps you from fidgeting with your hands, too.
Fidgeting sends signals to the interviewer that you’re feeling frazzled.
Get personal with your pronouns
This one is a language tip.
Did you know by using language that directly associates something with the person you’re talking to, they are more likely to understand and trust you and more likely to take a positive action?
For instance, if I’m teaching someone to do a headstand, and say, “Lift the right leg up.” a student will likely feel anxious about tipping over and not trust their own ability?
Whereas, if I say, “Lift your right leg up.” they feel more trusting and likely will go for it because the teacher is speaking directly to them. ‘
In a similar way, using personal pronouns can help you create trust and credibility with your interviewer and yourself.
Practice personal pronouns before the interview
While practicing questions or reviewing what you’ll talk about, make sure you use personal pronouns to help you feel confident in your answers.
Instead of saying, “It will be important to mention my skills in [this field]”, try phrasing that thought as “I want to make sure I mention my skills in [this field]. I find it important to the success of my future job.”
As you use these personal pronouns, you’ll take greater ownership of your skill set and interviewers will see your passion when you talk about it.
How to use pronouns during the interview
Chances are you’ll be answering a lot of questions about yourself, so make the interviewer feel like a part of your world.
Use lead-ins such as, “You might find it interesting that I [insert your experience]” when answering questions.
You can also use this tactic when asking questions to gain a more honest and less rehearsed answer to the question, “Why do you like working here?”
Instead, try asking, “Why do you like working at your company?” or “What are your favorite parts of your role?”
Making the interviewer feel like you’re asking for their insights and experience and not just the company’s will yield a more insightful answer.
Here's the truth about achieving zen in job interviews
It is true that in order to be your best self and achieve zen in an interview, you just need to be yourself.
These tips can help you send the message to interviewers that you are a calm, cool, collected and attractive job candidate.
Best of luck with your next job interview!