Monday, 15 April 2013


Know the Secrets of Behavioural Science and Crack that P.I. and Get Hired!

Secret Disclosed! Mystery Revealed! Get Ready for Your Upcoming P.I. (Personal Interview). Now You Can Beat Your Fears! No More Nervousness!...Yes, You Can Make It!...Know the Secrets of Behavioural Science and Crack that P.I. and Get Hired!

I still remember myself interviewing candidates who appeared nervous in spite of having a brilliant profile on paper. Knowingly or unknowingly it reduced their chances to make it to the final list. It never impresses me if somebody presents himself/ herself in a ‘rockstar image’ be it their weird hairdos or their ‘hyperbolic’ resumes. And in contrast, their palms sweat, throats get dry, their body starts shivering, knees get shaking and they give a sense of butterflies in their stomachs. And that’s how one usually feels before an interview. Study says that 6 out of 10 interviewees have the same experience. These candidates feel extremely tense. As a matter of fact, this is all natural. And it’s quite normal too. But here the aftereffects are a bit costly if this is the same scenario on that important day where your interview fears dominate your performance and finally at the end of the day you fail to beg your dream job. Isn’t it?!!

While Behavioural Science says that whenever you encounter ‘an unknown situation or an unfamiliar circumstance’, (It could be your first ‘Date’, your very first formal presentation, the day of announcement of your results or even facing strangers) your nervous system shows up an auto-response and by default your mind sends signals to your various body parts and you feel the difference in form of dramatic changes like less amount of oxygen in your lungs, pace of your breath, pulse rate, increased number of heart beats (and sometimes even low blood pressure in some extreme cases). In fact, through all these minor changes, your brain tells your body to calm down a bit and let it take it’s own due course of time to rearrange your system. Now, let’s talk about a few simple tricks so that your body and brain don’t cheat on you on that very exclusive day. Yes, it’s your turn to cheat on your brain and body both.
Yes, it’s your turn to cheat on your brain and body both.
Well, here lies the secret, ‘unknown situation or an unfamiliar circumstance’. Yes, this is the clue!...A word is enough to a wise. And I don’t doubt on your wisdom either. Have you ever felt nervous in front of your family or friends given the normal conditions? (That’s another part of the story when you feel more or less the same symptoms when your condition is not as normal as telling lies, hiding facts or something like that.) I believe your answer is a big YES. You say that ‘yes’ to me because facing our family or friends is neither an unknown situation nor an unfamiliar circumstance. Well, please do not doubt my wisdom when you jump to the conclusion and say to yourself loud. “YES, I GOT IT!” Don’t assume this the complete picture. We are just half way. OK let’s talk about the rest of the mystery. All you have to do is to convert your interview experience as something ‘KNOWN SITUATION and FAMILIAR CIRCUMSTANCE’. How can you do that? That’s the question! And an answer to this question is what you need to do to get rid of all your fears. For your convenience, I have broken it into 3 simple steps. Just do it! 

1. Research, 2. Rehearse 3. Release


Well, here I make it absolutely clear that you don’t need to be an FBI agent as shown in those Hollywood movies. And yes, this is also not about any PHD stuff. Here, research simply means to do a little homework on the organization where you are supposed to face that fearsome predator called HR. (One day I just overheard a candidate saying that he fears Recruiters the most. Personally speaking, sometimes HRs also doubt their features when a normal person comes, interview starts and the same normal person starts behaving abnormally, he fumbles, stutters and gives an impression to the selector in front as if he/ she has got some horns or blood sucking teeth or what). Anyway perhaps now we know that this is not the fear of facing the recruiter/ selector/ HR /employer, it’s just about facing the ‘unknown situation or an unfamiliar circumstance’. Thanks to this theory otherwise it was quite difficult to assure myself of not looking that horrible. Enough Talk, let’s get back to the business. Again I say, do get familiar with the organization (if possible your role and the industry as well).

This is not the fear of facing the recruiter. it’s just about
facing the ‘unknown situation or an unfamiliar circumstance’
Come on, don’t give me this weird expression. It’s quite easy. You are the proud generation of Facebook and Google. So you got the answer! Yes, you can google it, you can even go for the official company website, annual reports, market analysis in terms of the company’s performance, press release and what not. And if you are a die-hard Facebook fan, then the good news is that the companies have now started a new trend of marketing through social networking sites where they do maintain official ‘pages’. (Believe me, the more the home work, lesser the fear; and this extra hard work also pays for the questions like “What do you know about our company?” “Why do you want to join us?” and such.) Mind you, an applicant who has done his or her research well, feels more confident and gives out the positive vibe to the interviewers that s/he is serious about the job. S/he is interested in the company. S/he is ready to go for the extra mile. And this automatically also reduces the candidate’s anxiety. Because the company / organization/ employer is no more new to you nor to your brain. You got it?!!

When ‘Actor of the Century’ Mr. Amitabh Bachchan says, “I’m still learning. And I always try to give my best shot.” It’s just hard to believe while on screen he seems so flawless. And when ‘God of Cricket’ Mr. Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar still does ‘net practice’ for hours and hours there must be no wonder how he maintains the maximum number of world records in the field of cricket. Everybody whosoever is at the peak of his/her performance graph, is practicing, rehearsing and making sure that they don’t miss out on anything. They want perfection. Perfection at its best! Then how could we expect our ‘best shot’ just randomly on spot at one go specially in an interview. Doesn’t it hit you somewhere deep inside?!! Don’t you get the feeling you are taking on the world with no weapons? Yes, we are talking in terms of making your interview experience as something ‘KNOWN SITUATION and FAMILIAR CIRCUMSTANCE’. You can do it by doing rehearsals. Why don’t you take it as a role play where not only your dialogues matter but your dialogue delivery with appropriate expressions also matters a lot. Remember, a candidate should be careful about his way of speaking, posture, attitude and the way he carries himself. And if questions are concerned…Yes, you know them (if not all, at least most of them). There are always some stock questions applicants face during interviews. Those same FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions: Tell us something about yourself; where do you see yourself five years down the line; what are your strengths and weaknesses and such.) and of course questions based on your resume.
Whosoever is at the peak of his performance graph, is practicing, 
rehearsing and making sure they don’t miss out on anything.
First, you make answers (the script) which are original, genuine and reflect ‘YOU’ as the best choice available to the HR. Here the clue to make your script stronger and more appealing is that during the short duration of an interview you also offer the interviewers a peek into your emotional intelligence and softer skills, like leadership and teamwork, which could be a differentiator. As the IQ portion (your qualification, your co-curricular activities, and your area of expertise) is already on the CV anyway. Now rehearse the same answers. It pays to rehearse the answers either in front of someone. (personally I will not favour 'mirror-practice' where your looks take the center stage.)  Make your brain realize that this is not anything new. Your interview next day is just a normal, as usual, familiar interaction. Not a big deal! You can rehearse your answers as many times as possible. Because here at this point of time, you have the liberty to make any mistake and later on, correct it. For bonus points, you can also do the final round of rehearsals in your ‘interview attire’. It could sound a bit crazy. But this will really boost your confidence. Wear comfortable clothes and don’t be overly fussy with your attire. There are several instances when the clothes become a distraction, and this gets in the way of a better quality of interaction. Mind it!

You did research on the company. You even rehearsed your ‘own’ best answers. Now it’s time to stay stress free. Don’t treat your interview next day as a war in a battle field. Believe me it’s not a do-or-die situation. Neither is it a “counter strike”. Don’t you think when you want something too much too badly, you get more nervous. Take it easy! It’s just an opportunity to meet and interact with new people. There is really no need to be scared or feel desperate. Your life will not end then and there if somehow you don’t make it. The question is how do you unwind? If you wish to indulge in your hobby be it listening to music or watching a movie, so be it. This will dramatically reduce stress. Sometimes, after preparing your ‘sound-good-answers’, when you just chill out for a while, you subconsciously get clues to make your answers even better than the best (Personally Experienced). 

Visioning your success is more of a science and less of craziness.
If you ask me what would I do if I were in your place? My answer is very simple. I will vision myself performing my best in front of the interview panel and offering my best answers to each one of them. I could even see smiles on their faces while listening to my answers. I could make out with their body language that the decision would surely be in my favour. And they look quite positive (and lucky too) to have me on board. And what more could you expect from me. OK. Hold your breath! I could even see the offer letter in my hands stating “TO WHOMSOEVER IT MAY CONCERN: We are Pleased to offer you the job!” You could say I’m living in a fool’s paradise. But Psychologists say that visioning your success is more of a science and less of craziness. And this trick has been used over and over again by great achievers in the history of mankind be it Arnold Schwarzenegger or Henry Ford.

My last advice?!! I would paraphrase Amy Cuddy, a researcher from Harvard.

“Don’t Fake It Till You Make It. Fake It till You Become It.”

If you really liked this blog post and wish to share your experiences/ remarks/ views with me, you are most welcome. Write to me at