Interview Preparation: The Games We Play

Congratulations! You just secured an interview for a great new job. Unfortunately, you now have to deal with the inevitable mind games we all play on ourselves in this situation. To best prepare for an interview, it is critical to identify the mind games you are playing with yourself and then counter the confusion with clear thinking. Which mind games below apply to you?

Taboo: You are stricken by the fear you will say or do the wrong thing, and that with one false move you will suddenly lose everything. This is a common mind game played by veterans. You second-guess your responses and come off as lacking confidence. Doubt and hesitation reign.

Charades: You determine how to act based on what you think the interviewer is looking for, morphing your behavior into the candidate you think the company wants. New graduates who lack experience can play a fierce game of inner Charades. They have not worked enough yet to build up a solid foundation of experience so they invent ‘the dream candidate’, and then try to shoehorn themselves into that persona. This game forces you into a role and compromises your authenticity.

Sorry: You assume you are not worthy of the employment opportunity and that you don’t have the right qualifications. Veterans may mentally apologize, for their lack of civilian workplace experience. Working moms, especially those who are recently returning to the workforce, are often plagued by an internal, never-ending game of Sorry. They feel that they have to defend their decisions and apologize for having been out of work too long. Anyone playing this game will end up in defensive mode, assuming that the interviewer is judging their choices.

All these mind games can be crippling and destructive. If you are riddled with fear, feel apologetic about who you are, or try to be someone else, you are significantly lowering chances of finding a truly fulfilling job. So what mind game should you play as you prepare for your interview?

Truth or Dare: As I detailed in my book The 11 Laws of Likability, authenticity is the key to making meaningful connections. It is also, without a doubt, the most crucial part of a successful interview. In order to ace that interview, you need to be who you really are. Be honest in your answers. Without honest responses, it will be impossible for you and the interviewer to determine if you are a good match for the job. It is critical that you trust yourself and let go of the mind games. Step outside your comfort zone and dare to be the true you.

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