Strike a Power Pose, Improve Your Interview

Posted by Rob Riggins

Power Posing Amy CuddyFor some of you this will really strike a chord. For others it may be eye-roll time.

If you’re not very confident or if you’re uncomfortable in situations such as interviews or job fairs, striking a power pose is for you. In a job search when you have the opportunity to interact face-to-face with a potential employer you need to seize the moment and make the most of the opportunity in front of you. So if striking a power pose for two minutes before entering this stressful situation helps you, why not try?

First, the Importance of Attitude

Attitude is more important than you may realize in finding a job. And attitude is impacted by your confidence in a situation.

At two job fairs we surveyed the attending recruiters asking, “How important is a job seeker’s attitude when you consider them for employment, on a scale of 1 to 10.” We asked this question because we sometimes see job seekers at job fairs who are visibly uncomfortable, nervous, flustered, and occasionally even rude. You want to help them so they don’t sabotage themselves.

Some of this behavior is due to a lack of confidence and being nervous, although granted, some people are just cranky or having a bad day. At a job fair you see those job seekers who pull off confidence and amiability flawlessly. And those who do not. The difference can be stark. Most job seekers can walk up to a recruiter, look them in the eye, shake their hand firmly and give a confident elevator speech. But not all job seekers can do this. And even some who can are still nervous, and may not have the confidence to give their best effort due to their nervousness.

Back to our question on the importance of attitude — it was completely a Captain Obvious question. Every recruiter responded that on a scale of 1 to 10 attitude was a 9, a 10, or even an 11 in importance. In general, employers are looking for team players who work well with others. That is fairly universal. And when we feel confident we present ourselves better as polished, competent professionals.

Power Posing

Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist. A couple years ago she did a TED Talk laying out some simple science on how body language and attitude can make a tremendous difference in a job interview…or in life. Amy’s premise:

Our bodies change our minds.

Our minds change our behavior.

And our behavior changes our outcomes.

Does that feel a little too Tony Robbins? Stick with us here. In her study Amy asked job seekers to strike either a high- or low-power pose for 2 minutes before going into a job interview. Then the participants’ testosterone (confidence) and cortisol (stress) levels were checked to see the physical changes that power posing can make. The difference was measurable. And the interviewers all wanted to hire those study participants who had struck a high-power pose before entering the interview vs. those who had struck low-power poses.

high-power poses

Low-power poses

As Amy says in her TED Talk: “Tiny tweaks can lead to big changes….Before you go into the next stressful situation for two minutes try doing this in the elevator, bathroom stall, in your office behind closed doors. Configure your brain to cope the best in that situation.”

Take 20 minutes to watch the video and learn more — I think you’ll try it.

Do you want to improve your odds of acing an interview with a recruiter or hiring manager? Run to the bathroom or close your office door right now and strike a power pose for two minutes and then see how you feel.

So what do you think?


This entry was posted on Friday, January 23, 2015 8:32 am

2 thoughts on “Strike a Power Pose, Improve Your Interview”

  1. Saw Amy’s TED talk quite a while back. It’s inspirational by itself, but what’s most powerful is that she has statistics to back up the claim…

    And it works. I’ve been using these poses before important telephone calls, interviews and meetings, and in every case where I struck a “pose,” the event goes well. Does that mean I always win the assignment, get the job, well no. But, I go in knowing I can, and more often than when I go in without the extra “pose,” I deliver a better version of myself that wins.

    It is worth the 2 minutes. Try it.

  2. I recently watched the “Ted Talk” about posture and body language. I then tried it in several situations with my superiors and had some pretty dramatic results. It was much easier for me to take command of a group conversion, even though I was vastly out ranked.

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