Whether you are an accounting employee or entrepreneur, there’s no avoiding the fact that interviews are a necessary part of the hiring, advancement, and growth of your career and business. While most accountants would rather discuss numbers than themselves, when it comes to interviews, it can be challenging to know what to say, what to do, and how to maneuver during these often awkward social interactions.
Whether you are the interviewer or interviewee, you are still being sized up by someone else and deciding whether there’s a good fit. As the interviewee, you should be as concerned about whether you want to work for a potential employer, as they are concerned about whether they want you to work for them.
Interestingly, in this technologically advanced world we all live in, you would think it would be much easier with virtual interviews, but unfortunately that has just added an extra layer of awkwardness and disconnection. As the pool of applicants has grown, along with the ability to apply or hire for various accounting positions, so has the level of overwhelm increased for all involved.
Unfortunately, while our virtual world has made it safer and easier for the interview process, it has also put many people at a disadvantage. No longer are you able to shake someone’s hand and get a feel for them, or sit across from them and connect in a non-technology way.
Although standing out in today’s virtual accounting job search market might be challenging, it’s also not impossible. There are plenty of people to help you refine your resume, offer you suggested questions to be prepared for, and mock interviews to help calm your nerves.
But one of the most important things that I think is missing from you nailing that job interview is less about the resume and more about you, your self-confidence and your self-awareness. Without a better understanding of how you think and feel, and how to manage your mind as well as the mind of the interviewer, you’re probably not as prepared as you can be.
In order to nail that job interview, you need to spend as much time understanding yourself as you do trying to figure out which font looks more professional for your resume. While there are definitely things you can do to get your resume to the top of the pile, the interview is where you are no longer your credentials on a piece of paper, but instead a working mom with hopes, dreams, fears and hangups.
The amazing thing about learning the tools I’m going to share with you is that it can be applied in many situations, not just for job interviews. As a working mom, you will have many instances where you need to be the right person, or find the right person, making it even more valuable to understand yourself and others better, before those situations present themselves.
When you have the ability to manage your mind, as well as understand the mind of others in a way that supports you and the results you want, you have a much better chance of success. Even if you wind up not being the best candidate for the position, you’ll understand how to not take it personally so that you can move forward and find the best fit.
This week I’m going to explain what you need to do in preparation for a job interview and then how to nail it when the time comes.
What you need to do in preparation
So picture this – you’re about to put your resume out there, or maybe you’ve already got an interview lined up, and you’re thinking:
- I’m afraid I’m going to blow it
- I’m afraid I’m going to come off needy and creepy
- I need this interview to go well because I have to get out of my job
- Everyone else has more experience than me
- I don’t like how I (sound, look, speak, etc)
- This job market is too unstable
- I’m worried that they won’t think I’m qualified enough
- I should probably wait until I (know more, research more, achieve more, etc)
- I’m so afraid of (sounding stupid, freezing up, being judged, not knowing how to answer a question, etc)
Does any of this sound familiar? If you’re anything like the accountant moms I speak to and coach, I’m sure you can probably relate to at least a few of those thoughts.
While it’s perfectly normal to have many thoughts swirling in your mind prior to an interview, it’s just as important for you to know what you’re currently thinking and not just dismiss it. The thing that most people don’t understand before they go to an interview is that you can have the most stellar resume, yet still not do well during the interview if you don’t understand the fact that what you think and how you feel before, during, and after an interview matters more than you know.
For example, if you have the thought “I’m worried that they won’t think I’m qualified enough”, you’re probably going to feel doubtful or unsure of yourself. What might seem like normal pre-interview jitters, is actually more harmful than you might realize.
The reason is because when you feel doubtful or unsure of yourself, you’re most likely going to behave in one or more of the following ways during an interview:
- You’ll act timid and appear weak
- Not be able to really hear their questions and pivot your answers to show yourself in the best light
- Get distracted with your belief that you’re not qualified enough
- Look for proof that you’re not qualified enough
- You might act fidgety or nervous and probably wish for the interview to be over because you’re so uncomfortable.
Since you have over 60,000 thoughts a day, then you can see from this example the power of just one single thought and how it can sabotage your efforts to nail that job interview. From just one single thought like “I’m worried that they won’t think I’m qualified enough” and the feeling of doubt, comes all the ways that you will show up and act during an interview, not allowing you to put your best foot forward.
The reason this is so important is because you can have the best resume and be super prepared for an interview by practicing how to answer various interview questions, but nothing can help you if you have an underlying lack of self-confidence or self-awareness. Besides, even if you do fake it during the interview and get the job, imposter syndrome is going to be coming with you as you start that new job, especially if you didn’t do the work you need to do prior to the interview.
As I’ve discussed previously on the podcast, imposter syndrome is the belief that you’re out of your league, not good enough, that you’re only in your current position because you got lucky, or that sooner or later you will be found out. When you don’t do the preparation I’m sharing before an interview, it’s just a matter of time before imposter syndrome sneaks in before, during and after the interview.
The thing is, if you’ve ever felt like you don’t belong or that friends or colleagues are going to discover that you don’t actually deserve your job or your accomplishments, you are not alone. Imposter syndrome is incredibly common with an estimated 70% of people admitting that they have experienced the feelings of being an imposter at some point in their lives.
This is especially an issue for women because of our social conditioning. As young girls we are taught at an early age to second guess ourselves, to be self-critical and to earn outside validation, leading to a lot of us experiencing imposter syndrome to varying degrees as we navigate our accounting careers while also trying to balance both our professional and personal lives.
If you’re like many accountant moms, you may have been told that you should be smart and ambitious but also told that men won’t like it if you are smarter or more successful than they are; you may have been told that you should be bold and confident but also given the message that you probably shouldn’t talk too much so you won’t be considered aggressive; you may have been told to stand up for yourself but that if you are too assertive, you are being difficult.
So if you are among the 70% of us that have experienced imposter syndrome, then it’s probably pretty safe to bet that it might come up again when you are interviewing for that new job. More importantly, if that's how you’re thinking and feeling going into an interview, then that will be how the interviewer experiences you as well.
In order to be prepared for your next job interview, you need to be open to learning the two tools I’m going to share with you.
How to nail that job interview
Whether you’re super prepared or not, in order to nail that job interview, I think it’s important to do two things before an interview:
- Manage your mind
- Manage the interviewer’s mind
As I explained with the example of the thought “I’m worried that they won’t think I’m qualified enough”, your thoughts about yourself and the interview are going to dictate how you feel and then how you act before, during and after the interview. That’s why it’s important to figure out exactly what you are currently thinking and purposefully create better thoughts that don't create imposter syndrome.
How you show up for the interview will be dependent on how well you know and understand your unique mind. On average, you are only aware of roughly 2% – 5% of your 60,000 thoughts a day, so it’s incredibly important to check in with yourself and get clear in advance about what you are thinking and feeling about yourself and the upcoming interview by asking the following:
- What is my overall thought and feeling before going into the interview?
- What is my main belief about myself and my capabilities?
- Is my overall thought the one that I want to bring to this interview?
- Is it the one that I want to bring to future interviews?
Once you are clear on what you currently think and feel, it’s time to manage your mind by taking back control. The best way to do that is to imagine the interview going incredibly well, imagine that you’re feeling relaxed and on point, and that you’re doing your absolute best without having to fake it.
Now step into her shoes, that version of you that’s doing really well in the interview, and answer the following questions:
- What’s her posture like? Really see her and get a sense of what she’s like.
- How does it feel to be in her presence? As an outsider looking in, how does it feel to be around her?
- What does she think on purpose? What does she feel on purpose?
- Since she definitely doesn’t believe “I’m worried that they won’t think I’m qualified enough”, what does she believe instead?
- Imagine her getting the call that she got the job – how did she do it?
By stepping into the shoes of the future version of you who nailed that job interview, you get to access those thoughts and feelings that were necessary in order to take the best actions and to put yourself in the best light possible. The secret is understanding that your future self is YOU; she’s inside of you right now, without needing to fake it.
You get to access her wisdom and knowledge, and become her now. What she thinks and feels is already within you, covered up by layers of some of those 60,000 thoughts a day and the messaging you got as you were growing up and becoming a working mom.
The secret is that what she thinks and feels is what you will need to think and feel in order to nail that job interview and overcome any self-doubt. By using her mind to manage yours, you can make it much easier on yourself during the interview process and afterwards.
Another aspect of interviewing that most people don’t focus on, is the interviewer's mind. What you believe someone else is thinking has a much bigger impact on how you think and feel, as well as how you show up during the interview, than you realize.
Therefore, before you go into an interview, I suggest that you ask yourself what you think the interviewer is thinking. If you come up with anything that makes you feel worried, doubtful or stressed, it’s important to address that before you actually have the interview.
For example, if you think that the interviewer is thinking “I can’t wait until this process is over so I can get back to other things”, that will most likely create a rushed feeling for you, as if you’re taking up their limited time. When you feel rushed, you’re also not going to show up focused and calm.
The key with this important aspect of interviewing is knowing that you get to decide on purpose what you think someone else is thinking, without knowing what they’re actually thinking. You get to choose to think that the interviewer is thinking something like “I hope she’s the one we hire” or “I hope she can fill this position”.
When you learn the power of managing the interviewer’s mind, that’s when you can really show up as the best version of yourself, for your benefit and theirs. You’ll be able to not be so overly concerned with yourself, and instead be focused on how to be of service to them, how to convey the value you can provide, and how you can help them by hiring you.
Imagine how you would feel if you knew that the interviewer was on your side, that they thought you were perfect for the job, and that they couldn’t wait to meet you. If you’re anything like the accountant moms I work with, you would feel open, connected, and excited about getting the chance to speak to this person who clearly wants to give you the job.
When you manage the interviewer’s mind by assuming that they’re on your side and that they want you to do well, you remove that added layer of pressure in seeking validation or approval from them. The truth is that you truly don’t know what someone is thinking, so why not choose something useful for yourself in the interview process.
When you add this tool of managing the interviewer’s mind by assuming they’re thinking something that is helpful for you, to the tool I shared earlier of managing your own mind in a way that is also helpful for you, you really get the opportunity that so many interviewees miss. You get to be fully present and engaging, as opposed to overwhelmed, uncomfortable and doubtful.
In order to nail that job interview and put your best for forward, you should have the most professional resume, be clear about the company you’re interviewing with, and understand how you can add value to them, but at the end of the day a successful interview will require one more important thing – your managed mind.
- In order to nail that job interview, you need to spend as much time understanding yourself as you do trying to figure out which font looks more professional for your resume.
- When you don’t do the preparation I’m sharing before an interview, it’s just a matter of time before imposter syndrome sneaks in before, during and after the interview.
- Whether you’re super prepared or not, in order to nail that job interview, I think it’s important to do two things before an interview – manage your mind and manage the interviewer’s mind
- When you add this tool of managing the interviewer’s mind by assuming they’re thinking something that is helpful for you, to the tool I shared earlier of managing your own mind in a way that is also helpful for you, you really get the opportunity that so many interviewees miss.