A few months ago I worked with a mid-level executive preparing for his first three-day interview.
This week I consulted with someone who will be having a nine-day interview over the next two weeks. Nine days!
Clergy are used to multi-day interviews. From the experience of those I work with, multi-day interviews are getting more common in the business world as well. Here are seven tips that have helped me rock the multi-day interview. Give them a try and let me know what works for you. (And if part/all of your interview is online, make sure to check out this post.)
1. Create a Playlist
The biggest difference between a single-day interview and multi-day interviews is the need to manage your energy for the long-haul. Several of these tips focus on managing your energy. Create some short playlists that can pull you into the energy level you need. Before an interview, a couple of pump-you-up songs can make a big difference. R-E-S-P-E-C-T by Arethea Franklin is one of my go-to’s. After an intense session with a short break before the next interview, a song that helps channel your energy is best — nothing too fast or slow– something like This Too Shall Pass by OK Go. And then when it’s time to wind down, have a longer list of feel-good, slower songs to help you channel your excess energy out of yourself and find your calm center.
2. Centering Touch
Speaking of centering, a great tip is to have a physical object to touch during long interviews. Any time you begin feeling unsure, tired, or need a bit of focus you can simply touch this item and it will help bring you back to yourself.
I’ve used different items at different times. Sometimes it’s a note or just a phrase from a loved one I keep in my pocket. Or a worry stone. One of my favorite ways of using centering touch is by temporary tattoos. ConsciousInk has some really wonderful sayings. Consider buying several and inviting loved ones to wear the same tattoo while you’re on your interview. Put it somewhere on your body that can’t be seen, but can be touched (near your elbow or mid-thigh perhaps). Any time you need a boost, place your hand on that spot and center into yourself.
3. Advocate For What You Need
When you get the schedule for your multi-day interview, whether in person or on Zoom, review it carefully to ensure you have the time you need to be able to present your best self at each moment. Right-sized breaks between sessions can make the difference between wowing a committee member or having a lackluster presentation.
Carefully think through the schedule and how you’ll cope. Do you have an early afternoon slump? Make sure you don’t have back-to-back sessions during that time. As soon as you review the schedule, ask if you could have a short break between the first two afternoon interviews.
One woman I worked with looked at her on-site interview and saw she was schedule to go directly from a board room formal interview onto a boat for drinks and socializing with a different group. She knew the appropriate outfit for the boardroom was not the appropriate outfit for the boat (especially her shoes), and advocated for a short break between events so she could better prepare herself for socializing on the boat.
4. Feed and Water Your Body Well
A multi-day interview is like a marathon. And marathoners know that proper intake is crucial for the sustained energy they need to make it to the end. As soon as you get your schedule, start thinking about how you will feed your body for proper energy. This is not the time to grab a snickers (sugar crash) or slam a triple espresso mid-afternoon (jittery much?). You need to plan a base breakfast and healthy snacks throughout the day that have a healthy combination of protein and slow carbs to give your body level, sustained energy.
Dehydration can affect thinking, so make sure you’re getting 8 glasses of water daily, starting the day before your interviews. In every break between sessions, drink a little something and also use the restroom (even if you don’t feel like you need to). I’ve yet to hear anyone say, “I wish I would NOT have taken time to go to the restroom before that meeting.”
5. Power Poses and Calming Thoughts
Full preparation for an important interview includes more than practicing what to say. The way we hold ourselves not only tells other people about us, it also conveys messages back to our own body about how we are feeling.
Especially when you have multiple interviews in a day, or spaced out over several days, it is important to take a few minutes before each session to prepare your body.
Take 90 seconds to hold your body in a “Power Pose,” as described by Amy Cuddy in her book Presence. If you’re at an in-person interview, you can excuse yourself to the restroom, put on your ear buds, crank you best song and do a couple of these power poses before you go into the next interview.
Take a few minutes a day to practice 5/7/8 breathing in the weeks before your interview. Then, just a handful of 5/7/8 breaths can lower blood pressure and help focus your mind before each session.
6. Change Your Scenery
Clearing your head is a powerful way to stay in the game for multi-session, multi-day interviews. As you are able, get out of the building and take a walk around the block between interviews. Look for something beautiful or joyful and take a moment to soak it in.
If you’re in a large office building, perhaps the best you can do is a couple of quick flights of stairs (making sure you have time to slow your breath before the next interview, of course!). This movement gives your body a way to release some of the pent-up energy you might have created during one session so you don’t bring it into the next session.
7. Notes: Before, During and After
With multi-day interviews, taking notes between sessions is vitally important. When you have an opportunity, take a moment to reflect on each session: What did you learn? What did you share? What questions have arisen from this session? How did your body feel during the conversation? Were there any red or yellow flags? How might this past session inform your future sessions?
Multi-day interviews take stamina and a different sort of preparation. Contact me for a free consultation to find out if coaching might help you rock your next interview.