Interviews are stressful. No two ways about it. Anytime we are in a situation where we are being judged, our stress levels increase.
The good new is that we can change not only how others perceive us through non-verbal behavior, but also how we think and feel about ourselves. “Change your body, change your mind,” says Amy Cuddy, Associate Professor at Harvard Business School. Her research on how people evaluate each other and themselves showed that faking it till you make it really works. In other words, our thoughts and feelings are influenced by our body language.
What the research shows
According to Cuddy’s studies, people who spent two minutes “power posing” — standing in a posture of confidence — can affect testosterone and cortisol levels in the brain and might even have an effect on our success. Power posing for that brief amount of time showed a 20% increase in testosterone, the hormone associated with power and confidence, and a 25% decrease in cortisol, the stress hormone.
In one of her studies, a group of job candidates prepared for an interview by power posing in the restroom for 2 minutes, while the other group sat in the reception area in a closed, low-power position. Each person’s interview was videoed and shown to a panel that was asked to decide whom they would hire based on watching the tapes. The panel did not know which of the two groups the candidates had been in, the one that practiced the high-power poses or the low-power poses. The candidates were evaluated on presence, enthusiasm, confidence, passion and authenticity. In almost every case, the panel selected the people who had been in the high-power group.
What’s a power pose?
A high-power pose is an open, expansive position where you stand tall with your hands on your hips and feet spread, like Wonder Woman or Wonder Man or leaning forward over a desk with hands planted firmly on its surface.
What’s a low-power pose?
In a low-power pose, the body appears constricted and closed as if the person is trying to protect him or her self. It projects cautiousness and lack of confidence.
Remember – Power-posing not only can help you get the job, but also feel that you deserve it.