Superman and Wonder Woman will never have to deal with the anxieties of med school interviews, but we can all learn something from their confidence. No need to don blue and red spandex; just strike a superhero pose in the privacy of your room.
Ann Cuddy, social psychologist, explores how body language and power posing can empower you and increase your success in her Ted Talk. Cuddy explains that tweaking your body language can change your life, including how well you perform during interviews. This falls under the “fake it till you make it” theory of confidence, although Cuddy calls it “fake it till you become it.”
Here’s how it works:
1. “Power pose” just like Superman with his hands on his hips for two minutes.
2. The location doesn’t matter; it can be in the comfort of your own home, your hotel room, or the bathroom before an interview.
3. The pose actually changes your hormone levels, increases confidence and lowers stress.
As ridiculous as it may seem, you should practice this pose daily leading up to your interview and then use it again on interview day.
Here a few other tips to help you get through the pre-interview jitters:
1) Interview stress is normal for mere mortals. Even the most accomplished professional actors and comedians admit to anxiety before stepping onto stage. Accept that this stress is a natural part of the process, so don’t beat yourself up for feeling stressed.
2) Make stress your superpower! You won’t eradicate the anxiety, so let the adrenaline rush work for you. People who perform well under stress use this feeling to elevate their interview performance. The secret is to expose yourself to complex tasks under pressure repeatedly. For example, Toastmasters asks its members to give speeches to other members on a regular basis, forcing them to become accustomed to stressful situations. You should do the same.
3) Practice your stories. The best way to manage stress is to prepare for your interview. Practice telling your most important stories in mock interviews to friends, family, and anyone who will listen. Don’t memorize answers to specific questions; rather, know your core stories well so that you can answer a myriad of questions in your own unique way.
4) Find your Fortress of Solitude. Even Superman needed to get away from it all. Learn what relaxes you, and practice managing your anxiety before your big day. For many people, music is a way to stop anxious thoughts from running amok. Create a playlist to listen to the night before your interview. You might practice deep breathing and yoga, reciting a positive mantra, and posing like your favorite super hero.