What Actors Can Teach an Interviewee

by Brian Skory

I read a great blog post recently. It began with the words, "Sometimes nerves take over and you don’t show who you are." These were the words of an auditioning actor from the recent movie "Every Little Step," but as the blog post pointed out, they just as well could have been the words of anyone who has been nervous during a job interview. After all, interview nervousness really isn’t a whole lot different than stage fright.

The author then went on to write about advice that various actors and acting coaches have given regarding how to combat stage fright. Some of my favorites are highlighted below:

Prepare for the Audition

John Treacy Egan, star of such Broadway hits as "The Producers" and "The Little Mermaid," had the following advice: be prepared for the audition. Egan spoke about how the more time he spent preparing for an audition, the less jittery he was when the audition rolled around. The same would hold true for preparing for your interview. My top interview preparations:

  • Go online and research the company
  • Research the person who will be interviewing you
  • Prepare some examples of the value you will bring to what that company does

There are very few actors who can simply go into an audition and just wing it. The same would certainly hold true for a job interview.

Be Yourself

Egan also talks about being yourself. Yes, first and foremost you are a performer during the audition, but when the song ends, or the recited lines are finished, someone still needs to connect with you. The same goes for the interviewee. Be prepared to answer the questions well, and ask good questions in return, but don’t forget to be that personable candidate that the interviewer can connect with and like.

Your Costume

Another acting coach stresses the importance of setting the stage for your audition with the clothes you arrive in. She teaches her actors that the better dressed they are going into the audition, the better they will feel about themselves and the less jittery they will be. A large investment in updating your wardrobe is not required for a job interview, but giving your outfit a tune-up will certainly give you a substantial return. For one thing, you will feel better going into your interview, and the impression you make will certainly be better. Watch out for these often overlooked wardrobe pitfalls:

  • Shoes not polished (or with excessively worn soles)
  • Wrinkled shirt or blouse
  • Trousers frayed at the bottom
  • Sweaters or jackets with worn elbows

Each of these could be perceived as sloppy attire, and might be translated as "potential for sloppy work."

Give the above some thought as you head out for your next audition, or interview – whichever the case may be. And break a leg!

As always, we're interested in hearing how your job search is going. Feel free to contact us.

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