The thought of a job interview evokes fear for many individuals, including many of my clients.  The majority of the time it’s about lack of confidence or the pressure to perform.  This feeling is enhanced when you really want a specific job or believe this is your dream role.

Research has shown that our minds and the way we think can affect our bodies.  Yet, do you realize that your body posture can actually impact the way you think and feel about yourself?  This is especially important during a job interview or when you’re giving a presentation.

Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist has conducted research on power and dominance in human behavior.  Her findings validate that people in power roles or those who feel powerful actually exude confidence and are resilient to stress.  Being confident and unaffected by stress are 2 traits that are desired in a job interview or during a presentation.  So, what can you do to easily shift into success when it feels like you’re under a microscope or being judged during the interview process?

Listen to Amy Cuddy’s TED talk where she provides a quick 2-minute technique that can actually change the outcome of your next job interview.  Just like athletes achieve peak performance with practice, you too can become more confident and less stress reactive by practicing power posing as demonstrated below.

Remember, if you need more support to guide you through preparing for your next significant interview or presentation;  be sure to seek out the services of an expert interview coach who has a whole toolbox of techniques to make it easy and effortless.

Posted by Wanda Ropa, The Success Coach.

One Response to “San Francisco Career Coach Shares How 2 Minutes Can Impact Your Next Job Interview”

  1. How interesting that we discovered this Amy Cuddy research at about the same time, Wanda. I saw her TED Talk a few weeks ago, and in fact wrote her an email:

    —–Original Message—–
    From: cameron — ferocecoaching.com
    Sent: Friday, October 12, 2012 11:57 AM
    To: Cuddy, Amy
    Subject: Your Ted Talk — and a question

    Hi Amy,

    I enjoyed your Ted talk, which I just watched this evening (I was doing research on a startup that aims to wed positive psychology and predictive analytics with technology that can be used by individuals, teams, or organizations.) I still remember one of the earliest findings of acting as if: that the physiology of a smile affects our mood, even if the smile isn’t real. Looks like there’s been a lot of work since then, and I’m grateful to you for summarizing some of it.

    I can understand, in terms of natural selection, why we might get a rush of testosterone if we assume a power pose in front of others — i.e., if we’re asserting a signifier socially. Could we also get that rush because of thoughts we get to think (“I’m powerful”)? You may have controlled for that by not telling the subjects the meaning of their poses; I’d have to think (or know) more about it.

    However, waht if there were a Heisenberg Uncertainty effect? Can you control for the fact that a person knows she’s being watched, recorded, measured — judged? Is there research that’s tested people doing power poses without any knowledge of their being observed? If we are wired to get the rush because it’s been an oft-rewarded act of social assertion, can we also go into a bathroom stall before an interview and raise our arms into victory?

    On a another note, have you studied asanas and the yogic explanations for them? I imagine that would be fertile soil.

    Best of luck,

    Cameron Powell

    Below is her response, sent on the same day, and which I’ve not yet replied to:

    In the testosterone study, Ps were not told that study was about power (told an unrelated cover story that had to do with placement of (fake) ECG sensors). They also weren’t shown pictures of the poses, which is what we did in the first, unpublished study; we wanted to be sure we weren’t just priming the concept of power. Instead, the poses were described to them by the experimenter, who then left the room.

    Is the Heisenberg Uncertainty effect the same as an observer-expectancy effect? Sorry — not sure. If it is, then I don’t think we know for certain the answer to your question. In the first study (not measuring hormones but getting same effect sizes on other DVs), participants looked at photos of the poses and then copied them. I don’t believe the experimenter was in the room (small, one-person breakout rooms). In the second, the experimenter was there for a moment, then left. In both, they were video recorded, but I don’t recall if they knew they were being recorded, which we did just to make sure they (1) got the poses right, and (2) remained in the poses.

    I ran another study at Harvard where I had people adopt affiliative/warm poses or unaffiliative/cold poses (still struggling with what to call these). In this study, there was no experimenter present during the poses, which they copied from photos, and, although they were being watched via camera, it’s so subtle that I think most Ps forget it’s happening. In this study I got changes on both testosterone (men’s precipitously DROPS in the affiliative/warm pose condition) and cortisol (weird gender x pose interaction that I don’t yet understand). So I don’t know for sure.

    I just submitted an IRB to run a bunch of follow ups that sort of start to get at some of these issues. In one, I’m going to explicitly tell people about the findings (i.e., that adopting these poses has these effects) and see it the effects hold. In another, I’m going to have people simply imagine themselves in the poses. I’m also just finishing a study where I look at the effects of working on electronic/computer devices that force them to contract (iphones, ipads) versus devices that allow for more open postures (i.e., MacBooks, iMacs).

    I recently started working with a student who also owns a yoga/Pilates studio, but I’m not really sure where we’re going with that. The feedback I’ve gotten from yoga instructors has been “Yay, thanks for giving us some science to back up what we’ve been saying,” so I haven’t gotten pushback from them telling me it’s a different mechanism, but maybe they’re just being polite.


    Amy J. C. Cuddy, Associate Professor
    Harvard Business School

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