What does job seeking have to do with Michael J. Fox?

Fernando Negueruela
Arbora Global Career Partners – Grupo Persona, Spain

I belong to a generation that grew up with the “Back to the future” saga. I used to fantasize
how cool it would be to travel to the past or to the future in a Delorean, and thought which
moment in history I would choose for destination. It took me couple of decades to realize that
we all have an integrated Delorean in our brain, and that we do not stop travelling in time in
our daily lives.

We come back to our past either to remember that day we enjoyed so much, or to regret
something we did or didn´t do. We travel in time to the future either to imagine a better life or
to worry about what could go wrong. In any of these cases, we are provoking in the present
the same body chemistry as if those events we are remembering or imagining were actually
taking place.

This capacity of time travelling can be highly useful, unless we become slaves of the Delorean
and suffer from it. When we drive the Delorean instead of being driven by it, we can charge
batteries from past experiences and engage with our vision for the future.

And, what does all this have to do with searching for a job? Imagine that I attend to a job
interview afraid of being asked about my leadership capabilities because of that one time I lost
my nerves and shouted to my whole team how uncapable they were on achieving results.
There is a fair chance that such fear will condition the whole interview. Or think what would
happen if all I can think of before going to an interview is that they are not going to like me. I
might be already working on the self-fulfilling prophecy.

These are examples on how unintentional time travelling can affect a job seeking process.
Regrets and worries are not good companion to get a job.

No matter your professional background, it is a good idea to work hard on being at peace with
one´s mistakes from the past, and on managing doubts about the future. The questions that a
person fear most in a job interview are a good starting point, bearing in mind that we are all
learners, that making mistakes is the only way to improve. Bringing those mistakes as a liability
to the job interview has a high price. Accept your mistakes, learn from them and talk about
them as a valuable source of professional improvement.

Enjoy your Delorean, use it in your advantage, and be present in the job interview. Three ways
you can work on this are:

  1. Visualize success prior to the interview: choose a quiet place and a moment you will
    not be disturbed. Mentally picture yourself leaving the interview with a smile in your face
    and the sensation that you nailed it. Do this several days before the interview, the
    more the better.
  2. Anchor your attention right before the interview: before stepping in, it is not the
    moment to mentally go through your answers. It is time to relax yourself and connect
    with the present moment. Focus your attention into the movement of your lungs while
    breathing. Or you can also use your senses with an explorative and curious attitude.
    For example, focus on the noises you can perceive furthest away, or visually examine
    an object in front of you, or touch the fingertips of one hand with those of the other as
    if it were the first time you do it, exploring the sensations.
  3. Accept your state before and during the interview: our emotions are just internal
    indicators of how we are relating to our environment. When we try to deny them, they
    become stronger. If you feel nervous and you start thinking “I don´t want to be
    nervous… I do not want to be nervous”, the tension will increase. Acknowledge your
    state and your emotions as a first step to manage them. If you feel nervous, accept it
    and use it in your favor.

The biggest obstacle in a job interview for which you are qualified is yourself. Be prepared, be
present and enjoy meeting your potential new peers.

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