Receiving a job offer after an interview depends on many factors – how well your skills and talents fit what the organization is looking for, how well you communicate your value proposition, how many other qualified candidates are interviewed, and sometimes the capriciousness of the hiring managers.

But one key component of interview success you may not have considered much is what you are thinking about as you prepare for, go through and reflect on a job interview.

I'm not talking about using telepathy or the Law of Attraction to get the job you want, but the degree to which you think optimistically, keep the right things in perspective and maintain a poised mental attitude directly affects the outcome you are hoping for - a job offer that you are really excited about.

What do you think about as you prepare for a job interview? Of course you've done your homework on the organization and the position to the extent you can, you've come up with your key messages you want to get across about yourself and your value proposition, you've practiced answering the toughest questions you can think of, and you've got a great suit or other outfit. But what's your attitude?

Do you view the interview as a “sink or swim”, “do or die” proposition? Are you telling yourself how this one probably won't work out? Are you worried that you won't communicate what the interviewers want to hear?

All of these kinds of thoughts raise your anxiety level. But what you need to be feeling going into an interview is confident, curious and open.

Think about how different you'll sound in the job interview if you are telling yourself these kinds of things beforehand:

  • This is going to be really interesting
  • I'm excited to tell them about my experience with ____________
  • I'm curious about the culture and will be sure to ask the questions I've prepared
  • I'm open to learning whether this company might be a good fit for me
  • I'm going to be fine, whether I get a job offer or not

You will be much more relaxed and open. You won't project energy of “desperation”. All of this will be palpable to you and the interviewers. You'll be able to focus on creating a strong impression and will feel more on top of the interview experience.

During the job interview, it's important to keep the right things in perspective. This also is about calming your mind so you can focus on presenting your strengths to the interviewers. It's also about remembering that as much as they are interviewing you, you are interviewing them.

Examples of thoughts that are out of perspective are:

  • Oh, I think I just blew that question
  • They think I'm too old for this job
  • They think I'm too young for this job
  • What can I say that will convince them I'm right for this job?
  • If I don't get this job, what will I do?

All of these worries distract you from performing your job at the interview. Rather than focusing on what is out of your control, you need to stay present during the interview and keep your mind focused on your selling points and how the conversation is flowing with the interviewers.

The interview is a time when both you and the organization can learn if there is a good “fit” between you. If you lose perspective about this and pretend to be someone you're not, you're doing both you and the organization a disservice. If you misrepresent yourself in the interview and subsequently accept a job offer, how likely is it that you or the organization will be happy?

If there's not a good fit between you and a certain job, learn what you can from the experience and then simply move on. No need to berate yourself or take it personally. How you reflect on your job interview experience directly affects your attitude going into the next one. If you have interviewed for many positions without receiving a job offer, it's time to take a close look at your interviewing skills and perhaps receive some professional coaching.

Optimistic thinking and keeping your perspective both assist you in maintaining a poised mental attitude. Often interviewing can seem like a fairly formulaic and predictable experience, but you need to stay flexible for the occasional curve ball.

Interview situations you may not have experienced yet include:

  • Group interviews
  • “Marathon” interviews at a company for several days
  • Casual interviews in casual places, such as a taxi or the golf course
  • Poor interviewers who ask illegal questions
  • Interview questions that, while legal, strike you as bizarre or irrelevant

If you find yourself in any of these stressful situations, it's easy to panic. Your heart rate goes way up, you may feel confused, and you may not have any idea what to say.

The best approach is to take deep breaths and remind yourself to stay poised. Poise is a skill that all of us have been called on to use, usually without warning. Poise is about staying cool even as your alarm bells are going off.

Before heading to an interview, imagine the situations you might face that could require poise. Visualize yourself staying calm and focused through the stress.

Be confident that you'll get through it and that your intuition about how best to handle the situation will kick in if your mind is not panicking. For maintaining poise requires having access to your intuition, and access to your intuition requires a fairly balanced state of mind.

Thinking optimistically, keeping a certain perspective and maintaining poise all are about calming your mind so that you have the best possible chance of job interview success.

Author's Bio: 

Heather Mundell is a certified professional coach and founder of Dream Big Coaching Services, a national life and career coaching company based in Seattle, Washington. Heather’s clients are successful professionals who desire career happiness. She blends extensive individual coaching experience with a background in corporate HR leadership to help her clients with career planning and career change. Visit her online at her website,
or her blog, life@work, at