Earlier this week I attended a group interview assessment day to be a Team Assistant on a summer programme for young people in the UK. The night before the interview I almost persuaded myself out of going. I was anxious and unsure of myself. But in that moment I decided to think about the day differently, to approach it from a different perspective. No experience has ever been exclusively negative, I have found some glint of brightness in my worst ones. I decided to think instead about what positives would come from the day and how I wanted to feel on reflection.

To see the day as an opportunity for learning I changed my mindset. With that in mind, I was more present and relaxed throughout the entire day, and decided to pen down a few of my own musings that helped me see the day in a brighter light.

Don’t lose your kindness in stressful situations

When your mind is racing and you feel anxious, it’s easy to not feel present and relaxed. But remember that you are a fantastic person. You are not defined by your qualifications and skills. So be pleasant and be polite with the people you interact and engage with. Manners cost nothing, who knows who you may meet, and they may remember your positivity and your willingness to be open from the beginning. In any environment, being kind can separate you from many others – particularly if you are working with these people in the future!  

Enjoy other people in the room

As great and unique as you are, it is important to acknowledge that so is every other person and candidate in the room! Each person is there for a different reason, with varied experiences and things that they bring to the table. Instead of responding defensively to someone delivering a great speech or presentation, be open. Listen to what they say as if it were a friend – what do they do well, what is important to them and what you could learn from them? Respect that you may be a full package, but no package is identical. People are incredibly interesting, and an interview environment can work as the perfect fish bowl to look at yourself and other people’s behaviour.

Learning about your own words and behaviour

On a similar note, key to doing well and getting the most out of an interview experience is being aware of your own words and behaviour. Often when you are under pressure or are given a time constraint to speak, it’s interesting to reflect on what you say – especially when discussing your personal self – what when given thirty seconds do you say is most important to you? What did you immediately think you could offer the programme? What experiences did you find yourself comfortable talking about? Being in the moment and later reflecting on  group environments and an interview setting can teach you a heck of a lot about YOU!

Be aware of what you are and aren’t comfortable with

You can experience a lot of different emotions and experiences when in new environments and facing unpredictable events. You may realise that you feeling extremely hesitant or anxious about certain things – whether that be speaking in front of a group, taking part in group activities, or debating different ideas. But it’s important to bear in mind what you feel very comfortable with and in fact, excel at. It’s empowering when you reflect on your experience to think about your own strengths and weaknesses and what you can do to put yourself in the strongest position moving forward.

Obviously there are many lessons to be learnt from every experience, but thinking about this in particular brought me to four key points that helped me to focus on both doing well and my  wider aims of growth and learning – I hope you enjoyed it!

P.S I am yet to hear back about whether I got the job, but regardless (tho I would really like it :), I am grateful for the experience and of course, the ever-so interesting lessons.