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In the first part of ‘interview tips from an Actor’, I covered the things you should consider physically when preparing for an interview; tackling nerves, articulation, and body language, In part 2, I’ll discuss the more mental aspects of interview prep. Many skills I gained as an actor with a performance degree and professional training have been applied to my everyday life, particularly in dealing with the interview process. So, here are a few key takeaways from the theatrical world to feel mentally prepared.
Research is so key in performance and character work. When performing The Cherry Orchard, you should ideally look up what life was like in 20th Century rural Russia to understand the play. It’s the same with interview prep; if you don’t know much about the company you’re interviewing for, or anything about who’s interviewing you, you won’t feel 100% ready and you’ll be going into the interview on the back foot. There’s a set of questions you can think of that are used when doing character research and can definitely be manipulated for interview research.
Who? What? Why? And Where?
They’re simple questions but will give you plenty of information. So, do your own research online or, if you’ve been in touch with one of Harvey Johns’s expert consultants, they have a wealth of knowledge and insider tips to answer these questions. They’re always happy to talk through the information you need and help you in any way they can.
It may seem straightforward but just to spell it out, here are some ways you can use these questions!
- Who? – Who’s conducting your interview? And what are the names you should know?
- What? – What company are you interviewing for? What do they specialise in?
- Why? – Why are you interested in this role? Why are they looking for someone new?
- Where? – (seems obvious but) Where is the interview? Where will you be based?
Those are just examples of the information you can gather from having those simple questions in your mind when speaking to one of our consultants and also in doing your own research!
2. Getting into Character
Now you may read this and think “Character.. don’t people normally say to be yourself?” and you’d be absolutely right! However, what I’m saying is for you to work on a version of yourself that’s going to help you the most during the interview process.
As an actor, when I prepare for a role, I’ll make lists of what I think my character wants; the stakes for the character, any obstacles they may face, and how the character will get what they want. You can use this to help prepare yourself for an interview. Write down what you want from the interview (assuming the job is at the top of that list!), what the stakes are, or what the important information is, and any obstacles that may get in your way (e.g. maybe you’re quite shy), and how you’re going to get what you want (e.g appearing confident and using the techniques from this blog!)
Visualisation is something that can help you look and feel the part. You can do this in several ways.
- Using an acting technique called emotion memory, developed from Stan the man’s techniques (Formally known as Stanislavski). This is where you remind yourself of a time when you felt, for interview purposes, confident and happy. Use this memory to evoke those emotions before the interview and you’ll go in feeling ready.
- Dressing the part really does help you connect with a role, trust me it’s not hard to connect with the emotions of a Victorian lady once you’ve worn a corset! Moving swiftly on… depending on the company, the dress code may vary drastically. However, no matter how different it might be from your own style, embracing elements of it into how you dress for your interview will make the person interviewing you see that you’re making an effort to fit into the company.
Alex Louise is a member of the Operations team at Harvey John and has an extensive acting background.
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