When you’re looking for a job, you’ll have the most impact if you feel empowered. However, job search intimidation can rear its ugly  head. It can feel so daunting to be going to interviews in your ‘best outfit’, seeing everyone swishing through reception looking like they are part of an elite club that you’re not in. We imagine ourselves to be alone and clueless, and all those in the know have purposeful jobs. If we were in on the secret, we’d have a job we loved too.

Feel like you’re not as good everyone who is employed? You know that is fake news.

If you feel disempowered going into applications and interviews, even reaching out to network, you’re likely to be stressed out and come across as though you don’t think your contributions matter. The search will feel like a house of cards—if one card falls i.e. you get a rejection or a ghosting, it will all crumble. You may come across as defensive and anxious, then you can’t state your terms or go anywhere near getting the right thing for you.

A recent study (“Imaginary Alternatives: The Effects of Mental Simulation on Powerless Negotiators”, by Michael Schaerer, Martin Schweinsberg, and Roderick Swaab) at INSEAD showed negotiators who imagined they had more options or fall-back positions than they actually did got higher prices out of the other side of the negotiating table. Knowing you are able to walk away from the table and pursue other avenues confers a significant advantage.


WOW. So you can imagine you are in charge and have options? I think so.


But choosing empowerment begins with facing your internal dialogue. This is no perfect science and I get it wrong all the time. Take your “how am I feeling about going back to work” pulse. Begin to tune into what messages are you telling yourself and, by extension, others who could get you a job?

I remember so well interviewing in my company after six years out. There was so much glass in reception, a flashy sky walkway and people walking around with Bluetooth earpieces and digital displays of our latest proof-of-concept wizardry for clients in reception.

Everyone was clever and part of the in-crowd, I was just the person pawing at the window trying to get in.


Then I got in. Because:

• I prepared for the interviews

• I knew my achievements inside and out

• I was clear on what I could bring, both as a deeply experienced senior recruiter and with my own individual experience.

Through doing these things I had given myself absolute confidence in my abilities. Statistically speaking, there was NO-ONE else in the market who possessed this combination. That’s because no-one could possibly have my outlook, experience and insights. No-one else was me.

I told myself (like a mantra) that they needed me more than I needed them, and I knew that if they passed me up, I’d be a great candidate elsewhere.

Spend time developing what your pitch-on-a postcard is to get your message across. Imagine you have nothing to lose, see what happens. You can spin my story for yourself, easily. If not, reach out to me on my Facebook page and I’ll do it for you.

From the Other Side

Two years down the track I went into that flash reception area and it looked tired, familiar and I felt completely part of the furniture. I had allowed myself to get intimidated and disempowered back in that interview process. Ridiculous, now I look back. That’s why I care so much about you not wasting your time, talents or headspace doing the same. Don’t punch below your weight mindset-wise.

You shape this story, no-one else. You approach your search with enthusiasm, as if you have everything to offer, and everything to gain. Fake it until you make it because INSEAD has proven it works.

In this way, you have the mindset that your contributions are valued and you are eager to share ideas and make connections. You come across as having a clear mission and realistic expectations about resources and workload. This helps your cause enormously.

Shift your disempowering thoughts. Stick around the blog as I take you through the steps.

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