Breathe — Job Interview Advice You Need

I was watching the Spurs/Clippers game on Saturday. Great game, the Clippers won by two to advance to the second round of the NBA playoffs. I’m a Spurs fan, so I was sorry to see them eliminated in the first round after winning the championship last year.

But as I was watching, I saw something that I thought would make a great blog post. Near the end of a very close game, Doc Rivers the Clippers coach, called a time out. The cameras were on him and his mike was open. He spent the entire time out telling his players to “breathe.” In other words to relax and play their game and things will work out. They did. Chris Paul made a very difficult shot with one second remaining to give them the win.

The career advice I found in Doc Rivers’ coaching advice “breathe” was simple common sense. All too often, especially when we are feeling stressed, it is easy to get caught up in the hysteria of the moment. The best thing to do in such situations is to breathe — remain calm and focus on what you can control. On Saturday night, the Clippers could control two things, how well they played offense and how well they played defense. The officials, the crazed crowd, the national TV audience and the defending champions were out of their control. They needed to relax and breathe.

The same holds true when you are looking for a job. Yesterday I met with one of my MBA students who is job hunting. She has a panel interview coming up. She’ll be facing four people who will decide if she will get the job she wants. I gave her much the same advice as Doc Rivers gave the Clippers.

I told her to take a couple of deep breaths before the interview got started and to focus on what she can control. In this case, she had done a great job of anticipating questions she was likely to receive and had practiced her answers. She was ready on that front. I also told her to take the time to gather her thoughts before she answered an unexpected question. In other words, breathe.

I also suggested that she begin her answers by looking directly at the person who asked her the question. Then to slowly make eye contact with the other members of the panel as she answered, returning to the person who asked the question as she finished.

The common sense point here is simple. Take the time to breathe, to compose yourself when you’re in a tense situation – like an important NBA game or a job interview. This will help you move forward with confidence and lead to your success.

Your career mentor,

PS: I write this blog to help people create the life and career success they want and deserve. Now I’m going one step further. I’ve created a membership site in which I’ve pulled together my best thoughts on success. And, as a reader of this blog, you can become a member for free. Just go to to claim your free membership. You’ll be joining a vibrant and growing community of success minded professionals. I hope to see you there.

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