Want to nail that job interview? Sit up straight.
Or better yet, go out into the hallway beforehand and stand up straight. Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy has recently completed a study which shows that posture affects more than just other people’s perception of us. Assuming a “power posture,” Cuddy says, can actually change your biochemical makeup, making you more of a leader.
“Effective leaders have a classic hormone profile,” Cuddy says. “High levels of testosterone, low levels of cortisol (a stress-associated hormone). But levels are flexible. When an individual takes over the alpha role, their testosterone rises and their cortisol drops. We found two minutes in a power pose — arms and legs stretched out — spikes a person’s testosterone and drops their cortisol.”
She advises job seekers to assume power poses for a few minutes before interviewing or giving a presentation. (One assumes this is best done away from view, lest you be caught doing the physical equivalent of vocal warm-ups by someone you’re hoping will hire you.)
During the interview, Cuddy tells applicants to make themselves “as big as [they] can in a way that feels natural.” The goal isn’t to be aggressive or overly dominant, but rather to project confidence.
Even if you’re interviewing over the phone, power posing has benefits, she says: “The power posers came across as more enthusiastic and competent, even though they weren’t posing during the speech. It seems the posing primed their brains to perform well.”
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