It’s not out of the ordinary to have a regular ritual before a big event. Whether it’s a footballer kissing the turf before a game or a singer rubbing a lucky necklace before a concert, rituals help us feel at ease, improve confidence and focus concentration at times where nerves can easily take over.
Job interviews are no different. Anxiety can overwhelm perfectly capable applicants to the point where they may mince their words, stumble over difficult questions and seize up despite being competent in everyday life. To dampen feelings of anxiety, many people have their own ritual to process before a job interview. Here are five of the most common – and weird – job interview rituals we’ve found.
Speaking to qz.com, interview applicant Alison Wood Brooks has a specific ritual for academic interviews, which are often very intense, and she uses the same pattern when preparing for academic talks.
“I always pack the same outfit and get ready in the same order. I lay out the outfit, do my hair and make-up and put on the suit,” she said. “I practice the talk exactly once” wearing the heels she’d be wearing to the talk or interview. Then, she’s ready for whatever happens next.
Other forms of academia also bring out rituals in people. A recent report suggests one in three students admit to wearing “good luck underwear” to boost their chances in an exam – something many people adopt for interviews. In addition lucky pens, jewellery and charms were also used as a way to improve confidence and seek strength from an inanimate object.
W. Anthony Ellison, a writer noting his job interview rituals for rt38.net, likes to complete simple tasks in order to redirect his anxious energy.
“Shine my shoes,” he states. “This simple task clears my mind of any flotsam and lets me think only about shining my shoes and nothing else.”
He adds: “Press my shirt. Again, I’m redirecting my anxious energy by focusing it on a simple task.”
Not all rituals are based on bringing good luck or reassurance. Some are well-versed in pushing away bad luck, as this journal entry in the Journal of Experimental Psychology explains.
Knocking on wood or throwing salt is a way to ‘undo’ bad luck as these avoidance actions reduce the perceived likelihood of anticipated negative outcomes. As a result, don’t be shocked to see someone knock on a wooden table a few times before a big interview or speech.
This Indian ritual will ensure success in an interview* (*not guaranteed) as the person or persons taking your interview will fall under a spell – attraction.
Take the following ingredients in equal quantity – kapur (camphor), kumkum, sandalwood and tulsi (holy basil) leaves and grind them to make a powder. Mix the power with cow’s milk to make a paste, then apply to the thumb on your right hand and chant this mantra once.
After, the word “amukum” is used in place of the company name or interviewer while the paste is applied as a ’tilak’ mark on the forehead. The interviewer should then fall under the attraction spell and offer you the job. Maybe.