The must-watch TED talk ahead of your next engineering job interview
Embedded Expertise, Published: May 20, 2019 - Updated: August 30, 2022
Are you an engineer poised for your next job interview? Perhaps you are feeling sweaty palms just at the very thought of it?
When it comes to interview preparation there’s no better place to start than by watching this TED talk by Amy Cuddy.
Focussed on communication through body language, it offers valuable insights about how to approach situations like job interviews, while ensuring you leave a positive impression.
Your Body Language May Shape Who You Are
Perhaps you are an engineer or technical specialist who doesn’t always feel powerful or confident when put on the spot? Here are some tips that should help you make it through that interview with flying colours.
It's all about positive posture
What does your body posture say about you? What does it say about how you communicate to the outside world, and to yourself?
Social psychologist Amy Cuddy suggests performing an 'audit' of your body to observe how you express yourself via non-verbal expressions of power and dominance. In other words, how are you sitting / standing right now? And how do you feel?
Humans – in the same way that the animal kingdom do – tend to pose differently or open themselves up when experiencing different emotions. Just think of the ‘high power’ pose a marathon runner adopts when thundering across the finishing line in first place. In fact, studies have proven that even people who are blind will adopt the same pose in the same situation, leading researchers to believe this high power dominant stance is not copied, but comes from within an individual.
Conversely, when we are feeling small and vulnerable we typically adopt ‘low power’ poses: perhaps hunching over our desks, or trying to hide with a hand placed protectively over our neck. Taking this research a step further, it shows that if there are two people in a room and one has adopted a high power stance, the other will typically adopt the low power opposite.
Fake it til' you make it
Given those considered ‘powerful’ tend to be more assertive and confident, more optimistic, think more abstractly and take more risks; Ms Cuddy’s research strives to uncover whether ‘faking it’ is actually capable of boosting our own feelings of power from the outside, in.
After conducting a series of power posing experiments with a group of volunteers, she found that different poses were capable of affecting the mind and could even have an effect on our level of risk-taking.
Her conclusion is that even tiny tweaks can lead to big changes in our thought patterns, and indeed our non-verbal communication governs how we think and feel about ourselves.
Preparing for the next big interview
Candidates placed in specialist engineering and technical roles through Embedded Expertise receive more than just ordinary job placements. They also receive dedicated contractor care, career advice and culture fit assessments, alongside CV and interview preparation.
That interview preparation starts right here with your body posture.
So, next time you’re nervously sitting in the foyer about to embark on that all-important discussion with a potential employer, don’t hunch over in your chair or attempt to shrink yourself into the corner. Make an effort to sit tall, open your shoulders up or even walk to the bathroom to stretch out in all your powerful glory.
Make yourself feel proud and perhaps you will surprise yourself at just how capable you are in the interview seat?
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