Best of times, worst of times

Kay Hanson Headteacher Rawthorpe junior school Huddersfield

I was just appalling at interviews - I used to get so nervous. Normally I'm not a nervous person. I'm confident in all sorts of ways. For instance, I can speak to public audiences. But interviews were always my Achilles heel.

I would have a nervous rash on my neck and my voice would change. I'd try hard to relax and to do all the mental preparation, but in fact I wasn't relaxed at all - so I was giving out a very intense persona, which isn't me. In an interview situation, I just wasn't in control.

It caused upset at home: I'd be nervous and feel sick before an interview. My family had a lot to put up with, but afterwards it would be total relief that it was over. Afterwards, I'd tell myself that I didn't want the job anyway. And then it would be total self-assassination and I'd be really negative with myself.

It sounds strange, but seeing the film The Matrix helped me overcome my nerves. I was fascinated by it, because it's to do with digital intelligence and I'm very much into information technology. The main character can do anything he wants - Jhe just puts in a new program. I made sure all my friends watched it - it's that idea of believing in yourself.

Later, at interview, I knew I was going to get this job and I felt like that - I'd mentally prepared myself for walking into the room and for the questions I was likely to be asked. When I came away, I was completely calm and not in any way nervous. I just thought: "Well, when they ring, do I say Yes or do I say No?" I was completely in control of the situation.

It's all to do with self-belief. I seriously believe that this is a key element to success. You look at mannerisms, you look at what you wear and you look at how you might project yourself.

All those areas are incredibly important - especially so because this is the first impression that somebody is going to have of you.

Interview by Martin Whittaker

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