During my years as a dancer and performer I spent more than my fair share of time in auditions. After all, that’s what you do if you want to get a gig. You prepare the best that you can and going into the room to battle your nerves, the views of the audition panel and the looks you’ll get from those auditioning with you. It’s a lot like interviewing but with more movement. In interviews you still have to battle your nerves, the views of the panel and the looks you’ll get from those who just interviewed as they pass you in the hall. Both situations spark memories of sweaty palms, extreme smiling and strategic clothing choices. Why on earth do we put ourselves through this torture? Oh yeah, to get a job.
Another similarity I have found over the years between auditions and interviews is that in both situations you rarely find out why you didn’t get the job. That makes it tough to work on weaknesses before you go out for another opportunity, but you can’t let it keep you from walking through the door and trying it all over again. In the last 5 years I have begun to see interviews as a positive challenge and it all came from an audition experience I had back in my teenage years.
As a teenager I was fixated on attending the Broadway Theater Project summer intensive if it killed me. The first time I auditioned I signed in, gave them my paperwork and received a number that put me all the way at the bottom of the list. I was there all day just waiting, listening to the other auditionees, and panicking about my turn. When my chance finally came I did the best that I could for a kid with desperation oozing out of every pore. To my amazement I didn’t get accepted that first year. I huffed and puffed and sobbed when the letter came announcing that I would spend another summer without BTP in my life.
A year later, and several more auditions under my belt, I went back to audition again. This time I was the first person to arrive at the audition and I actually waited for another attendee to arrive and sign in before me just so I wouldn’t be the very first. Before I even walked in the door I decided that the audition wasn’t going to be the end of my world. I auditioned the year before and my getting in was their loss. Although it was cocky at the time, my plan of attack was to go in there and show them what they missed out on. They laughed at my comedic monologue, smiled at my song and passed my resume along during the dance portion. In my mind I had decided that I wouldn’t have another audition where I left the smell of desperation behind me when I exited the room.
Years later I did the same thing when I interviewed for a job. I already had a job at the time, so in my mind I told myself it would be their loss if they went with a different candidate. I landed the job. Now I know many people who would walk into a room with this thought pattern and come off as a disrespectfully self-indulgent applicant. However for someone like me, who tends to be a bit more reserved and less confident in some situations, this is just the push I need. It is my own mental reminder that I am an amazing candidate that has so much to offer. If you’re oozing desperation at your next interview, feel free to pull this page right out of my book and see how it works for you. This tactic keeps me cool, calm and collected so my game face is on when I need it the most. Give it a try and see how it works for you.
Here’s a sneak peek at what dancers and other performers go through when we step into auditions: