Christine Logel and Christopher Lok
It is normal to be nervous at job interviews. But some co-op students, especially in their first co-op term, conclude that their nervousness will undermine their interview performance and put them at a disadvantage relative to other, presumably less nervous, students. With the support of WatCACE funding and opportunities to involve co-op students as participants, the principal researchers are designing and rigorously evaluating a very brief social-psychological intervention to change students’ experience of their own nervousness. Timed to “pop up” as their nervousness builds in the hour before their interview, the message is subtly delivered in writing and verbally that nervousness is normal, and can even be helpful. Pilot study results suggest it could improve students’ experiences of co-op interviews. If the larger-scale, in-progress test is successful, it could provide an additional way for Waterloo’s co-op department to prepare their students for the co-op process, and contribute to the social psychological literature by showing that a very brief message can change mindsets and outcomes.