With the mountain of choices a job seeker must make before and during the job interview, the choice of what to eat probably seems arbitrary by comparison. As long as you eat something that keeps you from keeling over with hunger pangs, that should be good enough, right? Not if you want to give your best performance.
Unlike a cartoon locomotive, you can’t just shovel just any foods into your mouth and expect wonders from your internal engine. To properly regulate your thought process, problem solving skills, energy, and anxiety levels, you need to provide your body with proper nutrients that can sustain you through the course of the interview.
For Clear Thinking:
Antioxidant rich fruits and Omega 3 rich fish or nuts are great ways to boost your short-term brain functionality. Just through daily operations, your brain & body create byproducts known as free radicals which in great numbers can subtract from the ability of your cells to perform properly. By eating a few servings of blueberries, cranberries, salmon, or walnuts, you can keep your brain healthy and ensure that you can quickly grab on to strong answers for each interview question.
For Problem Solving:
The strength of your problem solving skills is in direct correlation to your dietary choices. Processed foods or those high in hydrogenated fats or high fructose corn syrup can rob your brain of the traction needed to plow through complex problems. To help yourself thrive during technical interviews or with critical thinking challenges, you should provide your brain with a steady blood flow through foods like olive oil, avocado, or antioxidant rich berries.
Foods filled with high fructose corn syrup can provide you with an initial burst of energy but quickly lead to an energy level crash after you hit your peak. So, always be sure to skip the poptarts, sugar bomb cereals, or energy drinks. For an evenly distributed, sustainable flow of energy, lean foods rich in protein are the best option. Fish, eggs, nuts, and even lean cuts of chicken can provide your body with a source of fuel that surpasses sugary alternatives and guarantees the longevity of higher energy levels.
For Decreased Anxiety:
Even the most prepared job seeker can be plagued by some anxiety. Thankfully, there is a nutritional way to regain your confidence. Chemicals like magnesium & iodine can respectively decrease stress & depression levels. Magnesium is ample in foods like nuts, apricots, spinach, and corn. Iodine, on the other hand, can be found in foods ranging from dried seaweed & cod to baked potatoes & boiled eggs.
Bring them all together:
Some of the above foods earn “super food” status and can provide you with several benefits all at once. Other are goldmines for one specific crucial chemical – seaweed is off the charts with the level of iodine it provides your body. Regardless, your best bet is to combine a number of these in your morning or afternoon meal, providing your brain with a cornucopia of crucial nutrients.
On a final note, there are even some nutritional foods you should avoid before an interview. Garlic may be rich with antioxidants but if you eat garlicky food before you arrive at an interview, your halitosis may leave a bad taste in the hiring manager’s mouth. Broccoli can help with your blood flow and navy beans can decrease your anxiety levels but they can also lead to excessive flatulence, something that has never helped anyone to make a good first impression.
Ultimately, you have to make a conscious decision about your food choices, eliminating both unhealthy & some healthy options to give yourself a better chance at success. Your stomach & future are counting on it.
by James Walsh