Boost Your Confidence Pre-Interview
Author: Frederick Ezekiel Pasco
After a plethora of job applications (and probably some rejections emails), there will come a point when the sun breaks through the clouds and you're asked what day you are available for an interview. While job searching and applying is certainly a difficult, demanding task, interviewing isn’t exactly a walk in the park either. The list below probably won’t make you an instant master conversationalist or interviewee, but it may help you build up some confidence leading up to the interview itself, which can do wonders for your success rate.
Interviews can make or break your candidacy for a job but when you fixate on that fact more than is necessary, your nervousness shoots through the roof. Despite the gravity of the situation, the best way to combat this negativity cycle is to decide what the best possible outcome could be, and then envision that happening. Before you step into the building (or if it’s an online interview, before you turn on your computer), think about how you’ll design your desk or how comfortable your new office chair is going to be when you are taken on staff.
I’ve been to interviews myself where I thought I would be grilled but I walked out with a big smile on my face after a fantastic and productive conversation. Remember that both you and the interviewer are after one thing, making the best fit possible!
Look the Part
Nothing beats a classic suit for men and a powerful blouse and dress pants for women when it comes to projecting power and confidence. Trust me when I say that you don’t want to wonder while en route to your interview whether you’ve underdressed for the occasion. While you may not want to wear something you’d put on to attend a black-tie event, it’s always best to look as presentable and professional as possible.
Look in the mirror once you put on your outfit. Bask in the glory of your business formality. Repeat to yourself, “I can do this.” If you've dressed appropriately, your outfit will echo this message throughout the day.
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect, and this is absolutely true for interviews. Interviews should absolutely be a conversation between you and the interviewer, but you have to remember that they are also simultaneously a performance. One of the most popular interview questions, and one I’ve had trouble with in the past, is, “tell me something about yourself.” This is your best opportunity during the entire interview to make a positive impression. You don't necessarily have to share something personal, but you absolutely need to have a compelling answer prepared that expresses your personality and strengths. Once you've figured out that answer you will have a great roadmap to make it through several other common interview questions.
Go through your resume and master it but do not memorize its contents. You’d want to be able to cite the experiences that you've had and pick out lines from those experiences that best suit the position you are applying for. You’re not just telling them who you are, you’re also giving them an insight into how you’ll mesh in their office environment and how you'll present yourself professionally as an employee. Being clear and succinct is always the key. I’d suggest practicing in front of a mirror or even leaving yourself a voicemail to listen to. This will allow you to get a better idea of whether your messaging needs some tweaks in words, tone, or content.
You don’t have to race through every question. It’s not a sprint. If you rush through the process and answer a question you have little understanding of in the first few questions, the rest of the interview will become much more difficult as you’ll be sweating with nervousness. Take a pause and think before you give an answer.
Ask them to repeat it if you didn’t hear or understand it the first time is perfectly acceptable and not something to be embarrassed about. A slower but well thought out answer is better than a rushed, haphazardly made one.
There’s not just one way to build your confidence for interviews. It takes time and practice to be comfortable being put in the hot seat. The last thing you want is for your mind to be in a state of defeat during an interview though. When you’re able to manifest your success in your mind you’ll be setting yourself up for triumph!