Look Confident (Even When You're Not)
Author: Jojo Varona
So, you’ve been looking for work for a while and finally got a couple of interviews for jobs that you really want. Of course, you are excited. And then the nerves set in. But don’t let the nerves get the best of you. You are not alone in feeling this way. Stay relaxed and try these strategies to help you feel calm, cool, and collected – even if you are freaking out on the inside.
Practice breathing exercises while you are waiting for your interview. By doing this, you can channel your nervousness and fear, and be able to focus on something else. Health experts have stated that “breathing is something we can control and regulate, so it is a useful tool for achieving a relaxed and clear state of mind.” Take deep slow breaths through your nose and then slowly blow it out through your mouth.
When I get nervous, I tend to fidget, and my legs start to unconsciously shake or tap. My go-to trick is to keep my hands together on the table or on my lap so I can feel when I get fidgety.
Make Eye Contact.
One of the best ways to look confident is to have natural eye contact throughout the interview. Lack of direct eye contact – looking away, looking down, and not looking the interviewer directly in the eyes is a sure sign of nervousness and lack of confidence. Focus on your interviewer’s face but make it feel comfortable and not have an intense gaze.
Answer the specific questions asked and don’t ramble on or go off on different tangents. It’s incredibly easy to veer off topic and say more than what is needed. Take a pause before answering a question. Make sure that your answers don’t reflect negatively on you or your previous co-workers and managers. Keep your tone sincere, so even if your answer is brief it doesn’t come across as dismissive. And if the interviewer wants you to elaborate more, don’t worry, they will ask.
The best way to calm your nerves and be confident is to be prepared. Make sure that you have brought all the necessary items for the interview and if there is an application form, make sure that it is properly filled out. Be sure that you have read the job description and that you can communicate how your background and experience are applicable to the position. Make sure you know the address of the interview and give yourself enough travel time so that you can get to the interview a few minutes early. Rushing around and getting to the interview with no time to spare will increase your nerves.
The important thing to remember is that while you certainly need to be calm, collected, confident, and prepared to land the position, an interview is not a life or death situation. Hiring managers are humans too and they’ll understand and forgive a few minor blips.