Today’s the day for that all-important job interview you’ve spent the last few days preparing. Now, you’re waiting anxiously for the time to come for you to leave for the interview location, trying not to pace or chew your nails in the meantime. Job interviews are some of the most stressful events we can experience in our lives as we prepare our minds for the questions we’re sure to come and build ourselves up as best we can based on our skills and achievements. As hard as you’ve worked for this opportunity, it’s important still to keep that hard work going as you prepare yourself for stepping into that room and giving it your all, hoping for the ultimate outcome. Having a game plan based on proven strategies can help you further this goal while also building your confidence while you’re in the actual interview. Below you’ll find ten successful strategies to employ during your job interview to build your confidence.
- Come prepared for the interview. To make yourself the most confident you can be, you’ll want to do your research on the company, prepare some sample questions for your upcoming interview, and practice until you could recite those answers in your sleep. You’ll also want to find the right outfit for your interview that expresses your desire for the job by dressing the part while also printing out extra copies of your resume. The prep work you do prior to entering the interview room can help you succeed in getting the job you’ve worked hard to possess. The night before or the morning of your interview you’ll want to ensure all of your materials are together with the help of a folder or portfolio, so you can pick it up and go, knowing you have everything you need. Before you speak with anyone at the company, you’ll also want to check your attire for any finishing touches, such as tucking in shirt tails or straightening your tie, and check your makeup and teeth for any blemishes there. When you’re perfect, walk in like you belong there.
- Stay calm before and during your interview. As you wait for your interviewer to come to you, you’ll want to keep yourself calm by doing something. Just make that something constructive like taking notes on a sheet of paper in your folder or portfolio. As you appear calm and confident, you’ll sell yourself to the front office personnel as well as make a first impression with your interviewer as he/she comes for you. As you walk to the room where you’ll have the interview, you can take in your surroundings for notes later based on your impressions. When it comes to your actual interview, you’ll want to employ subtle techniques to keep yourself calm during this nerve-wrenching time. This can be slow breaths, changing your posture to comfortable yet professional one, and keeping your hands palm up on your lap when not being used for demonstrations or emphasis.
- Use nonverbal communication to your advantage. Control your movements as you sit across from your interviewer. Shifting your body, overusing your hands, crossing your arms or legs, and other communication with your body can send the wrong impressions to your interviewer, working against you in the end. You’ll want to find a position where you feel relaxed yet maintaining a professional about yourself. Most will find your feet flat on the floor with your hands in your lap, shoulders straight and making eye contact, is the best way to keep one’s self comfortable and less prone to unnecessary movements. If you’re an astute reader of these nonverbal cues, you can also learn a lot about your interviewer based on his/her posture and body language during your time with them. If you read it correctly, you can use it to your advantage to steer your answers to those that appeal to them while remaining true to you and your skills.
- Build a professional bond with your interviewer. This step seems like a counter-intuitive one as you don’t want to become too friendly with your interviewer, but you can set a lighter mood or more welcoming mood by using professional mannerisms like shaking hands, making eye contact, smiling in greeting, and small talk as both of you walk the short distance to the interview room and as you settle into the formal interview process. This bond you build with them is the beginning test with them as you prove your communication skills, both verbal and nonverbal. This bond can also be a way of calming yourself further as you learn some things about your interviewer’s personality and demeanor from this first interaction. This is also the time where both of you set the tone for the interview itself as you give and take with the hiring manager.
- Be yourself (your professional self). To be truly comfortable in any situation, it’s best to be yourself as you complete the following steps within your interview because being someone else can be difficult and will set you up for failure. While you want to be yourself, you want to remember it’s your professional self you want to portray. With this in mind, you’ll want to temper how you speak with your interviewer. He/she is not there for friendship nor does he/she want to hear inappropriate language. You’ll want to avoid slang that’s not accepted within the professional world as well. You’re building yourself as a professional and speaking like one is a key step in becoming one. Since the interview should only last half an hour or so, you should be able to remain professional for that long at least.
- Listen to your interviewer. As you’re sitting in the interview, you’ll find that your interviewer will do as much talking as you more or less because he/she will have information to present you about the company and the position. This information is important to retain for your own edification because it can be used by tailoring your answers based on the information and/or you can find a question or two to ask to show you’ve been listening. As you’re being tested for your communication skills, listening is just as important as speaking, if not more so, because this will show you’ll interact with others in your department and with potential customers. So make sure you’re in the moment and listening to what’s being said, so you can show him/her you’re worth their choice for the open position.
- Answer the questions you’re asked. You’ve spent all that time preparing sample questions to prepare yourself for this important event. You’re more than ready for them to ask those questions and then you’re hit with a surprise twist. Your interviewer has asked you a similar question, but one that won’t work as well with the answer you’ve prepared. Being able to think quickly on your feet and tweaking your answer are the keys to success in this respect. You don’t want to keep to your original answer because you’re going back to the listening part of these steps. If you answer the question as it’s asked, you can walk away feeling like you’ve achieved some major success for yourself and your confidence because you’ve proven you were listening and understood the question as it was asked.
- Have examples for your skills. To best answer most questions you’ll be asked, you’ll want some concrete examples of how you’ve used your skills in previous situations. You want to show them you’re great at problem solving for customers as past customers presented complaints to you for you to solve to a mutual satisfaction. You also want to show them how your skills have helped your previous company or even with a previous situation. This also goes along with your achievements towards sales and/or production growth for your previous company. If this is your first position, you’ll want to show where you’ve achieved something of worth based on your skills like solving a problem within a group or mediated between two parties for the best possible outcome. No matter your skills, you’ll want to show how, when, and where you’ve used them with as many details as you can recall to demonstrate how your skills are needed for the company and how you’ll use them to the company’s advantage.
- Ask questions of your own. Another extension of listening is using the information you’ve gained from the interview and prior research to ask questions of your interviewer. This is important because it shows you’ve come prepared for the position by doing your homework based on the questions you ask. While you’ll want to avoid questions regarding salary, you can ask about a typical day for that position to bolder questions. Just be aware if you ask a bolder question like an interviewer’s opinion of you and your fit for the job, you’ll want to be prepared for the answer. You’ll want to have a counter-argument for their answer especially if it’s a negative response. As you ask questions, you can gain more information for yourself that you didn’t have before about the company, the atmosphere of the company, policies and beliefs, and more. This will aid you in your decision as well should they extend a job offer to you.
- Avoid desperation. This one seems like common sense, but it’s also a hard one if you’re truly desperate for a job of any kind. Even if you are desperate for a position, you want to act like you don’t need it. All your worries about the outcome of the interview should be left at the front door of the company or in your car. Bringing that kind of negativity with you can set you up for failure, which is something you don’t want when you’re interviewing. If you can’t put aside your worry, then use calming techniques available to you and utilize them so you’ll appear confident with the hiring manager. Draw upon all your research and keep yourself in the moment by implementing the previous steps to see you to the natural conclusion of your interview. At all times, you’ll want to refrain from mentioning how much you need this job. Instead, you’ll want to focus on how excited you would be in joining the company for one or two reasons because they fit with your personality.
With each of these strategies and their successful usage during your interview, you’ll gain some boosts to your confidence as you settle into the interview and progress it to a favorable conclusion. Gaining confidence with your interviewing strategy can begin even before you enter the interview room by taking the time to research all you can about the company and practice your responses (verbal and nonverbal) to any potential questions you could asked. As you prepare yourself, you’ll want to picture yourself getting the job offer because of your outstanding interview. This initial confidence can help you in the long run because you feel confident even when you’re sitting in the room, trying to remain calm. You can draw upon this feeling and allow it to flow through you, infusing you with the power to drive home your reasons you deserve this position above all other candidates. As a final piece of advice for keeping your confidence going after the interview and increasing your chances, send out your thank you note to the hiring manager. This is your ultimate show of confidence and appreciation for being interviewed by the company.
Robert Moment is an interview coach,speaker and author of Interview Tips:Proven Job Interview Tips, Interview Questions and Interview Skills to Get Hired in Job Interviews for the Job You Want. of. Robert specializes in how to interview tips and skills, helping professionals maximize their knowledge, skills and abilities to get hired,promoted and paid more in job interview opportunities. Robert tell professionals why they aren’t getting hired for jobs and teach them, how to get hired, how to sell themselves , stand out from the competition and negotiate the best salary for themselves.