The words “confidence” and “interviewing” rarely go hand in hand. Just the idea of an interview is enough to make most job seekers blood run cold. It can be scary! Most people spend hours trying to prepare. An entire book genre exists to help. Yet, it still seems the days, hours, and minutes leading up to an interview are incredibly nerve wracking. The impact can be a sub par experience.
Webster defines confidence as a feeling of self-assurance coming from appreciation of your own abilities or qualities. So essentially interview confidence comes from mastering the key abilities that define success in an interview. The trick is understanding what a recruiter is looking for.
How do we swap fear for confidence?
You’ve heard the saying, “fake it till you make it”? This list will give you the basic skills to appear confident during your interview. All you need to do is start practicing so you can execute them like a pro. They may not take the jitters away, but no one will be able to tell they even exist. All a recruiter will see is a confident candidate standing in front of them.
As a candidate you may not see it, but your recruiter is in the sales business. They are looking for the best mix of experience, attitude, presence, and potential. Once they have it they will help sell their perfect candidate to the hiring manger. Make the recruiter envision you in the role and that job is as good as yours.
One thing you need to know is confidence doesn’t happen overnight. There is no grand speech you can recite in front of the mirror to flip a switch. It takes time and practice. Think of it like re-wiring your belief system. Once you identify the wires that need tweaked you keep working to fix it. When the time is right, it just happens.
How do I know what wires to tweak? Start here.
7 Secrets To Help You Interview With Confidence:
1- Do Your Research
This is so important! Your first impression is made within the first 7-seconds. That means your recruiter is making a decision almost immediately. Make sure you are prepared! Know the company, the position, their culture, and who you are meeting with. Leave no stone unturned. This information is crucial not only to make the best impression, but it is necessary as you tackle #2.
2- Learn How To Tell Your Story. Then Practice!
Your story is more than a bunch of bullets on paper. It is your brand. You need to take some time to really think about what you have done that lead you to this moment. Identify your passions, accomplishments, reputation, and strengths. Interviewing is the one time it is good to toot your own horn as long as you can do so in a humble way. Be sure to include an honest look at any struggles and failures. After all, failure means success as long as we learn from it.
Now, take some time to understand how your story relates to them. What does the job tell you about their needs? Your story needs to highlight your strengths in exactly those areas without just stating the obvious. Incorporate it in a story. For example, if you know this role requires strong knowledge of Excel then make sure you include specific projects you worked on in a past role that showcases the depth of your Excel skills.
Your story needs to highlight the most relevant aspects when compared to this job. It doesn’t mean you are stretching the truth or making things up. It is about picking and choosing the facts that help show the recruiter why you are their perfect candidate. Then practice telling it out loud.
3 – Look The Part
Interviewing is the best excuse for a shopping trip. If you don’t like shopping, it is worth the pain for the results you will achieve. It is so important to choose an outfit that fits perfectly. Most importantly it needs to make you feel like a million dollars. Don’t try to dress up an old suit or make due with what you have in your closet if it isn’t perfect. You need to feel like heads turn when you enter the room. It’s a huge confidence booster!
When you feel good in what you have on it shows in how you carry yourself. You may have more than one round of interviews and you want to look sharp each time without repeating the look. Plan for 2-3 different outfits. It can be the same suit with different looks to help the budget. If you aren’t sure how to put the look together, find your most fashion forward friend to help and give feedback on fit. Don’t just ask the sales person. Chances are they make a commission and you need to ensure you are getting good advice.
4 – Focus On Body Language
You need to be on from the moment you pull up to the building. You never know who may be watching. The first 7-seconds happen fast. Things like making eye contact, smiling, and having a good strong hand shake. There is nothing worse than a floppy fish in your hand. Even when you feel like you are awkward, unsure or nervous you need to be able to hide that and project confidence.
This is going to sound crazy, but practice smiling in the mirror. Notice how your eyes smile too. Practice making your eyes smile even when your mouth doesn’t. This is a trick to help make you appear engaged like you are having a good time. It can help to hide the fear in your eyes.
If you fall into the bucket of being more introverted, an interview is the time to step out of your comfort zone and be extroverted for a short time. It’s so important to connect with the people you are meeting. You want them to know you are excited and interested in working with them.
5 – Prepare Good Questions
Put thought into questions you can ask related to the job, the company, and the team culture. You should be prepared with at least 2-3 good questions for the end of your interview. If you meet with multiple people you need to ask different questions for each person. They will compare notes! Always ask at least one question. Too many candidates say they don’t have any questions. As a recruiter, I wondered how that could be.
The best way to prepare is to use your research. Then write your questions down in a notebook so you won’t forget them (a really nice one you can take into the interview). Open it. Use it. So many people bring them and very few crack them open. It is impressive to see a candidate open a notebook with prepared questions or jotting down notes while we talk. It demonstrates interest. Plus, the best part is you don’t have to memorize all of those questions. Break them out if small talk starts to lull. Just make sure you save some for the end.
6- Control Your Nerves
It is normal to feel nervous! Gaining confidence doesn’t mean they will disappear. You need to learn how to control them. Take a slow, deep breath. Focus. Envision yourself getting this job. If you are following this list, you are prepared. Everything you need: notes, questions, and reminders are in your notebook. Regardless of the outcome, you need to trust you bring a lot to the table. The recruiter wouldn’t have invited you to interview if they didn’t agree and see potential. Remember that!
7 – Build Connections
Remember, your goal is to make the recruiter (and others you interview with) see you as part of the team. Ask them about their career or identify things you have in common. Did you attend the same school or maybe work with a common person in the past? Mention any big news stories that relate to the company or industry. If they mention something during the interview that you chat about make a note of it. Reference that connection when you follow up later so they know you remember and enjoyed the conversation. Don’t be afraid to make small talk as you walk down the hall with them or get introduced to a person on the team. Every authentic connection helps them see you in the role.
Take The First Step
Keep in mind confidence doesn’t just happen. It is all in the preparation and practice. Download this guide to get an edge over everyone else. Now, go get ’em!