It’s no secret that interviews are stressful. For those of us who struggle with confidence, whether it’s nerves, shyness, or the realities of being an introvert, a high-stress situation like an interview can create a whole new set of challenges to navigate.
Luckily, appearing confident is a social skill that can be learned, the same way you’d learn to cook or ride a bike! With a little practice, you’ll be able to tackle those internal roadblocks and give your interview with self-assurance and ease.
Here are some tips to help you through the most stressful part of your job hunt:
For those of us who have a hard time talking about our accomplishments, preparing as much as we can ahead of time is the key to a successful interview.
- Choose your outfit ahead of time. How you feel in your interview attire sets the foundation for how you’ll feel in your interview. Don’t wear something that makes you uncomfortable or self-conscious – pick an outfit that makes you feel amazing! Not sure what your look is communicating? Take a picture in your outfit the night before and send it to your bestie for some feedback.
- Practice your answers out loud. The best way to showcase your confidence is to know your stuff and know it well. Make a list of the potential questions that your interviewer might ask and formulate your answers from there. Take note of any specific stories or examples you can draw on from previous positions to drive your point home. And, it’s always a good idea to do a run-through of your answers out loud, whether you find a friend or roommate to help you practice or you do it on your own.
When we’re feeling anxious, one of the most difficult things to do is keep our minds clear of negative thoughts. Practice self-awareness when it comes to your thought process and stay mindful of negativity, especially when it comes to your professional capabilities. It’s good to acknowledge those thoughts as they arise, but only to recognize that they are there, and let them go.
- Think positive. Instead of dreading all of the potential things that could go wrong, visualize a successful interview, all the way down to specific details. Get a clear picture of how you’ll walk into the room, how you’ll make a strong connection with your interviewers, and how you’ll effortlessly answer their questions. Believe that you are the best person for the job and let that confidence drown out any doubts you might have.
- Make friends with your anxiety. Acknowledge that you are feeling anxious, and that it’s perfectly normal to feel that way. You can be aware of the nerves without letting them call the shots.
Be aware of your body language.
Nonverbal language speaks volumes. Sometimes it’s not what you say, but how you say it that reveals how you feel about yourself. Interviewers are paying attention to how you carry yourself, in addition to how you answer their questions. If you’ve got the time, record yourself in a mock interview with a friend – and watch it. As awkward and uncomfortable as it might be, it will provide you with an objective viewpoint of how your body language comes across.
- Make eye contact. Show the interviewer you’re confident and engaged by making eye contact with them while you’re speaking (but avoid creepily staring at them!). The same goes for smiling – smile to demonstrate that you’re excited to be there, but don’t keep a fake grin plastered on your face.
- Sit up straight and lean in. You want to appear interested and alert, so be careful not to cross your arms, and definitely avoid slouching.
- Put your hands in your lap. If you’re prone to fidgeting or are shaky from nerves, keeping your hands in your lap will help you remain still, which is a surefire sign of confidence and poise.
Interviewing for a job you really want is a big deal, and a successful interview has the power to drastically change your life! By putting in the time and preparation, even the most anxious candidate can learn how to gain the confidence to nail their dream interview.