If you’re not confident in yourself, why should an employer be confident in hiring you? Appearing more confident at job interviews will help you make a better impression and improve your chances of getting the job.
These are some strategies to use before, during and after your interview to boost your confidence.
Before the Interview
1. Do your research. Learn everything available about the company. Set up a Google Alert to notify you of the latest news. Check your network to find anyone who works there or knows someone who does.
2. Write out your questions. Putting your questions into writing will help you cover all the material. It also gives you something to refer to while you are interviewing.
3. Practice with mock interviews. Running through a mock interview with a friend can help bring your attention to any involuntary nervous gestures or topics that need more research. Prepare your answers to any tough questions such as a termination or extended time off. If you are on your own, try testing yourself in front of a mirror. At Deep End Talent Strategies, we offer mock interviewing as a very affordable service. We can record your session for you (or not, your choice) and provide valuable feedback.
4. Work out. Aerobic exercise helps carry more oxygen to your brain. You will be able to think clearer and express yourself better. Get up early for a morning jog or take a brisk walk right before your meeting. Just be sure not to overdo it. (You do not want to arrive limping from sore muscles.)
5. Dress comfortably. Ensure your suit or whatever attire is appropriate fits well so you can move and sit down with ease. Wear shoes that are good for walking. Your potential employers may want to give you a tour of the place.
At the Interview
1. Shake hands. Look the interviewer in the eye, smile and shake hands firmly. If your palms tend to feel a little wet when you are nervous, carry some powder so you can dust them off first.
2. Have your small talk ready. Now’s the time to show off your personality. When your interviewer asks you about yourself, have a quick but amusing statement to make about your hometown or follow up on a comment they make.
3. Accept any hospitality. Answer in the affirmative if you get offered coffee or water, as long at it appears to be convenient for them. It gives you a chance to look like you feel at home and to demonstrate your good manners.
4. Get settled. Arrange your gear so that you can write and retrieve papers without any fumbling. Use the table space around you or carry a flat-bottomed bag you can park on the floor next to your chair.
5. Pretend you are conducting the interview. One of the most effective tricks to feel in control is to act as if you are the one interviewing your potential employers. In a way, it is true because you’re both trying to find a good match. Ask us about playing interview ping pong at firstname.lastname@example.org.
6. Finesse the tough questions. Sensitive questions may come up like explaining any time you have been out of work or conflicts with past employers. Avoid stammering or appearing embarrassed. Stick to the facts and maintain eye contact. Give complete answers without going into excessive detail.
After the Interview
1. Pick up more literature. Gather more information on the company. Say that you look forward to reading any reports they give you. Ask for an annual report or the latest newsletter.
2. Accept any offer to use the rest room. Graciously accept the rest room keys just like you did with the cup of coffee. It is another opportunity to show your comfort and ease courtesies with the people you’re interviewing with. Also, this gives you a few moments alone to refresh your thoughts.
3. Send a thank you note immediately. Within the next few hours, send an email to the person who interviewed you. Make your thank you stand out by asking another pertinent question or making a helpful suggestion. Handwritten notes are more personal but not practical in many situations and take longer to reach your interviewers.
Searching for a job can be stressful but looking poised will help you feel more in control and improve your prospects. Remind yourself of all your good qualities so your confidence and competence will shine through.