Interview with Confidence
The dreaded interview!
A high pressure, high stress situation, that can create anxiety like no other professional situation. It can feel like being a contestant on the Crystal Maze you only have a tiny amount of time to prove that you can do the job better than any of the other 5 candidates waiting in reception but you don’t have your team cheer leading you on outside the door. With the clock ticking the pressure is on and I know that more often than not I come away from interviews with heavy load of self criticism to boot; I let my nerves show, I wasn’t ‘polished’ enough, why didn’t I give the better example to that question, they’ll think that they asked the wrong person into the room, the list goes on. There is a danger that this mindset then comes with me into the next interview, a constant chipping away of my confidence.
I started to think more deeply about this after recently facilitating a workshop on interview skills and listening to the common worries and questions about how to show up as your best self in order to get the job. I dread to think of the number of interviews I’ve conducted in my career, but despite this my confidence still does a nose dive when I’m being interviewed myself. It’s something that I’m sure will resonate with many.
So what can we do to feel more confident before, and after, an interview? Here are my top tips, based on my experience of having been on both sides of the meeting room table.
Make sure you have revised your own CV - you’d be amazed at how many candidates are not familiar with their own work history!
Prepare real life examples to demonstrate how you meet the criteria of the role as well as your achievements. This is your opportunity to present your best self so don’t be afraid to blow that trumpet!
Think about logistics and give yourself time to get to the interview without feeling rushed and flustered. If it’s a video interview, make sure you don’t have back to back meetings either side so you still have time to ‘arrive’ with a clear head.
Worried you’ll forget all of your careful preparation when the nerves kick in? Take your notes into the interview with you. I always carry a notebook with me, even if I don’t look at it, having it there gives me reassurance and boosts my confidence.
Set your intention
Ask yourself, how do I want to show up today? What do I want to gain from the interview?
Often my intention is to ‘be curious’ at the interview. It gives me permission to take the pressure off myself and explore if the role and company is right for me with a level head.
Take a few mindful moments
Experiment with what works for you before the interview. What do you need to do to make sure you arrive at the interview with a clear, calm head?
Think about your breathing. Take at least 4 or 5 deep breaths whilst waiting to go into the interview, counting to 4 whilst breathing in and a longer breath counting to 6 on the way out. This calms your nervous system down and helps put you into a reward state of mind instead of threat (fight or flight) giving you the ability to remember your examples, listen and understand questions and be engaged in the interview.
Visualize yourself in your new job, once you’ve been successful at the interview - ask yourself, how will it feel when I have achieved my goal of getting this job?
Think about your greatest achievements in the past - close your eyes and really remember what it felt like when you achieved those, notice what this does to your body language! Access that feeling again before you step into the interview.
Think about your strengths, ask yourself, when you’ve been successful in a similar situation before, which of your strengths did you draw on?
The very best part is that as we practice thinking positively about ourselves, thinking about our achievements and visualizing and imagining what success will look and feel like in the future, our plastic brains are actually able to create new neural connections meaning that we can more easily access the feeling of confidence in the future and not just in the interview setting!
One final piece of insider knowledge is to remember that 9 times out of 10 the person interviewing you is just as nervous as you! It’s true. I have sat next to many, many, managers who feel the same about conducting an interview as being interviewed themselves, so you won’t be alone in feeling those nerves on the day.
Remember, an interview is not a test, it’s a conversation, an opportunity for you to learn about the role, the company and your potential new manager as much as it is about you proving you’re the best person for the job. With a hit of new found confidence you’ll soon be walking into the job of your dreams.
What did I miss?! Share your tips on interview confidence in the comments below.