When the words ‘job interview’ comes to mind, most of us start to be anxious, nervous, and even panicky. This negatively affects our image in front of the interviewer which in turn makes us give the wrong first impression about ourselves.
I remember my first official job interview back in 2010. I was very nervous and almost made a fool out of myself. I applied for a teaching job. I had experience for three months only and the teaching strategies of this school were very different from my school where I trained.
The school I applied to belonged to a princess a friend of mine was working for. She asked her if there was any vacancy in her school so that I can join and start teaching in it. The lady wanted to see me and told my friend to ask me to come over for the job interview and see what happens.
I was very nervous that I almost said no to the job. But I had to go and try my best. When I went there, the lady welcomed me warmly and noticed that I was nervous. She tried to calm me down by creating a friendly environment and started off with conversational questions.
After some time, she started interviewing me about my experience and qualifications. By then I was an 18-year-old girl who just graduated high school and trained as a teacher in her own school. She was impressed by my attitude and communication skills and chose to pick me for teaching kindergarten.
Teaching kindergarten is a huge deal that I was not sure I can handle at that time. I was okay with first graders all the way to fifth- or sixth- graders. With this, she was not able to hire me in her school because that was the only vacancy available.
So instead, she called her cousin who owned a school too and told her about me. She thankfully booked an appointment with her for interviewing me. With this, I landed on my first official job as a teacher.
In my second job interview, the interviewer was way scarier and rougher than my first one. But thankfully I didn’t let it get to me. I made a better impression than I did the last time and by showing more confidence and ability to convey my true potential, I was able to get the job. It is something the first interviewer said to me that pulled me together, “You have great potential in you and I can see that.”
So what can you learn from this? That you need people to get a good job? No! That the lady was nice enough to get me the job? Again, not the point!
The lesson here is that if I hadn’t appeared as a confident person in front of the lady in my first interview, she would have seen me as an incompetent person and refused to have anything to do with me.
Was I nervous? Oh yes! Did she notice? She did. But she also noticed how I was trying to handle myself. For an 18-year-old having her first job interview, it is only normal to be nervous. But she overlooked that because of how I was communicating with her.
Also, if it wasn’t for my positive communication and self-confidence that I portrayed during that time, the second lady wouldn’t have given me the job. I know that because of how she was handling the interview. She asked questions that experienced teachers would answer and I handled myself well to earn her trust in my potential.
As I got interviewed more times after that job, I learned that self-confidence is the key to get the best impression you can about yourself.
So how can you appear to be confident in a job interview even if you are not?
Maintain a “power” body posture
The key to appearing confident starts with your body posture. Make sure that you are taking your space and seated comfortably in a job interview. This will give the impression that you are not nervous and ready for anything coming your way.
Also, make sure your arms are on your lap to show a friendly and open attitude rather than looking defensive by crossing your arms or slouching by seeming careless. Lastly, make sure you are sitting with a straight back rather than bending forward with shoulder-width apart forming a straight line on the chest and your chin high making a straight head position.
Make eye contact
After setting a comfortable space, radiate confidence by making eye contact with your interviewer. Of course, I am not saying you should stare at them but look into their eyes when interacting with them. This shows that you are not afraid of what is coming your way and that you are sharing your reply confidently.
In order to make eye contact look natural rather than intense stare at the person, I would suggest you pull your eyes away from them and look at your resume, notebook in your hand, or anything around from time to time. This will make eye contact seem natural.
Try not to fidget
If you saw someone in front of you fidgeting and trying their best to be confident, will you believe them? Of course not! Fidgeting is a symbol that shows a person is either nervous or worried. This is harmful for a job interview.
Try to notice yourself when you start fidgeting. When you do, use any of the following tips to calm yourself down.
- Fold your hands like this.
- Practice mindfulness and relaxation.
- Calm yourself down by thinking about how well the situation can go rather than how bad it can get.
Dress up whatever makes you feel confident
None of the above points will matter or be possible if you are not “looking” confident. When you dress up something that you like or a dress code that portrays your personality, you will feel more confident to express your skills and talents.
When going for a job interview, you need to look neat and professional. If your personality is about wearing a comfy/baggy dress or mini skirts with spaghetti tops, then you need to not consider that at all. If you don’t know how you should look like for an interview, google some dress codes and purchase such dresses.
Practice FAQs related to the interviews and the job title
By having an idea of the type of questions the interviewer may ask you, you will be able to have more confidence if you practice them before joining the interview. It will also show that you have a full understanding of what the roles of your job are and how you are going to use your skills to get the job done.
It is true that you never know what type of questions are waiting for you in an interview, but having answers to the most common questions in the industry will make it easier to face other unfamiliar questions.
Research the organization before going
I see most people skipping this part of the preparation. They think that working on their physical and mental state of mind along with the job title research, they are ready to ace their interview.
When you are in an interview, the interviewer will look into your background knowledge about their organization. When you confidently answer questions like, “why should we offer you this job?” or “why do you want to work at this company?”, it shows that you have done your research on the organization because the answers to such questions should be related to the organization you want to join.
Other tips to consider
- Smile often to show confidence in speaking. But just don’t overdo it.
- Practice a firm handshake.
- Be an attentive listener to show interest and portray more confidence and calmness.
- Don’t act like you are desperate for the job. It will take away all the hard work you accomplished until today.
- Speak softly. Make sure you are audible.
- Ask the interviewer(s) questions that come in mind to show that you are not nervous and engaging in a conversation.
A job interview is the scariest part of finding a job or getting hired. If you mess up your job interview because of your lack of preparation and appearing as a person with low self-confidence, then you can never recover from that interview. Forget about them accepting you.
This is why you have to always keep in mind that
So prepare well, appear confident even if you are not by using the tips I shared with you and ACE your job interview.
Thank you for reading till the end 🙂
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How do you gain confidence before joining an interview? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.