Confidence is one of the most important aspects of a job interview. Not only does it affect your performance, but it also has direct implications for how the potential employer will view your level of competence. You take two people with a similar level of experience and skill set. The interviewer will always believe that the person with more confidence is stronger in what they do.
But of course, it's easier said than done. We've all had experiences when we were nervous and ended up rambling or saying things we wish we didn't.
It's because confidence is not something we can turn on at will. Confidence is not what we do. Instead, it's an emotional state. Therefore, if we want more control of our confidence, we need to learn to change our emotional state and/or have the right mindset.
Whether it be your interview, an important meeting, a presentation, or even a date, having confidence (the right level of confidence) will often lead to much more successful results.
In today's article, I will share with you three handy tips you can start using right now to stay calmer and more assured during your next meeting.
1. They already like you
As I said, confidence comes from having the right mindset. And the right attitude you need to have as you approach your interview is knowing the employer ALREADY likes you.
Do you know what percentage of job applicants end up getting an interview? Depending on the research, the number is about 5-15%. This means if you are selected for an interview, you're already in the top 5-15%.
The fact that the potential employer is willing to take time out of their busy schedule to meet you is a reason to celebrate.
No one wants to waste time; if they didn't think you were qualified or your background was interesting, they wouldn't invite you in the first place.
Remember, the company wants to find the right person just as much as you want to find the right job;
They already like your background enough to meet you and get to know you better, AND they are genuinely hoping that you would pass the interviews and prove to be the person they are looking for.
So be confident. The odds are already in your favor.
The most practical and effective tip for confidence is preparation. The more prepared you are, the less nervous you will be, period.
Imagine w/ me for a moment. You show up for the interview, introduce yourself and the employer asks you what you know about their recent business performance and products and why you want to join them. But then you haven't researched their performance or products and don't have much to discuss at all.
How embarrassed and nervous would you feel? At best, you will only be able to mutter some generic, unconvincing answer, and oh man, what a confidence killer would that be?
Of course, you will not be able to prepare for every single question in advance. That would be impossible. But there are certain details about the employer that you are expected to know.
Also, there are common questions that come up again and again (such as tell me about yourself, what are your weaknesses, why should we hire you, etc.) that you can definitely prepare for.
Not to mention the questions you ask at the end of the interview and your closing statement.
The better prepared you are, and the less you have to come up with answers on the spot under pressure, the easier it is to maintain a state of composure.
The more & better preparation, the more confidence!
3. Do not be affected by the interviewer's reaction
I get this comment from job candidates after interviews all the time. They would tell me the interview didn't go too well because the interviewer didn't seem too engaged, they didn't look very happy, or they weren't too impressed by the responses.
And I would ask the job candidate how happy he/she was with their own answers, and they would say they were quite satisfied. And I always tell them don't read into the interviewer's reaction too much and let's see what happens. And sure enough, more often than not, the employer would come back with positive feedback.
You see, the interviewer's lack of enthusiasm or engagement could be due to any number of reasons. It could be because they are not very expressive as a person. It could be because that's their interview style, or they are having a bad day or maybe they feel nervous about meeting someone for the first time (interviewers feel nervous too sometimes, believe it or not!).
Whatever the reason , if you put too much emphasis on the interviewer's reaction during the meeting, it can make you feel nervous and lose confidence unnecessarily.
Of course, ideally, you want to have a great rapport with the interviewer. But if not, don't worry about it. Instead, focus on answering the questions as best as you can according to your preparation without being constantly distracted by the lack of enthusiasm from the interviewer.
I know I said three points. But I have a bonus tip for you.
And that is: Your physical posture.
Did you know that your physical posture can affect your emotion?
Most people know that how they feel influences one's body language. When someone is sad or disappointed, you can tell from their posture, such as dropped shoulders, a dropped chin, lack of energy in their voice, etc. And when someone is happy, usually, they'll have their chest up, stand straighter, speak faster, etc. What is not as intuitive, however, is the fact that your posture can influence your emotional state the other way around.
There is a recent Harvard study which demonstrated that by standing/sitting up like this, you will feel happier and more confident. You will also significantly increase the likelihood of completing whatever tasks you are doing. And when you stand or sit with a good, straight posture, your body releases testosterone which boosts your confidence. And the level of cortisol (which is a stress hormone) decreases.
So before you start your interview, I recommend you take some time to sit or stand straight with your chest up and take a few deep breaths. You may even want to smile as big as you can – if you try this, you will realize you actually feel better as a result. And during the interview, remind yourself to sit up and maintain a straight posture which will help you be calmer and more at ease.
Remember they already like you – if you are asked to attend the first interview, you're already in the top 5-15%. The employer is already interested in your profile and is desperate to find the right person. The odds are in your favor.
Preparation: The more and better prepared you are, the more confidence you will have.
Do not be overly concerned about the interviewer's reaction - Do not allow their response to distract you. Instead, focus on giving your best performance.
And the Bonus tip is: Physical Posture
Your physical posture will affect your mood, stress level, and confidence.
Remind yourself to maintain a good, straight posture throughout the meeting