This article was last updated on September 5, 2017
Lacking self confidence as an adult is quite natural. That is because we all remember past mistakes and times when we failed to live up to expectations. Of course lack of confidence is also reinforced by current state of events – say unemployment and the impossible task of finding a job in today’s market as a graduate. Since most of us define ourselves by what we do, not having a job may deepen our feeling of uselessness.
While it is not easy to overcome job hunting stress, sticking to your plans and not giving up are just a few ways of getting in an employer’s door. Nailing that interview and getting your dream job requires hard work on your part.. They say employers and recruiters can smell a candidate’s fear and lack of self confidence within the first 10 seconds. It is also claimed that their final decision is significantly influenced by their first impression of you.
In fact, according to recent research, interviewers make their final decisions about an applicant within the first 4 minutes of meeting them. Don’t for a second think that this is too little time to actually evaluate a person, because it is not. Experienced recruiters can quickly assess how you look and speak. They will judge they way you move, and how you interact wit others. These signs and behaviors speaking volumes about your level of self-confidence or the lack thereof. So what do you do? You build, train and reinforce your confidence every step of the way. This will insure that you nail a job interview, should one appear before you.
Here are five workarounds to nail a job interview, even if your self-confidence is shaky!
1. Start with the Person in the Mirror
It all begins before the actual interview. Self-confidence has a chemical and physical component to it, besides the psychological one. Experts in the field recommend you to start your interview morning with exercise. Pumping up adrenaline, endorphins, testosterone and other happy-triggering chemicals in your brain is a sure-fire way to build some self-confidence before you even arrive at the company’s headquarters.
“Looking good, feeling good” is more than pop-psychology. According to recent research self-confidence is strongly related to attractiveness. It may not be moral, ethical or right, but you have to follow the evidence: attractive job candidates do receive more offers. Now this doesn’t mean you need to subdue yourself to cosmetic surgery, but dress up nicely and always in accordance to the corporate culture you aim to belong to in the near future.
2. Re-Write Your Attitude
You are not in the waiting room just yet, but you are getting there. Now that you have worked out and cleaned up nice, it’s time to focus on your mind and soul. Building self-confidence for an interview, or for any type of challenging task, begins with re-writing your thinking. It sounds like some complicated brain re-wiring performed in therapy, but it’s rather easy.
Begin by identifying all the low-confidence triggers you associate with the interview. Are you anxious about not answering well to the questions although you are thoroughly prepared? Does your resume reflect lack of experience and you don’t know how to compensate? Is the actual first handshake with the recruiter and the start of the conversation that throws you off?
Write down all these triggers and take the time to note what you say to yourself when such events occur. Is there any negative self-talk involved? Change all your negative affirmations with positive ones. “What I lack in experience I compensate with soft transferable skills” or “If they called me for the interview they need me and I am the person they are looking for.”
Call your affective memory to help. Rehearse your first 4 minutes of interaction with your interviewer by remembering successful past interviews. Think about a situation at your old firm when you solved an important problem. Remember the face of a person with whom you had a positive, successful meeting. Recall your body posture, heartbeats, thoughts and feelings and visualize yourself in that situation again. In other word re-experience a past successful meeting with your brain, heart and body. There are plenty of tricks to be positive and feel happy every day so start practicing.
3. Win the Waiting Room
The second you enter the company’s building you need to exude self-confidence, congeniality, kindness and a positive attitude. By now you should have gained a better vision about yourself and your abilities. In the waiting room you may find other candidates, just as worried as you are. Or may be left alone to wait after being greeted by an office assistant or HR person. Whatever the situation, boost your self-confidence by boosting others’ moods and feelings. Be friendly and encouraging with the other candidates in the room, smile to the people you encounter, make a positive and uplifting comment towards another person and show confidence even if you don’t feel it entirely.
Sometimes when we try to show confidence, we try a little too hard. Keep your voice in check with your emotions and breathing Take a necessary pause in conversation when you need to and don’t try to impress anybody too hard. Take your seat and make sure you choose a power posing that doesn’t suggest arrogance, but self-confidence.
4. Win Those First Four Minutes
This is the time that can turn your interview into a successful venture, and everything you did so far built up to this exact moment. While nobody says skilled and experienced candidates can’t take the job if they don’t show exceeding levels of self-confidence, winning these first four minutes can surely make the difference between you and other candidates. We mentioned power posing earlier – a concept used in and in connection with body language. Power posing means standing in a posture of confidence with your back straight, your head up and with an open body position. Leaning forward slightly will send the message that you’re interested and engaged, while smiling shows the kindness and friendliness. Such an attitude is said to affect your testosterone and cortisol levels, making you feel more confident. Also, slouching in the chair doesn’t help, as it may suggest you lack energy or you are tense or nervous.
Handshaking is also an important part of your first minutes. A firm handshake speaks of confidence, while a too firm one may be perceived as aggressive. While shaking your interviewer’s hand, make eye contact and smile, keeping the handshake as long as it feels natural. You should also control your voice: keep it on a normal pitch, speak clearly and use a confident tone of voice that doesn’t allow for the other party to perceive tension, over-excitement, anxiety or emotion. Use your hands moderately. An open body position is good and reaffirms your self-confidence, but don’t overuse hand or body gestures while you engage in pre-interview small talk or present yourself.
5. Nail That Interview!
First things first, don’t fidget and keep your power posing and eye contact at all times. Breath calmly and pause before you answer. Give yourself time to reflect, react properly and absorb the question before giving a clearly formulated and composed answer. Don’t try to be cute by laughing at your own jokes or at the interviewer’s friendly remarks either. Smiling when it is due and looking cheerful is one thing, emitting forced, nervous laughs is quite another.While talking to your interviewer remember this is not a Black Ops third degree interrogation procedure, but an actual conversation. Ask your interviewer questions about the company and the job.
More importantly, exude a general feeling and attitude of positivism (remember the positive and affirmative self-talk you had earlier – don’t forget to keep it going in your head during the interview!). According to Dr. Maya Angelou, at the end of the day people will remember how you made them feel. A recruiter will definitely incline over you instead of the other candidates if he remembers that you were positive, open, honest, genuine and kind – these are those soft skills all recruiters are looking for. Do you feel like lacking self-confidence while preparing for your next interview? Follow these steps and build your inner strength to rock the interview and land the job!