When we watch babies who are first learning to stand and walk, we are watching little people with lots of self-confidence. Falling down, tottering, being wobbly does not deter them at all. They keep at it and keep at it because they know they will master this skill. Fear and anxiety is not in their DNA at that point. Somehow, over time, as we grow up, we begin to remember our failures, or are criticized for them, and we lose our self-confidence. This lack of confidence can bubble to the surface when we face stressful situations, and what can be more stressful than a job interview?
Mustering up confidence during that interview will mean understanding some pretty critical “rules” for demonstrating self-confidence in that interview – five of them actually. You can learn and practice these rules in everyday situations, so when you should face an interview, you will have the practiced behaviours to project the confidence you need.
5 Crucial Rules to Look Confident In An Interview
Confident People have Evenness of Temperament
One of the measures of self-confidence is evenness of temperament. Those who exhibit the two extremes of emotional reactions – losing one’s temper or retreating into a “shell” – will not do well in an interview situation. Evenness of temperament can be achieved with some very specific tools that can be learned and practiced until they become habitual.
Our minds, just like a computer, must be programmed. The difference is that a computer can be programmed rather quickly, and that programming is relatively permanent. The mind can only be programmed over time, and it takes repetitive practice to do that. Here are some ways to control your moods, so that you will not “lose It” in an interview situation.
1) When anger bubbles up, stop. Just stop. Do not say anything, and do not do anything. Take 10 deep breaths. Place yourself, in your mind, in a pleasant scene. It can be something that really happened to you or an imaginary scene that brings you peace or pleasure. You will feel the emotional “flooding” dissipate. With practice, you can bring up that scene in a second or two and immediately bring yourself “down.”
2) If your mood is the opposite extreme, a self-defeating attitude that you do not have what it takes to be successful, then you need to take other preventive steps with programming your mind. Get pictures in your head of those times when you were successful and muster up the feelings and the confidence you had during those times. If you practice bringing up those scenarios, you will be able to project the confidence you need.
3) Before you ever go into an interview, use this technique. Take those breaths, conjure up your scene, and be ready to greet that interviewer with a smile and a solid handshake!
Confident People are Willing to take Risks
You may not see how this relates to a job interview, but it does. Here is the thing: you have submitted a resume. Obviously, the employer has liked what he sees and now wants to meet with you face-to-face. That in itself should be a cause for confidence-building – you beat out a lot of other candidates to get this interview. There are, however, risks involved.
1) Maybe you are risking the security of a job you have had for a long time for new challenges.
2) You will be meeting new people, new task responsibilities, and a new work environment – there are risks involved with establishing new relationships, with taking on new tasks that will involve learning new things.
If you enter the interview session with worries about the risks you are taking, then the interview will not go well. Changing your mindset about risks before that interview is pretty important.
Think back in time to when you took risks and things came out well. Maybe you decided to take a course that was really hard and ended up with a great grade; maybe you asked out that someone you had admired and the answer was “yes.” Find those moments in your memory and focus on those. Remind yourself that you have taken risks in the past with successful outcomes. Then, in the interview, when you are told about the risks you will face, you will remember that taking risks is something you have been willing to do in the past. You will respond with enthusiasm rather than avoidance.
Confident People Embrace New Challenges
This of course relates to #2. All new challenges involve risk, but it is the attitude we have toward new challenges that makes the difference. The big difference between confident people and those who are not is their mindset when faced with challenges.
Confident people welcome challenges. It keeps life exciting and fresh. Challenges are opportunities to use creative problem solving, to demonstrate “staying-power,” and to push oneself into new territory.
Those who lack confidence see challenges as threats – as things that can bring failure and embarrassment. They stay in unfulfilling jobs because they avoid threats to their comfort zones. And they end up leading unfulfilling lives.
If you have taken the step to seek a career change, then you have already shown that you want to embrace new challenges. This is more than half of the battle – the desire and motivation. The rest is developing the right mindset. Here is how you can do that.
When you get the call for that interview, muster up as much enthusiasm as possible during the phone conversation.
You now have a period of time before that interview to use for preparation.
Make a list of the challenges that may be involved in this new position. You can get these from the job description or posting that you responded to.
Once you have your list, write down specific things that you can do to meet those new challenges. Maybe you will take an online course to upgrade your skills; maybe you will find a mentor who can help you. Each challenge should have an action plan for how you will meet it.
If you do this, you will enter that interview with confidence. You know what challenges there are and you have a plan to meet them. You are no longer fearful or anxious.
Confident People are Not Impacted by Negative Feedback
Wayne Dyer, internationally known philosopher, psychologist, and author once said, “Judging someone else does not define that person; it defines you as someone who needs to judge.” You need to look at your criticizers in this light. Are they perfect people? What are their qualifications to pass judgment on you?
Sometimes, we are so concerned with what other people think of us that we define ourselves by their negative feedback and criticism. If you are around people that do this to you, you need new friends and colleagues.
If you have an interview coming up, then you need to find that one (or perhaps two or three) person that has always been supportive and encouraging of your endeavours. Do not even tell those negative people about the interview. You do not need to hear their irrelevant words right now. Take the encouragement and support from you positive friends and family members to that interview with you. It is a huge confidence builder.
Confident People are Comfortable in their Own Skin – No Comparisons
Being comfortable in your own skin does not mean that you do not recognize faults and challenges that you have. It means that you have identified them and know that these are things you are working on. And you do not compare yourself with others who don’t have these weaknesses. They have their own set that will be very different from yours.
In an interview situation, the potential employer may ask you what your weaknesses are. You need to be prepared with a confident answer to this question. Here is how you prepare for that.
Make a list of what you believe to be your weaknesses, not what others tell you they are. Maybe you have a tendency to be impulsive.
For each item on your list, think of the weakness as a challenge. When have you faced that weakness (challenge) in the past and overcome it successfully?
Now you are ready to answer the question. Frame the weakness in terms of a challenge and provide an example of how you have met that challenge successfully in the past. Very impressive!
Research shows that interviewers “size up” a candidate pretty quickly and that the initial impression can be reinforced or completely changed as the interview progresses. You can exude confidence when you enter by a great stride, a solid handshake, and a smile. What you do after that is just a critical. Take these five confidence builders to heart – they will work in the interview and way beyond that.