Getting the call that a prospective employer wants an interview feels like such a victory! That is, until you start thinking about nailing that interview. Confidence is key when you want to land a new job as employers want to feel like they’ve made a good decision. In fact, almost 70 percent of employers say that failure to make eye contact is a common mistake, and more than half of the impact you make will come from how you dress, act and walk in the door.
So, while you’re practicing answers to questions like “tell me about yourself,” and “what are your biggest weaknesses,” be sure to practice giving your answers with confidence. Here’s how.
One of the fastest ways to lose your confidence in an interview is to be stumped. First, it’s OK if you don’t have all the answers, so brace yourself for possibly having to say, “I don’t know.” The only thing worse than not knowing is trying to fudge your way through an answer.
Then, minimize the chances that you’ll be caught off guard by reading through the job description and requirements and thinking about how you specifically match up — and fall short. Be sure to do your homework on the company, too, so you can make a good case for why you want to work there.
Manage Fidgety Behavior
We all do it: table-tapping, hair-twirling, foot-tapping, or accidentally rambling when we’re nervous. Your interviewer will know you’re nervous and will expect a little fidgeting, but practice holding your hands, arms and legs steady as you sit and talk.
Practice answering some questions in the mirror or with a friend while keeping still and maintaining eye contact. It’s also important to keep your answers short and direct to avoid going off on a digression. A little small talk or an anecdote is good. A long, personal story (or, worse, a rant!) with every answer is tiresome.
When you walk in, walk with confidence. Give a firm handshake (“lady handshakes” are not a thing), and smile. When invited to have a seat, sit up straight, keep your head up and maintain eye contact, and take a moment for a few deep breaths to calm your nerves.
Face Your Fears and Insecurities
No job applicant is going to be a perfect specimen for the position. Everyone has slightly different skill sets and personal assets; everyone is missing a few. The best way to feel confident about the things you feel you’re lacking is to look them right in the face.
Do you feel awkward making eye contact? Practice for a couple days beforehand when you’re getting your morning coffee or checking out at the supermarket. Do you have a gap on your resume that makes you nervous? Write out and practice delivering a suitable explanation. Are you missing a technical skill? Either try to learn it with online tutorials or express your eagerness to learn new things.
It sounds so cliché, but it’s the truth. Sooner or later, that new employee scent will wear off, and you’ll be yourself at work — and your new employer will love you for who you are! Prospective employers already have all the facts from your resume. The interview is a chance to see if you’re a good fit for the team, so don’t be afraid to let your personality show a little bit.
Remember, they called you and asked for the interview. You’ve got this!