Seven ways to boost confidence at a job interview
Aim to connect with interviewers, not impress them
In an interview it’s important to come across as likeable. So, to maximise confidence, your energy should be focused on building a rapport with your interviewer rather than impressing him or her.
“We often get the idea that confidence is about holding court whereas it’s more to do with putting people at ease. It helps to focus on connecting with people rather than focusing on the performance,” says Dr Gary Wood, chartered psychologist and author.
Use breathing techniques to boost confidence
At the heart of confidence is feeling relaxed, so breathing and mindfulness exercises are helpful, adds Wood. “Staying present by focusing on your breathing just before an interview should help calm nerves,” says mindfulness teacher Gelong Thubten.
Business psychologist Dr Sarah Connell, agrees: “When we are anxious our blood flows away from our brains as we are in fight or flight mode, and our cognitive functions can suffer.” So slow, deep breathing will bring the oxygen back to your brains and help you to think clearly.
Be kind to yourself before the interview
It’s important to speak to yourself with compassion, like a best friend, and dispel any critical thoughts that stand in your way, adds Connell. “Don’t be afraid to sell yourself. People worry about appearing arrogant but the interview panel are not mind readers and do not automatically know what you have to offer, so it is up to you to tell them.”
Use power poses and relaxation exercises to curb anxiety
Use power poses before you go into the interview to help with nerves, says Claire Jenkins, founder of 121 Interview Coaching.
“Focus on the present moment, either by concentrating on your breathing or on body sensations, for a few moments. It will help calm you down,” says Thubten. In the interview also remember to speak slowly, as we tend to rush when we are nervous. “Don’t be afraid of silences. Sometimes leaving pauses in your sentences will help you command the situation better.”
Imagine yourself succeeding
Picturing yourself being successful at an upcoming job interview will give a boost to your confidence and self-esteem. “Before you go in start visualising a successful interview: imagine how you walk to the room, shake the interviewer’s hands and answer the questions with confidence,” says Margaret Buj, interview coach and author of Land That Job!. This technique will help calm any pre-interview nerves.
“If you have a strong belief that you are the best person for the job, and then you relax into that confidence, it should help,” agrees Thubten.
Prepare and rehearse answers out loud
If you go into an interview with prepared answers for most questions, it takes the pressure off and you walk in confident you’ll know your stuff, says Cathy Lovell, student services manager for The Open University. To make sure you’re well-equipped, rehearse potential interview answers with a friend.
“Look at the skills, experience, knowledge and personal qualities you have and think of examples showing how you developed these. It’ll make all the difference to your confidence,” adds Lovell.
Make friends with your anxiety, and smile
A great confidence technique is to “make friends” with your anxiety, says mindfulness teacher Charlie Morley. “Before an interview, think to yourself ‘Ah my old friend anxiety. Thank you so much for coming. I know that you are there and I acknowledge you fully.’ Sounds a bit silly doesn’t it?
“It’s actually a great technique to smile at the anxiety, rather than trying to suppress it or overpower it with positive thinking.”