When you land an interview, you often feel instant joy. Unfortunately, this joy can soon be replaced by anxiety—and that can wreak havoc on your confidence. The good news is there are several distinct ways to fight this anxiety, boosting your confidence in the process. Here are five things you can do to feel more confident in interviews.
1. Get into a positive mindset
In interviews, negativity can get in your way, so make sure to remind yourself that you deserve to be there in the interviewer’s seat. Don’t forget (or try not to, at least) that you were chosen among many other candidates and have entered the shortlist. So be proud of yourself for making it that far. And if you find it hard to get into a positive mindset before an interview, try participating in something you enjoy.
For example, you might make time just before your interview to do your favorite exercise routine, or listen to some of your favorite music, or even just treat yourself to a favorite food. Doing things you enjoy before your interview will put you in a positive mindset, which you can carry into your interview.
2. Arrive prepared
No matter how many job interviews you go through, it’s normal to feel nervous. One of the best ways to deal with this nervousness is to prepare in advance. In any interview, it’s likely that you’ll need to know a little about the company’s history and some basic facts about the position you’re applying for. Also, you’ll likely be asked what makes you the right person for the job and how the job fits into your career goals.
Before your interview, it’s essential to rehearse your answers to these and other common questions (like the basic behavioral questions), keeping in mind that the point is not to memorize your answers but to practice the general ideas and concepts you’ll share. In general, you’ll find that the better prepared you are, the more confident you’ll feel.
3. Reverse the roles
The best way to look confident in a job interview is to be an active listener and ask questions. Of course, be sure to note that you’re thankful for the provided opportunity, but don’t seem desperate as though you don’t have any other options. And even if you don’t have any other options (at the moment), act as if you do have options and communicate how you’re selective about where your career is heading.
To pull this off without seeming arrogant or cocky, ask meaningful questions about how the company works and how they treat their employees, or other questions about your interviewer’s experience at the company. Doing so will signal that you’re a person worthy of respect.
4. Be yourself
Maybe the most important thing to remember during the job search process is to be yourself. When you don’t try to be something you’re not, you’ll feel more relaxed and confident. It’s also important to be yourself because you don’t want to be hired due to the wrong impression, only to have expectations placed upon you that aren’t realistic.
So, when interviewing, if you like that quirky coat (and it’s in bounds of proper interview attire), go ahead and wear it, as your unique style just might help you achieve your goal. Also, don’t be afraid to talk about hobbies or interests you have (if appropriate to share) so your interviewer can get to know the real you. Who knows, maybe you and your future boss are currently watching (and loving) the same Netflix series. Always keep in mind that people make connections when they have something in common.
5. Mind your body language
No matter how you feel inside, people will get the impression that you’re confident if you come across a certain way. When it comes to body language, the first thing that’s advisable to do is to make eye contact. You might be used to doing this while listening but find it hard to do when speaking. So, if necessary, practice it (with a friend or family member) before your interview. By maintaining eye contact throughout your interview, you’ll convince the person you’re speaking with that you believe in what you’re saying, and consequently you’ll gain their trust.
Also, be careful of how you position your body, as this is the key ingredient to looking confident, friendly, and capable. In this day and age, most interviews are virtual, meaning you’re only seen from the waist up in interviews. So, if you only remember one thing, remember this: don’t cross your arms, as it’s essential to keep an open posture—and attitude—in interviews.
Julia Adams is an HR consultant specializing in tech startups, with over five years of experience in the industry. She’s also an editor on TopTens.fun, where she explores the topics of beauty and pop culture.