Sweaty palms, nervous stomach, pounding heart… if just the thought of interviewing brings on these symptoms, you are not alone. However, there are some easy things you can do prior to any interview to help you keep calm and increase your confidence level so that your nerves don’t get in the way of an awesome opportunity.
Prepare. This step is the most important! Prepare and rehearse responses to common interview questions, including behavioral questions. Take time to research the company or organization you are interviewing with so that you can communicate why you want the job. Interviewing is a skill that can, and needs, to be practiced. Never try to wing it when it comes to interviewing. There are no tips or tricks to get you around this step, so be sure to take ample time to prepare.
Focus on past success. In the days leading up to your interview, spend some quiet time reflecting on professional accomplishments, challenges you've overcome, and positive feedback you've received from employers, colleagues, and clients. As you remember the steps you took that led to these successes, you should notice an increase in your confidence level. As a bonus, these success stories make great responses to many common behavioral interview questions.
Practice positive affirmations. Flood your brain with positive self talk before an interview to remind yourself that you are a capable, well-prepared candidate. Arrive early enough to the interview location to have a few minutes to go to the restroom and check your appearance. Take several deep, calming breaths, in through your nose and out through your mouth, and say to yourself, “I am well-prepared for this interview. I am a capable, confident person. I have the skills and experience to do this job. I have worked hard to get here and I am an excellent candidate”. You might feel funny saying these things to yourself, but you may be surprised at the confidence boost that results. So, why not give it a try? Just make sure no one else is in the restroom listening… that might have the opposite effect on your confidence!
Strike a power pose. Social psychologist Amy Cuddy has conducted research on power posing, also referred to as the postural feedback effect. Her research has shown that adopting high-power postures (think Wonder Woman with hands on hips and a wide stance) caused people to feel more powerful. One study showed that a group who held a high-power pose for two minutes prior to mock interviews, not only felt more powerful, but also performed better in the interviews than those who had not held these same poses. So what are you waiting for? Strike a (high-power) pose!
Remember, you are interviewing them, too. Interviewees can get so caught up in impressing the interviewer that they forget that they are also interviewing the company to see if they will be a good fit. Just like dating, both parties ask questions to get to know each other and decide if there’s enough there to advance the relationship. So be prepared with questions for the employer so you can decide if they will be a good match with your professional goals and values. Remembering that the employer is also eager, and sometimes anxious, to find someone who is a good fit for the organization and position can help ease your nerves going into an interview.
Hopefully these tips will be of use to you as you head into your next interview. Remember to practice those common interview questions, and if you need assistance with interview preparation or a mock interview, Next Step is here to help!