It’s natural to feel nervous before an interview, but however wobbly you’re feeling inside, you need to portray professional confidence that shows a prospective employer that you are the ideal person for the job.
Confidence is key when it comes to presenting your best professional self in a job interview. Of course, your skill set, work experience and qualifications are all important, but believe it or not, confidence is more likely to give you an edge over other candidates than competence!
But when you’re looking for a new job and feeling naturally nervous it can be a challenge to present your most confident self. If you’ve been made redundant, you’ve had a bad experience, or you’re just not a particularly confident person, it can be more of a challenge.
According to an article in Harvard Business Review, “To feel more authentic demonstrating confidence, you may first have to convince yourself. Ask yourself: What am I good at? What was my greatest success so far? Why should others be led by me? What do I know that they don’t? If you have a hard time answering these questions, you have a problem — how should you convince others of your expertise if you aren’t convinced yourself? People who appear to be confident, are often thought of as more decisive, competent and attractive.”
So here are some tried and tested strategies you can use to increase your professional confidence and help you ace your next interview!
Get a boost with body language
When you prepare for an interview, the focus tends to be on how you’re going to answer questions you might be asked. Your posture and how you sit aren’t necessarily what you might be thinking about, but it’s really important to remember that around 55% of what we communicate is determined by our body language.
If you hunch over, slouch or appear small due to nerves, an interviewer might think you feel unconfident and powerless. When you stand tall and take up more space, people will interpret your body language as confident.
Not only does your body language tell other people about you, it also influences how you feel about yourself.
In her Ted Talk, Social Psychologist, Amy Cuddy, shares her research on the effects of body language. She found that standing in ‘high-power’ positions such as the classic ‘Wonder Woman’ wide stance with your hands on your hips, for two minutes before a job interview, can improve your confidence levels.
This is because this pose increases testosterone levels and reduces cortisol, which increases how assertive you feel and reduces your stress-levels.
So, before a job interview, try to find a private space where you can do some ‘high-power’ poses for two minutes and bump up your confidence!
Manage your mind-set
Confident people tend to be more optimistic and have a positive mindset, so begin thinking in terms of ‘challenges’ and ‘opportunities’ rather than problems.
It can be easy to be thrown off kilter when something doesn’t go to plan, but rather than see it as a problem, consider it as an opportunity to try something different and demonstrate your ability to adapt. It’s good to have examples of these situations in mind before you go to a job interview so you’ll be less flustered if something goes awry.
You may be asked a question such as, “can you describe a time you’ve failed?” Instinctively, you may feel reluctant to give an example because it sounds like a negative and you don’t want to tell a prospective employer about a time you’ve failed.
It’s important when you’re asked questions like this to think about the interviewer’s reason for asking it. It’s not intended to trick you or trip you up, they want to learn about how you manage situations when they go wrong and how you put things right when you’ve made a mistake. Do you handle them confidently and positively?
Don’t shy away from admitting a failure, but always explain how you reacted positively and learned from the experience.
After you’ve attended an interview, you’ll likely receive feedback from the interviewer. It’s important to remember that this is a normal part of the job hunting process. So when you receive feedback with suggestions for improvement, take it as it’s intended - an opportunity to learn and improve for your next interview and not as a criticism of your performance.
Work with an experienced recruiter
At Priority Appointments, we work with candidates just like you to provide all the preparation you need to present your best professional self.
We get to know exactly what you’re looking for in a role, and because we know our clients so well, we can match you to a company with a culture you’ll fit in well with
Check out our latest and greatest opportunities here.
Get in touch and speak to one of our friendly team today on 01256 334575 or email email@example.com and we’ll help you feel confident for your next interview!