The global pandemic has given many people the time to pause and reconsider the trajectory of their lives and analyze whether they are fulfilled by their jobs, and as a result, many have left employment to seek a better fit. This means that a great number of people will be faced with the daunting challenge of job interviews.
According to mindfulness coach Gaëtan Pellerin, an interview is a negotiation. “We want to prove ourselves, we want to be accepted, and we are afraid of failing or being perceived as incompetent,” he says. “And as such, we always risk our ego getting in the way. If we feel the interview isn’t going well, it triggers an emotional response and makes it harder to be calm.”
Here are five ways you can maintain your confidence before and during an interview.
Do your homework
Career expert Amanda Augustine says that preparation is half the battle. “The better prepared you are for your job interview, the more confident you’ll be when you’re in the room or on Zoom with your interviewer,” she affirms.
To prepare yourself, review the company’s website, check out the kinds of reviews they have on sites such as Glassdoor, and talk to anyone in your network who has prior experience with or insights on the company and its interview process.
You should also try to learn as much as you can about the person or people interviewing you. That way, you can introduce topics or goals that they are interested in during the interview.
Be ready with examples
Chances are, the other people the company has lined up to interview for your desired position have similar skill sets to yourself. Make yourself memorable by giving concrete examples of how you put those skills into action.
“Applying statements like, ‘I’ve helped to increase sales,’ doesn’t quite cover it,” says Cheryl Hyatt, co-founder of Hyatt-Fennel Executive Search. “Did you increase them by $1 or did you increase them by $1,000? Know numbers and give examples that provide details, such as, ‘I helped to increase sales by 30 percent.’ Or, ‘I saved the company this much money, and this is how I did it.’ Look at the job ad and think through what you bring to that organization that somebody else wouldn’t.”
Practice your responses
Do you know that certain interview questions make you nervous? Try to tackle those questions beforehand by brainstorming the main points you want to convey in your reply. “Instead of memorizing a paragraph, practice delivering a response that incorporates your main talking points,” says Augustine. “That way, you’ll be able to confidently respond to the question without sounding as though you’re reciting from a manual.”
Immerse yourself in positivity
Pump yourself with positivity before the interview by listening to uplifting music, watching motivational videos, or reading inspirational stories or quotes. “These types of primes can help boost your mood and your self-confidence,” says A.J. Marsden, associate professor of human services and psychology at Beacon College.
She also recommends boosting self-confidence by thinking back on a time you succeeded, like the last time you nailed an interview or presentation.
“Recalling positive memories literally causes us to experience positive emotions, which makes us feel good… a big dump of dopamine right before an interview can improve mood, decrease stress and anxiety, and increase self-confidence,” she explains.
Burn off nervous energy
Augustine suggests sweating out your nerves before an interview in whichever way you prefer, whether that be lifting weights, going for a jog, or having a dance party in your room.
“Exercise is a great way to burn off some nervous energy, so you don’t bound in the interview with an overabundance of enthusiasm,” she says. “As an added bonus, the extra endorphins will help boost your mood and keep you in a positive state of mind.”