Feeling nervous about your upcoming interview is perfectly normal. In this episode, I show you a simple, five-step approach to increase your confidence and be mentally prepared.
Welcome to today’s episode, which is about confidence. If you feel nervous about your upcoming interview, I can assure you that this is perfectly normal – most people do. And the good news is that there are a couple of things you can do to increase your confidence, both before and during the interview. So, let me guide you through five simple steps that might help you.
Step 1: Choose your perspective. Many candidates perceive an interview as one-sided and intimidating. But it does not have to be that way; in fact, it is not like an audition, where the interviewer is the judge and you are the performer. It is much more balanced because, in the end, you will also decide whether or not the company, the role and the hiring manager are right for you. And also try to put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes. Probably a lot of candidates have applied for the position and if you are invit ed to interview, the hiring manager has selected you as one of the top candidates. Their mental model is not to find reasons to decline you; instead, they hope you are a good fit, because they want to fill the position. So, they are on your side, not against you.
Step 2: Address your concerns. The mind is very powerful, and what you focus on determines how you feel. If you focus on what can go wrong during the interview, you may become even more nervous and less confident. Here is a strategy that might help you break this vicious circle. First, start with writing down what you are concerned about. Are there any questions you really hope the interviewer is not going to ask you? Or maybe you are worried you might not dress appropriately.p Or perhaps you are invited to a video interview, and you are concerned about potential technical issues. Whatever it is, acknowledge it and put it on paper. Then, look at each item on your list and identify if there is anything you can do about it. For example, determine the best way to answer the troubling questions. If you need help with this, talk to someone you trust, check online how other people handled it or consult an interview coach. Also, you might call the HR department to ask what dress code is appropriate. And, with friends, you can test the technical equipment and practice having video calls. When you have taken action and done what you can to mitigate concerns, it often becomes easier to put them aside.
Step 3: Be prepared. Knowing that you have done your homework, which will help you handle the majority of questions during the interview, will most likely make you feel more confident. Start by making sure you have read and understood the job description. Then, do some research on the company, its culture and the interviewers. Prepare answers to the most relevant questions and rehearse them aloud in front of a mirror, or do a mock interview. Also, prepare a list of your previous achievements that prove you are the right candidate for the role. Finally, think about what questions you want to ask to determine whether or not the company, the position and the work environment are a good fit for you. If you need help with any of these steps, please check out my previous podcast episodes.
Step 4: See yourself succeed. It might sound odd at first, but visualizing how you ace the interview can help you do exactly that. The most successful athletes do this to program themselves for success and you can do the same. Find a quiet place and visualize how you want the interview to go. See yourself confidently shaking the interviewer’s hand, answering all their questions and convincingly talking about your strengths and the value you can bring to the company. The more details you can add, the better. So, envision how you look, what you wear and how you show confident body language. It might even help you to research your interviewers on LinkedIn so you can picture them. Repeat this visualization exercise once or twice a day. It takes no longer than a couple of minutes and can make a huge difference.
Step 5: Stay confident during the interview. The previous four steps focused on how you can improve your confidence before the interview. But what do you do if you get nervous during it? The first thing is to immediately focus on something positive to break any negative thought-pattern(s). These can be small things, like a smile from the interviewer, a nice painting on the wall in the conference room or a good answer you just gave to one of the questions. If this does not work, and you start doubting yourself, remind yourself of the achievements you listed during step 3. And if you feel that you failed to give a good answer to one of the questions, let it go – you cannot change it, you probably overestimated its significance and it will take your focus away from the rest of the interview. Also, I cannot recall having interviewed anyone who had perfect answers to every single question. And, after all, the hiring manager wants to employ a human, not a machine.
These were the five steps to increase your confidence. Thank you for listening, and I hope this was helpful to you.