Applying for a job and then getting an interview are incredibly nerve-wracking situations. You may find yourself plagued with questions like “What if I cannot find work?”, “What if I am not really good enough?”, “What if I cannot find any work?”. These questions are enough to send you in a state of panic, but we have some news for you — there is no need to panic! The process is perilous, yes, but the key is to build self-confidence. How, you may ask? We have gathered the best bits of advice for you - here are ways to build self-confidence when applying for a job:
- Make connecting with your interviewer your goal - do not focus on impressing them. From what we have gathered, coming across as likeable during an interview is more important than putting on a show. To maximize your confidence, focus your energy on building rapport with your interviewer. Often times, perhaps due to popular belief, we think that confidence equates to holding court. In reality, though, confidence should be more about putting people at ease. Dr. Wood, an author and psychologist, suggests that during job interviews, one should focus on building connection with people rather than performance.
- Quite unconventional, but remember to be kind to yourself before an interview. Speak to yourself as you would your best friend. Get rid of any critical thoughts that may affect your performance. Moreover, do not be afraid to sell yourself. People seem to think that acknowledging your strengths can come off as arrogant, but remember to be kind to yourself, enough to know that you can be a good asset to the team. Your interviewer is not a mind reader, and they will have no idea of what you can offer apart from what is written on your personal profile or resume. It will be up to you to tell them.
- There are power poses and relaxation techniques that you can use to curb anxiety - utilize them. Claire Jenkins, the founder of 121 Interview Coaching, explains that using power poses (ie. the superman pose) before making big decisions helps with nerves. To do this, concentrate on the moment by focusing on body sensations and breathing, even just for a few moments. Doing such gesture will help calm you down. During job interviews, remember to speak slowly. As you answer questions, do not be afraid to bask in pauses of silence. This will help you command the situation and keep your artillery running. For instance, use pauses to think about questions your interviewer wants to hear. Being calm will help you think clearly.
- Boost your confidence through breathing techniques. Akin to the tip above, practice breathing exercises. Your confidence is directly linked to being relaxed, so exercise mindfulness. Contrary to what many believe, mindfulness is not just for taking care of your mental health. It promotes your overall health. Science explains that our blood flows away from our brains during a state of anxiety, which affects how we think. Breathing and mindfulness can avert this, and help you think clearly once more.
- Picture yourself succeeding. Your mere imagination of being successful at a job application or interview can greatly boost your self-esteem and confidence. For instance, before you start, visualize a successful interview: walk in the room confident, shake your interviewer’s hand, and then answer every question with confidence. Imagine all of that, even the smallest of details - this technique is guaranteed to help you calm down.
- Anticipate and normalize rejection. Reality check — not all of your endeavors will prove fruitful. But of course, being rejected as a job candidate can greatly affect your self-perception, leaving you wondering about the worth of your skills. You begin questioning about all the things you could have done wrong, or perhaps deduce that the hiring manager just does not like you that much. There is that wash of shame floating about you, making you feel insignificant, unworthy, and small. As far as experiences go, rejection is the worst feeling of them all. However, rejection does not have to be a monster of a terrifying thing. Rejection is a reality of the world, and if you find that you do not get a call back for the second interview, it is not the end of the world - you are good enough. There are plenty of others out there experiencing the very same rejection, and it could simply be a sign that it is not the right job for you. As you walk into another interview, do your best but also think about the possibility of rejection. Normalize it.
- Prepare questions and rehearse them out loud. Wondering about those common interview questions and how to nail them? You are on the right track, then! Before going into an interview, prepare answers for the most common questions. This will take so much pressure of you, because you just know you are walking in confident with answers up your sleeve. To make sure that you are well-ready, practice possible interview questions and answers with a trusted friend. It helps to look at your skills, knowledge, and even experience and some personal qualities to know what to bring to the table. Make sure you give concrete examples to show their development — we promise you will be walking in their with confidence intact!
- Ditch the storytelling. Your brain’s main function is to maximize reward and minimize danger. So, in a situation where the outcome remains unknown — especially one where things could go wrong — your mind will spew out stories specifically designed to keep you safe. Anything that could soften the blow. Your brain will always make stories when the unknown looms near, and that could greatly affect your thoughts and emotions. It is, therefore, vital that you recognize that your brain could be lying at times — your overly analytical mind could be the cause of your downfall. Remember, you are here for an interview, and not writing a narrative essay. Snap back to reality — stat!
- Pretend you are your most confident friend. Fake it until you make it, they said, so pretend to be someone you know who is all about confidence! Dr. Sue Black, a research associate from the University College London, confesses that she pretends to be her confident friend during job interviews, and it has worked well so far. This technique seems to be odd to read at the moment, and at par with the number one interview advice to “be yourself’. What many do not realize, however, is that both of these arrive at the same result — showing your interviewer something about yourself. If pretending to be your most confident friend could help you relax enough to talk about your skills and experiences, why not? For the extremely shy job hunters, this technique could help them shine — to each their own.
- Ask your friends for a pep talk! This one is pretty self-explanatory, with extremely potent when done correctly. Before your interview, seek someone your trust and ask them for a little pep talk — ask them to tell you how great you are, how you are meant to achieve, and that you deserve to be recognized. Feeling good about yourself truly helps you perform better.
- Be upfront: tell them what you want and what you can offer. If you wish to feel more confident, and come across as such, then clear your own mind about what you wish to accomplish and discuss what you can offer in return. To help the interviewer understand where you wish to be as a candidate, be clear on your options and of your value. Again, your interviewer is not a mind reader.
- Your listening skills will be of an advantage — use them well! While developing your critical thinking skills are essentials, keep in mind that your listening skills are just as important. Your job interview does not equate to singing nonstop about your own praises. The truth is, too much self-praise can turn off recruiter. As the introvert that you are, use your listening skills as the ultimate weapon. Follow your natural instinct - listen carefully to each question, clarify statements you are not sure about, and of course, pay attention to the information they are giving you about both the company and the job. If you see the chance to repeat what they have said later in the interview, it goes to show that you are, in fact, present, listening, and a good future worker.
- Last but not the least, develop that long term confidence. While these interview tips are designed to help you succeed and build self-confidence when applying for jobs, why should you not develop your confidence long term? While faking confidence can suffice for now, genuine confidence just cannot be imitated. People will not be able to help it, they’ll just notice you. This is a big advantage when applying for jobs. Of course, the process of developing confidence is not easy. Challenging yourself regularly and being mindfully proactive are key, along with understanding what makes you happy. As you begin the journey, remember that your little successes will make tremendous impacts.
These are just some of the best interview tips out there, specifically designed to help you build self-confidence when applying for a job. There are many more out there, but we hope that these are enough to get you going. Go out there and make your shot worth it!
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