12 simple tips on how to approach an interview with confidence
By Heidi Cox
Waiting to go into an interview can be a nerve-wracking prospect, especially if you’ve had little or no practise. For some people, heart rates quicken, palms become clammy and faces redden at the mere thought of having to field unexpected questions to a group of strangers. So how do you make an impact at interview and secure the perfect job? We’ve put together some simple tips to help boost your confidence and make short work of those nerves.
Prior to Interview:
- Do your research. A firm understanding of the job role and the company you wish to work for is key when illustrating your professionalism and determination. It’s important to show that you’re serious about moving forward with them and have spent time finding out about the organisation.
- Prepare for the obvious questions in advance. This may involve how you’ve conducted your career to date, any aspirations you have for the future, your strengths, and your weaknesses. Think about what you want to say and how you want to come across. Work out how best to respond, so on the day your answers will be measured, to the point and relevant to the job role you’re after.
It’s important to grasp what sort of employee they’re looking for. Make sure you highlight your relevant skill base and shape your answers around their business needs. This is your chance to show them what you can do and how you could be an asset to their business.
For more in depth tips on the kind of questions you may face, go to LINK re Interview Questions.
- Role-play with a friend or colleague – take the time to really think about how you want to come across and select some useful anecdotes to include. It will help you relax and give you extra confidence on the day.
- Get your administration sorted in advance. Hang your outfit out ready to wear, polish your shoes and print off the directions the day before. You want to arrive calm and collected at your interview, not frazzled from finding a ketchup stain on your best top, the house keys doing a disappearing act and the car with barely enough fuel to limp to the nearest petrol station!
- Get yourself in the right mindset with your favourite ‘feel good’ tunes. Just as runners often use music to power them forward, some upbeat songs will help you mentally prepare for the challenge ahead.
- Keep stress and anxiety to a minimum. It’s perfectly normal to feel anxious before an interview and having adrenaline pumping through your veins can be a good thing. It can heighten your senses and enable you to respond quickly to tricky questions. It’s simply a case of channelling all that energy into more positive feelings of empowerment. Learn to control your nerves with some stress-busting techniques that work for you. It’s important to stay focused and keep your mind from freezing up. If you’re a singer, have ever gone to yoga classes or given birth – you will know how powerful regulating your breathing can be. Take some deep measured breaths and relax your shoulders – it really can help calm those nerves.
- Turn off your mobile phone – don’t be tempted to take a call in the middle of an interview. You need to appear focused on the task at hand and not easily distracted by external influences.
During the interview:
- Don’t let your body language give you away - it’s not always what we say but how we say it that counts. Shuffling into a room with your head down, no eye contact and a limp handshake will not inspire confidence or put the other person at ease. Equally, sitting arms crossed with eyes rolling around the ceiling and a foot tapping to an invisible beat may signal boredom and a desire to escape rather than a wish to engage in the interview process. Your primary aim is to connect positively with your future employer.
Just remember to:
- Walk into the room with your shoulders back and chin up. You’ll appear more confident and purposeful.
- Give plenty of eye contact, as it will indicate a willingness to engage.
- Go for a firm handshake – not the bone crunching kind, but solid and unhurried.
- Avoid crossing your arms – it will come across as defensive.
- Try not to fidget. Save you hand wringing or foot tapping for your journey home!
- Remember to smile. It will light up your face and breakdown those invisible barriers.
- Let your personality shine through. It’s always good to give prospective interviewers a clear indication of who you are as a person. Make sure you stand out from the crowd by talking about your achievements, your hopes and how you’ve learnt from previous mistakes.
- If you have questions don’t be afraid to ask. An interview should be a two-way process where you can demonstrate your insightful nature and your interest in the role.
- Try and establish a common connection with the other person. This can be hard to do but if successful can make things feel far less intimidating. Do your research before hand, listen out for clues during the course of the interview and read their body language. It’s surprising what you’ll pick up.
- Practice makes perfect. The more interviews you do, the better you’ll become at answering the questions and refining your communication skills.
Ultimately, you need to remember the person conducting the interview is only human after all. They are there to find the right person for their company. It’s up to you to show them that it’s you! If you’re prepared and ready to do the job in question, then there is no shame in doing your best to secure it. Remember, for others to believe in you, you need to believe in yourself. It really is that simple. Positive thinking is the key to success. The very best of luck!