During an interview, self-confidence is key to success. Ideally, you want to show the interviewer that you trust in your abilities and consider yourself the perfect candidate for the position. Although showing confidence while under pressure is not easy, it’s not impossible either. We give you six key tips that will help you ace your interview.
1. Don’t leave anything to chance
You must give yourself plenty of time to prepare for your job interview to keep nerves to a minimum on the day. Doing this effectively will be easy if you follow these steps:
- Compile all relevant information about the company you wish to work for. Take time to look at their website and browse their social media pages. It will be extremely useful for you to know key data relating to the position you have applied for.
- Review your CV and try to anticipate any questions that the interviewer could ask you. For example, you should be ready to talk about yourself, to explain any period of inactivity in your career history or if you are returning to work as an employee after being self-employed and to discuss salary expectations. Preparing clear answers will prevent you from going blank.
- Try to be natural. It’s not about learning what you would like to say by heart and reciting it parrot-fashion. Acting natural is vital in any interview, so try to find a balance.
- Don’t neglect technical details. Check the address of the interview location and the schedule to decide the best route to take and how much time you need to arrive punctually. What is the nearest Tube station or bus stop, or where is the most convenient place to park? This will help you to stay calm and to be prepared for any last-minute curveballs.
Remember, your aim is to try to eliminate any unexpected setbacks and arrive at the interview feeling relaxed.
2. Change your point of view
A fear of being misjudged is often the main cause of stress during an interview. Lack of self-esteem, personal insecurities or worrying that rival candidates are more competent can paralyse you at the least opportune moment.
When these thoughts cross your mind, focus on the fact that if the recruiter called you for an interview, it is precisely because you fit the job profile the company is looking for.
Ensure that you have something different and valuable to contribute. Then relax and trust in your abilities. It will be easier if:
- You consider the interview as an opportunity to get more information about the job rather than as a test. This will help you decide if the position really suits your needs and if it is what you are looking for in terms of career development.
- You think of the interview as if it were a meeting between professionals, regardless of your experience. Not only does this take the pressure off, but it will help you balance out the interviewer-interviewee relationship. Start by considering yourself as someone valuable with much to contribute to the company!
To boost your confidence, exercise can be a great ally. This is confirmed by the American Council on Exercise; exercising regularly will help you increase your self-esteem, which can also be a powerful way to relieve stress.
3. Get enough rest
Getting enough sleep is essential for a good performance, so try to get some rest the night before the interview to prevent nerves from playing tricks on you. To do this, make sure your environment is optimal for getting a good night’s sleep:
- The bedroom should be dark enough.
- Turn off your mobile phone or activate airplane mode.
- Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and alcohol.
- Spend the last hour of the day reading a book or magazine to distract you from negative thoughts.
To keep anxiety at bay, some disciplines are particularly effective, such as yoga, swimming or Tai Chi. However, avoid practising sport or eating a meal at least a couple of hours before bedtime to ensure you sleep soundly.
4. First impressions count
The clothes you wear are important. Choose an outfit that reflects the philosophy and style of the company, but also make sure you feel comfortable:
- Don’t pretend to be someone that you’re not, as your discomfort will be noticed. This will have a negative impact on the flow of the interview.
- It will be enough for you to adapt your own style to that of the company. Are you applying for a position at a bank? Consider wearing a suit or jacket. If it’s a more relaxed company environment, you can dress more casually. Use your common sense and everything will be fine.
5. Stay focused
When facing difficult situations, we tend to distract ourselves so as not to have to leave our comfort zone. However, at a crucial moment such as a job interview, distracting yourself will undermine your confidence. For that reason, it is not advisable. Maintaining focus is a skill that takes training and that you can strengthen. Here are some tricks to achieve it:
- Focus on the now. Think about what you are doing and saying at each moment and avoid thoughts outside the conversation such as, “Am I doing well?” or, “Will they notice that I’m nervous?”
- Keep a logical train of thought and don’t jump from one topic to another, unless guided by the recruiter. A sense of calm in your answers will demonstrate calm and structure in your thoughts.
- If you lose focus, refind it. Don’t feel overwhelmed if a negative thought suddenly crosses your mind or you become distracted by something that has nothing to do with the interview or the questions being asked. Instead, take a deep breath and return to the point where you were at.
- It is forbidden to look at your mobile phone or watch. This shows a lack of interest so keep your device on silent or on airplane mode. We also recommend that you avoid checking your email or social networks just before the interview, to keep stress at bay.
6. Remember, it’s all relative
We often react badly to challenges or conflict, but learning to put things in perspective can be key to emerging victorious. Ask yourself, what’s the worst thing that can happen if everything goes wrong? Then take a deep breath and keep your sense of humour. Adapt to the situation and the circumstances.
- If something goes wrong, don’t overreact. Analyse your mistakes and use them as tools for the future. Even if it was the interview in general that went wrong, reacting in the right way will be of great help.
- Focus on what you want without letting yourself be overcome by fear. Often our own insecurities prevent us from reaching our goals.
When confronted with a pivotal moment such as a job interview, it is important to take a step back and look at your life in perspective. Surely you have overcome more serious obstacles than this interview? Arm yourself with courage and face the moment with enthusiasm and confidence. Remember the words of leadership expert Stephen R. Covey, “When the trust account is high, communication is easy, instant and effective.”Focus, take a deep breath and throw yourself into it!
Translated by Sunita Maharaj-Landaeta
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