Imagine the scene: you’ve finally got an interview for your dream job in technology – it’s a position you’ve been working toward (and dreaming of) for months. After a mostly sleepless night, the big day arrives, the hour is finally at hand; things are off to a good start – smiles all around, firm handshakes, plenty of eye-contact – and then the tough questions start being asked. You hesitate too long in answering one, stumble over your reply to another; soon you’re waffling endlessly – then you notice you’re sweating profusely, and your knee won’t stop shaking. You probably know how this one ends…not well.
If this scenario (or one like it) has ever happened to you, then you know just how important it is to have confidence in an interview. There are lots of articles online about how to project confidence in interviews, but the truth is, if you’re not actually confident, sooner or later it’s going to show, potentially sabotaging an otherwise successful interview.
At Flow, we understand the anxieties and pitfalls that job-seekers face in interviews. We know how stressful it can be, but we also understand why confidence is a key ingredient to interview success. So, here are our top five tips for giving your interview confidence a real boost.
1. Research the Company
One of the biggest keys to feeling confident in an interview is knowing what to expect, which means knowing what you’re interviewing for. Understanding the history of the company and what they’ve achieved (as well as what they hope to achieve) is crucial for knowing what you can bring to the table.
What services do they offer and why? Who are their clients? What are the duties and expectations around the role you’re applying for and how can your skills meet these requirements? Does the company’s philosophy align with your personal values?
The more you understand about the company’s needs and goals and where you might be able to fit in, the more likely you are to project confidence during your interview.
2. Make a List of Questions
Just as important as researching the company is coming away with questions that will help you learn more about it. Your research will likely reveal more questions than answers; therefore, as you learn about the company, you should make a running list of questions that you may want to ask in your interview.
Remember, at some point, your interviewer will expect you to ask questions, and you’ll want to show them that you’ve given careful thought to both the position and their company. While active listening and genuine curiosity during the course of the interview might naturally yield some great questions that you might not have thought of beforehand, it’s always good to have a list to fall back on just in case.
3. Rehearse with a Mock Interview
Just as important as making a list of questions for your interviewer is brainstorming the kinds of questions they are likely to ask you. Try to anticipate what kinds of questions you might be asked and practice answering these. You can also find many great resources online, listing both general and more critical interview questions. However, it isn’t enough to simply think about how you might answer these questions.
You should ideally conduct one or two mock interviews with a friend or relative playing the role of the interviewer. Failing this, you could even interview yourself out loud in front of a mirror. Better yet, video yourself with your phone, so that you can play it back and critique yourself. While just the thought of this might make you cringe, it can be an extremely effective tool for improving your performance, and your confidence.
4. Relax, Don’t Rush!
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s an easy one to neglect. Not feeling rushed or flustered is hugely important in terms of rallying your confidence. Make sure you know exactly how to get to your interview, and give yourself more than enough time to get there, ensuring that you account for any traffic or other possible delays. No matter how much of a people person you might be, arriving late and agitated to your interview is not only going to detract from your confidence; it will likely ruin any chances you might have had of getting the job.
This advice doesn’t just apply for getting to your interview; try to take your time when answering questions, as well. This doesn’t mean waffling on endlessly or taking dramatically long pauses before or during your answers. It means being yourself, pacing yourself, and remembering to breathe. Remember, at the end of the day, an interview is really just a conversation.
5. Aim to Connect with your Interviewers
While projecting confidence is important, being overly confident can do more harm than good. Boasting or bragging is an immediate red flag to most potential employers. Rather than trying to impress your interviewer, you should channel your nervous energy towards connecting (even empathising) with them. You can help to increase your confidence by focusing your energy into building a rapport with your interviewer; after all, it’s crucial to come across as likeable.
Confidence isn’t about singing your own praises; it has more to do with putting others at ease, and this shift in perspective equates to interview success. By focusing on connecting with people rather than on performance (or worrying about how they perceive you), you’ll be more at ease, and more confident.
When you shift the focus of the interview onto the needs of your potential employer, you’re not only showing genuine interest, but you’re likely to inspire their confidence in you as a potential employee.
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