Interviews are by far the most nerve-wracking part of the job seeking process and even if you’re grateful and hopeful about the opportunity, it doesn’t change the fact that it’s an unpleasant experience. Between the over analyzing, self-criticizing, and mixed signaling, a job interview can quickly become something you dread over something you feel optimistic about. On the positive side of things, there are steps you can take to ease your nerves, up your confidence and feel good about the end result.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Interviews are terrifying because most people are unsure of how to talk about themselves; we live in a society that sends us mixed signals about how we’re supposed to address ourselves. On one hand, modesty and humbleness is encouraged, but on the other, we are supposed to be assertive and confident in our abilities. It’s hard to find a balance between arrogance and self-depreciation, but the trick is to simply practice. Learn how to speak about your strengths and weaknesses without hitting either extreme, and after you spend a few sessions in front of the mirror or a close friend, it should help you feel more assured that you can make a positive impression in your interview.
Pay Attention to Your Body Language
Body language can give away how you’re truly feeling even if all the words out of your mouth are saying the opposite. You might be telling your interviewer how you’re assertive and can take on challenges with confidence, but if you’re anxiously shaking your leg, avoiding eye contact, or nervously playing with your hair, it’s not going to be believable. Be very intentional in your non-verbal communication to make sure that your actions match what you’re saying.
Feel Good About Your Appearance
Appearances are not everything and no employer should ever discount a candidate based on looks alone; however, most people find that when they feel good about how they look, they express more confidence than if they feel frumpy or thrown together. Spend some time planning on what you’re going to wear before your interview to avoid hastily picking out your outfit at the last minute. This will help you feel more prepared and capable than rushing around frantically minutes before your appointment.
Don’t Appear Desperate
Of course you naturally want your interviewer to feel as though you care about the job, but avoid overdoing it. Desperation isn’t flattering on anyone, so act eager but not as though it’s the last job opportunity on Earth. Avoid making it seem as though you’d do anything to get the job or you’d be forever indebted to the person holding the interview. It’s important to keep in mind that just because they are in the position to offer you a job, doing so wouldn’t be a favor; a work relationship is mutually beneficial, so act as though you have something valuable to offer that the employer would want.
Acting human towards an interviewer goes a long way, and doing so can put you both at ease; remember, two strangers coming together can be awkward for both parties, so opening up the doors for small talk can actually help start the process off on a good note. This doesn’t mean you should get too personal or overdo it to the point where you get carried away, but smiling and asking how the day is going is an excellent icebreaker. A friendly and cheerful candidate, who also represents the necessary skills required, always looks promising to employers.
Interviews naturally bring out the jitteriness in anyone, but there are ways to help put yourself at ease and exude confidence naturally. By preparing for the questions, concentrating on your body language, feeling good about your appearance, avoiding desperation, and being as personable as a professional environment allows, you’ll naturally show any employer that you believe in yourself, and that’s what really counts.
Arlene Chandler is a freelance writer who loves helping people face the uncertainty of tomorrow. When she’s not enjoying the sun with her two yellow labs, she writes about finance tips, career advice, and income protection Australia from AAMI.