The Confident Candidate: How to Interview like a Pro
It’s hard to play it cool when you’re sitting in a waiting room next to your competitors, waiting for your name to be called. Despite our best efforts to exude confidence, it’s only natural to be a little nervous. After all, our careers have a massive impact on so many aspects of our lives. A lot can ride on a single interview.
The goal of every candidate is to make a winning first impression. The resume has gotten you this far, and now it’s all riding on your performance. Many candidates respond to this pressure in one of two ways; They either shrink into a shy and timid version of themselves, or they find a cocky alter ego that is off-putting and impersonal. So, where is the happy medium? How can you radiate confidence and still seem approachable?
- Make a friend in the lobby
I know it may seem counterintuitive to fraternize with the enemy, but starting up a conversation with someone in the lobby is a great way tactic. It’s a smart way to practice breaking the ice with a stranger and warm up your vocal chords. The added bonus is that a hiring manager coming to receive the next candidate will instantly notice how friendly you are. The mere act of striking up a friendly conversation with the competition, rather than fidgeting on your cell phone is one of the most effective displays of confidence.
- Use affirmations
Using affirmations leading up to an interview is a great way to build up your confidence and slow your mind just before an interview. An added bonus here is to recount supporting evidence for your statements. For example, if your affirmation is that you are a successful sales manager, add to your affirmation any evidence you can recall that supports your statement. Not only are you building confidence, but it’s also an effective strategy for recalling accomplishments you may want to use in your interview.
- Tell a story
When appropriate, tell a short, relevant story during your interview in response to a question. Science confirms stories have a higher believability factor and are retained in memory much better than recited facts. No matter how nervous you may feel, telling a story will instinctively feel more comfortable. It is a clever way to change the atmosphere of the room to a more conversational tone.
- Don’t over-caffeinate
It’s almost impossible to keep from fidgeting when you have copious amounts of caffeine and sugar running through your body. Caffeine and sugar are also diuretics, increasing the likelihood of you having to use the restroom during the interview. No need to tell you what a mental distraction that can be. Furthermore, it’s incredibly difficult to keep focused when you are over-caffeinated, causing to you misinterpret questions. Caffeine also noticeably speeds up your speech. You want to be sharp and a confident candidate, but not too much!
- Dress the part
Looking the part of a confident candidate is half the battle. There is nothing more deflating than showing up to an interview waiting area to discover you have severely underdressed for the occasion. It can be just as uncomfortable if you show up in a three-piece suite and your interviewer is in flip flops and cargo shorts. Take some time to research the company dress code and choose an outfit that is a step or two dressier. Also, dress for the position you applying to. Make sure your clothes are well fitting and weather appropriate. Constricting and stuffy clothes can cause you to sweat, thus making you look nervous. Conversely, not wearing warm enough clothes will likely cause you to shiver and fidget, also making you look less confident.
All of these, plus preparing for your interview will go a long way in making you a confident candidate!
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