Even if you feel overly qualified for a position your seeking, a job interview can be a nerve-racking experience.
Interviews are a type of situation where you are being judged on what you say and do, which can be enough to rattle even the calmest of people. Even worse, it is important to project confidence.
If you are feeling a bit nervous about your interview abilities, consider the following tips on how to project confidence in this situation.
Seek a Connection
Some people have the mistaken idea that confidence is about “holding court” in a social situation. However, making others feel at ease and engaged in a conversation is actually the key to being seen as confident. In an interview, you can come across as confident if you can successfully build a rapport with your interviewer, as opposed to regaling them with your stories of success.
Embrace Positive Visualization
Research has shown that visualizing a positive outcome before doing something important can actually increase your odds of success. In fact, many basketball players use positive visualization before shooting free throws.
Imagining yourself doing well before a job interview can give you a mental boost that makes the difference between success and failure. Prior to going in for the interview, imagine confidently walking to the room, meeting your interviewer, shaking hands and answering questions with the best answers possible.
Slow Yourself Down
In an uncomfortable situation, our primal fight-or-flight response kicks in. In an uncomfortable interview, that response can translate in a tendency to talk quickly and rush through everything, which can be seen by the interviewer as a lack of confidence.
Intentionally focus on slowing down your thoughts and speech. You might feel like you’re moving like a turtle, but you’ll probably just be seen as thoughtful and deliberate.
Maintain Eye Contact
Anyone who has had a staring contest with their dog or cat knows: Eye contact is a deeply ingrained form of non-verbal communication and avoiding eye contact can be perceived as a lack of confidence.
Obviously, you don’t want to stare down your interviewer. You should be maintaining regular eye contact in a way that feels friendly, confident and natural. One way to do this is to look the other person in the eye long enough to notice the color of their eyes, about 2 or 3 seconds, and then blink or look away thoughtfully. This routine can help you engage your interviewer while projecting friendly confidence.
Practice Interviewing, A Lot
An interview is a type of performance and any good performer will tell you that a lot of practice is essential to projecting confidence. When you are feeling nervous about a performance, having your ‘material’ down pat give you something to lean on and draw confidence from.
Practice to the point where you have your interview responses down cold. Ask a trusted friend to be your practice interviewer and have them really press you with improvised questions, instead of simply lobbing softball questions that you hit out of the park with memorizing responses.
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