How to be confident in interviews - practical tips


24 Jul 2023

How to be confident in interviews

Why are we writing this article?

As someone who has been through numerous job interviews and understands the challenges that come with them, I am passionate about helping others navigate this crucial phase of their career journey. The interview process can be daunting, and I believe that confidence is the key to unlocking success. Through my own experiences and research, I have come to realize that confidence plays a pivotal role in making a lasting impression on interviewers and showcasing your true potential.

In today's competitive job market, being qualified for a position is only half the battle; conveying that confidence and self-assurance is equally important. I have seen talented individuals falter in interviews simply because they were unable to present themselves confidently. This inspired me to share valuable insights and practical tips on how to build and exude confidence during interviews.

In this article, I aim to equip you with the tools and techniques to not only prepare for the interview questions but also to project yourself as a capable and confident candidate. Whether you are a recent graduate looking for your first job or a seasoned professional seeking career advancement, my goal is to help you stand out from the crowd and leave a lasting positive impression on potential employers.

What will you learn in this article

1. The need to be confident during interviews.

2. What are a few things you can do well befor and during the interview to be your confident best

3. Some resources where you can learn how to sustain your confidence levels

Why does confidence matter in interviews

Facing an interview can be a nerve-wracking experience for many. The anticipation of meeting potential employers and the pressure to make a strong impression can cause anxiety and self-doubt. However, with the right approach and preparation, you can boost your confidence and ace that interview. In this article, we'll explore key strategies that will help you exude confidence and leave a lasting positive impression on your interviewers. Remember, confidence is not about being perfect; it's about showcasing your abilities, skills, and personality in the best possible light.

Success is always subjective. One person’s definition of success is different from another’s. For some people success could be driving the most expensive car and living in a mansion, whereas for others it could be living a simple yet fulfilling life. Whatever the definition of success you want to adopt in life, the key to it is - Confidence.

Similar to that, the best way to succeed in an interview is to be confident about yourself.

Here in this article, we will discuss how to be confident in an interview. For some people, confidence comes very innately, while for others it’s a skill we need to develop. Majority of the people do fall in the latter category. Each one of us will have some growth areas or some aspect of imposter syndrome. It doesn’t matter because nobody has it all. Like every other aspect of life, such as learning to drive, confidence is also a skill that each of us should invest in.

If you are up for an interview, here are the few things you should do to feel confident:

1. Research the company, role and your interviewer

One of the most effective ways to boost your confidence in an interview is by conducting thorough research. Take the time to learn about the company's background, values, and recent achievements. Familiarize yourself with the role you're applying for, including the key responsibilities and requirements. Additionally, if you know the name of your interviewer beforehand, research their professional background and any common interests you may share. Being well-informed about the company and your potential role not only demonstrates your enthusiasm but also helps you tailor your responses to align with their needs and goals.

Simple advices are the best advices. When going for an interview, make sure to do ample amount of research about the company and the role you are interviewing for. Read about what kind of products and services does the company offer, what is the company culture and workforce like, what are the latest trends that the company is known for.

The research you may do about the company may not be useful for the interview in itself. But it will certainly give you the confidence to take on the hard questions during the interview process.

Do research about the role you are applying for. What are the expectations for the role, and background of people who generally are in the role. If possible reach out to friends and through your network, employees in the company to learn more about the company, culture and their role.

Often times we do know who may interview us. It’s also good to do your research on the interviewer and learn more about the background. As an interviewer, we always appreciate if the candidate has done their research and is asking deeper questions.

2. Preparation for the interview

Preparation is the key to confidence. Practice answering common interview questions and think about specific examples from your past experiences that highlight your skills and accomplishments. Rehearse your responses out loud or with a friend to improve your articulation. Moreover, prepare questions to ask the interviewer, showcasing your genuine interest in the position and company. A well-prepared candidate exudes confidence and leaves a strong impression.

Once you have done the research for the interview. Next logical step is to prepare for the interview process. We always advise to take 2 or 3 mock interviews, especially if you have been out of touch from interviewing for a while. It helps re-iterate your story line and get feedback from mock interviewers on your performance. What better way to understand how well you are doing in an interview than doing practice interviews.

But you don’t always have to rely on mock interviews to practice. Practicing in front of a mirror or talking in front of a wall is completely fine too. This is when you are fairly confident with the process of interview and just need a little bit of practice to brush up.

3. Wear neat and clean clothes

While appearance is not the sole determinant of your interview success, dressing professionally can significantly impact your confidence level. Choose appropriate attire that aligns with the company's dress code, if known. Ensure your clothes are clean, wrinkle-free, and well-fitted. Feeling comfortable and confident in what you wear can positively influence your mindset throughout the interview.

Some basics of life never change. We have built good habits in our life from early days of wearing neatly pressed clothes to schools. Interviewing for job is no different. Your attire helps you make a good first impression. Make sure to clean and neatly pressed clothes. Do not wear very flashy clothes or put on too much makeup. The focus of the interview should be you, and not your clothes. Wearing good professional clothes will bring you confidence in the interview.

If you haven't read the article we wrote on "How to create your resume", we highlighly recommend that you read since it touches on all aspects of a resume in the moderen era.

4. Maintain eye contact

Maintaining eye contact is a powerful non-verbal communication technique that conveys confidence and engagement. When speaking, make an effort to hold eye contact with your interviewer, while being mindful not to stare excessively. Eye contact demonstrates active listening and a genuine interest in the conversation. It also helps to establish a connection with the interviewer, making you appear more self-assured and trustworthy.

Maintaining eye contact is key in an interview to showcase confidence to the interviewer. It also helps demonstrate that you are actively listening and engaging in the interview. Maintaining eye contact though does not mean you constantly stare at the interviewer, but make sure you keep a steady eye contact and make the interview an engaging conversation and dialogue.

5. Talk in a steady space

Your verbal communication plays a crucial role in showcasing your confidence during the interview. Speak clearly and at a steady pace, avoiding speaking too fast or too slow. Take brief pauses when needed to collect your thoughts, and don't rush through your answers. A steady pace of speech demonstrates composure and confidence in your knowledge and abilities.

Most things to do right in an interview are basic. These aren’t things you manufacture because you are appearing for an interview. Learn to bring your authentic self and create an engaging conversation with the interviewer. It is important to talk in a steady pace and not rush while answering questions. If you are answering in a rush it may appear that you are nervous. If at any point during the interview you start to feel nervous, learn to breathe and take a pause. It is also alright to request the interviewer few seconds to compose your response.

Now that we covered some major areas of focus, I want to share with you some tips on how to take your interviewing skills to a level higher.

Body Language Tips: Mastering Non-Verbal Communication

During an interview, your body language speaks volumes before you even utter a word. The way you carry yourself and the signals you send through non-verbal cues can significantly impact the impression you leave on your interviewer. Here are some body language tips to master the art of non-verbal communication and radiate confidence:

1. Sit and Stand Tall: Maintain an upright posture while sitting and standing. Avoid slouching or hunching over, as this may convey a lack of interest or enthusiasm. Standing tall and keeping your shoulders back not only exude confidence but also make you appear more approachable.

2. Firm Handshake: Start your interview on the right note with a firm and confident handshake. A weak handshake might be interpreted as nervousness or uncertainty. Aim for a handshake that strikes the right balance - not too limp, but not overly forceful either.

3. Make Eye Contact: Look the interviewer in the eye while speaking and listening. This conveys sincerity, self-assurance, and engagement. Steady eye contact demonstrates that you are attentive and focused on the conversation.

4. Gesture with Purpose: Employ purposeful gestures to complement your words. Using your hands thoughtfully can emphasize key points and showcase your passion for the topic. Avoid excessive or distracting movements, as they might undermine your message.

5. Mirroring: Subtly mirror the interviewer's body language to establish rapport. Mirroring creates a sense of connection and mutual understanding. However, be cautious not to overdo it, as it should be natural and not forced.

6. Open Body Language: Keep your arms relaxed and unfolded. Crossing your arms may be perceived as defensive or closed-off. Instead, adopt open body language, which signals that you are approachable and receptive to conversation.

7. Lean-In: Leaning slightly forward indicates engagement and interest in the conversation. It shows that you are actively listening and eager to participate. However, be mindful of personal space and avoid invading the interviewer's comfort zone.

8. Nod and Smile: Nodding when appropriate demonstrates that you are actively processing information and in agreement. A warm and genuine smile can instantly put you and your interviewer at ease, creating a positive and friendly atmosphere.

9. Manage Nervous Tics: Be aware of any nervous habits, such as tapping your feet or fidgeting with your hands. Practice controlling these habits to maintain a composed and professional demeanor.

10. End with Confidence: End the interview with a confident handshake and a smile. Express appreciation for the opportunity and thank the interviewer for their time and consideration.

Remember, non-verbal cues can have a profound impact on how your responses are perceived. By paying attention to your body language and making positive adjustments, you can communicate your confidence, competence, and suitability for the role, leaving a lasting impression on your interviewer.

Mindfulness Techniques: Staying Present and Centered

Interviews can be nerve-wracking, but practicing mindfulness techniques can help you stay present, centered, and grounded throughout the process. By cultivating mindfulness, you can manage stress and anxiety, allowing your authentic self to shine through. Here are some mindfulness techniques to incorporate before and during your interview:

1. Breathing Exercises: Begin by taking a few deep, calming breaths before entering the interview room. During the interview, if you feel anxious, take a moment to focus on your breath. Inhale slowly through your nose, feel the breath fill your lungs, and then exhale gently. This simple practice can instantly calm your nerves and bring your attention back to the present moment.

2. Body Scan: Before the interview, take a few minutes to do a body scan. Start from the top of your head and slowly move down to your toes, paying attention to each part of your body. Release any tension you may be holding, allowing your muscles to relax. This helps you become more aware of your body and reduce physical discomfort caused by stress.

3. Grounding Techniques: When you're feeling overwhelmed, use grounding techniques to anchor yourself in the present. Focus on your senses - touch, sight, sound, smell, and taste. For example, take note of the texture of your clothing, the sound of your breath, or the sensation of your feet on the ground. This brings your attention away from anxious thoughts and into the present moment.

4. Positive Affirmations: Practice positive affirmations to boost your confidence and self-belief. Repeat phrases like "I am well-prepared and capable," "I have valuable skills to offer," or "I am deserving of this opportunity." Positive self-talk can shift your mindset and boost your self-assurance.

5. Visualization: Visualize a successful interview in your mind's eye. Picture yourself confidently answering questions, making a positive impression, and engaging in a friendly conversation with the interviewer. Visualization can help reduce anxiety and create a positive mental outlook.

6. Mindful Listening: During the interview, practice mindful listening. Give the interviewer your full attention, focus on their words, and respond thoughtfully. Avoid rushing your answers or thinking about what you'll say next. Engaging in mindful listening fosters a genuine connection with the interviewer.

7. Acceptance of Nervousness: It's normal to feel nervous before an interview. Instead of fighting or trying to suppress those feelings, practice acceptance. Acknowledge that nerves are natural and remind yourself that they won't define your performance.

8. Post-Interview Reflection: After the interview, take a moment for post-interview reflection. Avoid dwelling on perceived mistakes or missed opportunities. Instead, focus on what you've learned from the experience and celebrate the effort you put into preparing and presenting yourself.

By incorporating mindfulness techniques into your interview preparation and process, you can cultivate a sense of calm, clarity, and presence. Being mindful helps you showcase your authentic self, handle questions with composure, and make a lasting impression on the interviewer. Remember, the key is to stay present and grounded throughout the interview journey.

Mock Interview Preparation: Boosting Your Interview Skills

One of the most effective ways to boost your interview skills and build confidence is through mock interviews. Mock interviews are simulated practice sessions where you can fine-tune your responses, receive constructive feedback, and identify areas for improvement. Here's how you can make the most of mock interviews:

1. Seek Feedback from Trusted Sources: Enlist the help of friends, family, or mentors to conduct mock interviews. Choose individuals who will provide honest and constructive feedback. Their insights can help you understand your strengths and weaknesses, enabling you to refine your responses.

2. Research Common Interview Questions: Prepare a list of common interview questions and practice answering them during your mock interviews. Questions may include those about your work experience, strengths, weaknesses, career goals, and how you handle challenges. By rehearsing your answers, you'll become more articulate and confident in expressing yourself.

3. Dress and Act Professionally: Treat the mock interview as a real one. Dress in professional attire and act as you would during an actual interview. This will help you get into the right mindset and simulate a realistic interview experience.

4. Time Your Responses: Practice delivering concise and well-structured responses within a reasonable timeframe. Time management is crucial during interviews, and mock interviews can help you master the art of answering questions effectively without rambling.

5. Record and Review: If possible, record your mock interviews to review later. Pay attention to your body language, facial expressions, and vocal tone. Identifying areas for improvement will enhance your overall interview performance.

6. Emphasize Your Achievements: During the mock interview, highlight your accomplishments, skills, and experiences that align with the job requirements. Showcase how you can add value to the organization and make a positive impact.

7. Practice Non-Verbal Communication: Pay attention to your non-verbal communication during the mock interview. Maintain good eye contact, offer a firm handshake (if in-person), and demonstrate active listening through nodding and engaging facial expressions.

8. Ask for Feedback: After each mock interview, ask for feedback from your practice interviewer. Inquire about your communication style, content, and areas that need improvement. Constructive feedback is invaluable for refining your interview technique.

9. Learn from Mistakes: Don't be discouraged by mistakes made during mock interviews. Instead, view them as learning opportunities. Identify areas where you can enhance your responses and make adjustments for future interviews.

10. Replicate Real Interview Conditions: Whenever possible, recreate the ambiance of a real interview during mock sessions. Familiarizing yourself with the interview setting can help you manage nerves and perform better on the big day.

Mock interviews allow you to build confidence, gain valuable feedback, and refine your interview technique. Through consistent practice and learning from each experience, you'll become better equipped to handle any interview scenario. Remember, the more prepared you are, the more self-assured and ready you'll be when the actual interview comes your way.

Positive Self-Affirmations: Harnessing the Power of Self-Belief

In the high-stakes world of interviews, cultivating a positive mindset is crucial to boost your self-confidence and perform at your best. Positive self-affirmations are empowering statements that can help you overcome self-doubt, reduce anxiety, and build a strong belief in yourself. Here's how you can harness the power of positive self-affirmations to excel in your interview:

1. Identify Your Strengths:

Take some time to reflect on your skills, accomplishments, and unique qualities. Write down a list of your strengths and achievements, whether they are related to your professional experiences or personal life. Embrace these strengths and celebrate your successes, as they form the foundation of your self-affirmations.

2. Frame Positive Statements:

Craft positive self-affirmations that align with your career aspirations and the specific challenges you may face in the interview. Use affirmative language to inspire confidence in yourself. For example:

Framing Positive Statements - Examples

"I am well-prepared and capable of showcasing my skills and experience."

"I confidently communicate my ideas and demonstrate my expertise."

"I am a quick learner and adept at adapting to new situations."

3. Practice Daily:

Incorporate the habit of repeating your positive self-affirmations daily. Speak them aloud or silently in front of a mirror, as this can reinforce their impact. Consistency is key, so make it a part of your morning routine or just before the interview to boost your confidence.

4. Visualize Success:

Combine your positive self-affirmations with visualization techniques. Close your eyes and imagine yourself excelling in the interview, confidently answering questions, and leaving a lasting impression on the interviewer. Visualization can create a sense of familiarity and confidence, making the actual interview feel more familiar and manageable.

5. Be Specific:

Tailor your affirmations to address any specific concerns or fears you may have about the interview. If you worry about stumbling over your answers, affirm, "I speak with clarity and conviction." If you fear feeling overwhelmed, affirm, "I remain calm and composed under pressure."

6. Focus on Growth:

Embrace the idea of continuous improvement and learning. Acknowledge that interviews are opportunities for growth, regardless of the outcome. Use affirmations that emphasize your determination to learn from every experience and grow as a professional.

7. Embrace Positivity:

Replace self-criticism with self-compassion and positivity. Avoid negative self-talk and instead, focus on nurturing a supportive inner dialogue. Treat yourself with the same kindness and encouragement you would offer to a friend.

8. Embody Confidence:

As you repeat your positive self-affirmations, also work on your body language. Stand tall, walk confidently, and maintain good posture. Embodying confidence externally can reinforce the positive messages you are telling yourself internally.

9. Believe in Your Potential:

Recognize that you are a capable and talented individual with the potential to succeed. Embrace the belief that you have what it takes to secure the job and make a positive impact.

10. Trust the Process:

Trust that you have put in the effort to prepare for the interview and that you are well-equipped to handle any challenges that come your way. Have faith in yourself and your abilities.

Positive self-affirmations are a powerful tool that can transform your mindset and help you approach interviews with a sense of self-assurance. By nurturing a positive and confident mindset, you can elevate your performance, showcase your best self, and leave a lasting impression on the interviewers. Remember, you have the potential to shine and secure the opportunities you desire – it all starts with believing in yourself.

Here are some resources for you to consider using to get better at positive self affirmation

Mental Health Websites:

1. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH): A reliable source for information on various mental health conditions, treatment options, and research updates.

2. PsychCentral: Provides a wealth of information on mental health topics, self-help resources, and a supportive online community.

3. Mayo Clinic Mental Health: Offers articles and resources related to mental health, including symptoms, causes, and treatment options.

4. Mental Health America (MHA): Provides education, advocacy, and support resources for mental health issues.

5. Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA): Focuses on anxiety and depression-related topics, including self-help tips and support.

6. Headspace Blog: The blog section of the Headspace app offers articles on mindfulness, meditation, and mental well-being.

Mental Health Apps:

1. Headspace: Offers guided meditation and mindfulness exercises to reduce stress and improve mental well-being.

2. Calm: Provides meditation sessions, sleep stories, and relaxation techniques to reduce anxiety and promote better sleep.

3. Woebot: A chatbot app that uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques to help users manage stress and improve their mood.

4. Sanvello: Combines therapy-based tools, coping strategies, and peer support to help with stress, anxiety, and depression.

5. Daylio: A mood tracking app that allows users to record their emotions and activities to gain insights into their mental well-being.

6. Talkspace: Connects users with licensed therapists for online therapy sessions via messaging, audio, or video.

7. Happify: Offers activities and games based on positive psychology to boost happiness and reduce stress.

Remember that mental health apps are not a substitute for professional help. If you're dealing with severe or ongoing mental health issues, it's essential to reach out to a qualified mental health professional for support and guidance. Always consult with a healthcare provider for personalized advice and treatment options.

How to be confident on virtual interviews

Virtual interviews have become increasingly common in today's world, and they come with their unique set of challenges. While the fundamentals of preparing for an in-person interview still apply, there are specific strategies you can use to maintain confidence during virtual interviews. Here are some essential tips to help you shine in your virtual interviews:

1. Familiarize Yourself with the Technology:

Before the interview, take the time to become familiar with the video conferencing platform being used. Test your audio and video settings, ensure a stable internet connection, and troubleshoot any potential issues. Being comfortable with the technology will prevent unnecessary stress during the interview.

2. Set Up a Professional Background:

Choose a clean, clutter-free background for your video interview. Opt for a quiet and well-lit area with minimal distractions. A professional background will help create a positive impression and keep the focus on you and your skills.

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3. Dress Professionally: Even though you might be interviewing from home, dress as you would for an in-person interview. Wearing professional attire will not only boost your confidence but also show the interviewer that you take the process seriously.

4. Maintain Eye Contact:

During virtual interviews, it can be tempting to look at the interviewer's image on the screen rather than the camera. Make a conscious effort to maintain eye contact by looking directly at the camera. This approach gives the impression of direct engagement with the interviewer.

5. Practice Active Listening:

Listen attentively to the interviewer's questions and avoid interrupting them. Take brief pauses before answering to ensure you understand the question fully. Active listening demonstrates your interest and attentiveness.

6. Use Positive Body Language:

Sit up straight and maintain good posture during the interview. Smile and nod appropriately to show your enthusiasm and engagement. Positive body language can convey confidence and make a lasting impression.

7. Prepare for Technical Glitches:

Technical issues may arise during virtual interviews. If there's a glitch or a momentary disconnection, stay calm and composed. Have the interviewer's contact information on hand, so you can reconnect quickly if needed.

8. Be Mindful of Your Speaking Pace:

Speak clearly and at a moderate pace to ensure the interviewer can understand you. Avoid rushing through your responses, as it can make you appear nervous. Take your time to articulate your thoughts thoughtfully.

9. Showcase Your Accomplishments:

During the interview, confidently share your achievements and experiences relevant to the position. Use specific examples to illustrate your skills and abilities.

10. Practice, Practice, Practice:

Conduct mock interviews with friends or family using video conferencing tools. Practicing will help you become more comfortable with the format and fine-tune your responses.

Remember that virtual interviews can be just as impactful as in-person ones if you approach them with confidence and preparation. Utilize these tips to showcase your skills, personality, and enthusiasm, and stand out as a top candidate for the position. Good luck!

Confidence is not an overnight achievement but a skill that can be developed with practice and self-belief. By researching, preparing, dressing professionally, maintaining eye contact, and speaking confidently, you can approach your interview with newfound assurance and present yourself as the best candidate for the job.

Ever wondered how to include hobbies and interests on your resume?

Including hobbies and interests on your resume can help you stand out from the competition and provide valuable insights into your personality, skills, and potential cultural fit within a company.

50 Hobbies and Interests for Resume

There is a special article we wrote on how to include hobbies and interests on resume for everyone. We highlighly recommend that you read since it has about 100 examples of hobbies and intersts.

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Nanda Ponnambalam

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