10 Ways to Show Confidence in a Job Interview
Trying to show confidence may not come easy for you. It’s a struggle for everyone who tries to maintain a modicum of humility. However, the job interview is no place to keep the great Secret of You private.
Employers want to know they’re speaking to someone who can be the next great asset to their company. If that’s you, then let them see it! First, however, you have to believe it yourself.
In this article, we’ll be examining several ways that you can project and show confidence to potential employers. Yes, the stakes can be high. But following the guidelines below will show that you’re ready for the opportunity. Let’s begin!
1. Establish Eye Contact
Eye contact can seem intimidating if you’re used to looking at your shoes when you meet someone. However, it’s your first and best way to project confidence to the people that matter.
What will help if you’re not already good at this? We suggest giving yourself permission not to look at both eyes. Focusing on one will be fine and make it seem a bit less intimidating. Better yet, the other person won’t be able to tell.
They will just know you’re looking at them. From there, smile and don’t hold onto any one stare for too long. Three to five seconds is fine.
2. Offer Firm Handshakes
The handshake may be making a comeback now that COVID appears to be receding. If you’re used to doing fist bumps, now is the time to start practicing the shake again.
Before giving a handshake to someone, try to read their body language. When it comes to boss-types, make them make the first move. You can do that with a friendly gaze and strong eye contact (see No. 1).
Next, be realistic about body types and your own personal strength. If you’re a burly guy about to shake hands with an elderly woman, you’ll probably want to “go in” with a lighter grip than you would someone of your own size and sex.
Even so, your handshake should be firm enough for the other party. Botching the handshake can be a subtle way of showing you’re not confident.
3. Ask Questions That Demonstrate Knowledge
Questions are important in a job interview. Not only the questions they ask you, but also the questions you ask in return. In fact, those might be some of the most important questions of all!
That’s because job interviewers ask the same questions over and over again to each candidate. The answers can run together if they’re not particularly engrossing, original, or memorable in some other way. But when you get the chance to be the interviewer, engagement levels automatically go up.
You have their full and undivided attention. Asking questions that show you’ve put research, care, and thought into their business/industry will go a long way in making you stand out.
4. Actively Listen
Being loose in a job interview might seem impossible when you’re nervous. You should prepare for the job interview, think about it, and try to register what to say and what not to say. But never lose sight of the purpose behind it all.
Employers need to see that you’ll be able to function in day-to-day settings. They know that not everything is carefully rehearsed, nor should it be. If you come across that way, it could work against you.
So, during the interview itself, make sure that you’re not coming across stilted and uptight. Think less about what you have to say and more about actively listening to what they’re saying. Be as extemporaneous as you can when responding.
At the end of the day, it’s just a conversation. No one is going to lock you up in a prison cell for the rest of your life if you botch it. Let all that pressure you put on yourself before the interview, while you’re preparing, go away as soon as it begins.
5. Focus Your Stories On Value
A job interview where you’re not doing any of the talking could be reasonably construed as a disaster. The employers are there to evaluate you. They want to see if you’re a good fit for their business, and it’s likely they don’t want someone working for them who has to be told what to do.
Therefore, you should plan on doing a good share of the talking. Come equipped with stories that might be relevant to the job and the company. But as you tell those stories, you need to do so with one overarching purpose.
Show the employer through each anecdote how you can bring value to them. If you can do that, then they will be bringing value to you with a job offer and a bright future.
6. Show Growth
Talk about a time when you made a mistake. What’s your greatest weakness? These types of questions can be killers if you’re ill-prepared. Don’t let them catch you off-guard.
Be as real as you can with employers without making yourself look like a hapless moron. Start from the reality that no one is perfect. Not them, not you. We all make mistakes, especially when we’re just starting out.
Don’t be afraid of these questions, which are designed to turn up the pressure on you to see how you might perform. Go back to the beginning of your failure. Where were you at your weakest? How did you progress through it? Where did you end up?
Think hard. You’ll be able to find something that shows your growth as a person and/or worker. You get to choose what it is. Find a quality that you know will be beneficial to the employer. Then, discuss how you went about gaining it.
7. Act Like You Are Happy to Be There
Would you rather be out partying than going into a job interview? Likely, but the same could be said of your interviewers. Job interviews are not what we would call “recreational time.” That said, there’s no reason they have to be miserable.
Go into yours with the attitude that you’re happy to be there. If you need some psyching up to that, try to think about all the good ways getting the job (and the money) could change your life for the better.
Doing whatever mental aerobics that you have to do to make the job interview seem like an exciting event will help you go in with the right attitude. With the right attitude, you can show confidence in a way that you wouldn’t otherwise.
8. Wear Your Best
Check out your closet for anything in the business-casual realm. If that’s the vibe of the job and what you’ll be wearing every day, that is. It’s typically a good idea to match the Interview Day Wardrobe to the typical workday of the position you’re trying for.
At least, that’s true for most professional jobs. For some skills-based or blue-collar jobs, you might need to “dress up” a tad, but try not to overdo it. You wouldn’t wear a three-piece suit to a job interview for an auto mechanic. That would just come across weird and awkward.
Use your wardrobe as a way to show the employers that you understand what the position entails. At the same time, give the job itself the respect it commands by what you choose to put on that day.
9. Practice Ahead of Time
Use the Internet to the best of your abilities. Get on forums like Quora and Reddit to see what others going for similar jobs have been asked. What are some of the best-rated responses? You can use these answers as a starting point.
From there, start practicing the delivery. Get in front of the mirror to see what you look like when giving the answer. Observe your ease of delivery and the knowledge that you’re conveying for those responses. The more that you practice, the easier it will be when you get ready for the real thing.
10. Do a Test Run
Are you familiar with the location of the job interview? If not, now is a good time to get there. Check it out on your phone’s GPS system. If you’re familiar enough with the city, then you may not need to actually drive the route prior to Job Interview Day. If the job is located two or more hours away, then it may not even be practical.
Whatever you do, make sure that you leave enough time to get there 15 minutes early, then add an hour for unfamiliar locations. Doing so ensures that if you run into any unexpected traffic, you’ll still be able to get there with time to spare.
Those Who Show Confidence Make An Impression
The ability to show confidence in your job interview is about so much more than standing out from other candidates. It’s about proving to your employers that you have what it takes to do the job and mesh with company culture.
Going through each of these tips and being mindful of them on the day of the interview will help. Now it’s your turn, readers. What are some job interview tactics that you’ve used to project and show confidence? Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Flickr Creative Commons]