19 Sep Ace Your Next Job Interview
Almost everybody gets at least a little nervous during a job interview, especially if they have waited a long time for the opportunity.
It is natural to be worried about both the things you can control – your answers, promptness, or clothing – as well as the ones you can’t, such as the interviewer’s questions, mood, or prejudices. It seems like there are a thousand things to worry about! Yet it is essential to present a confident but modest attitude in order to show that you can handle stress and are prepared for the task at hand.
If you become nervous in these situations, your anxieties can start to build long before you arrive at the interview. If you need help calming your nerves in order to be confident during a job interview, do your best to follow through on these tips:
Remember Your Accomplishments and Skills
Remind yourself why you know that you can do the job! Don’t let your nervousness trick you into forgetting your skills, accomplishments, and experiences. You will, of course, need to have a ready list of your best qualities in mind when describing why you are a good fit for the position.
Think about all that you have done that has helped you learn and develop your personality. Even personal goals or accomplishments that seem completely unrelated to the job can increase your confidence. They show that you have what it takes to problem solve, challenge yourself and keeping moving forward. If you have not had a chance to show off all that you can do yet, remind yourself of your dreams and use this energy to project confidence and assurance.
Balance Personality and Professionalism
It is always hard to follow advice about “being yourself” at an interview or presentation. We all have many facets to our personalities, and we change how we act when we are in different situations and with different people.
What is important during a job interview is to be professional without being stiff, robotic, or dishonest. Act like yourself, but your best and most put-together self. If you always bouncing around, show that you have energy while still acting appropriately; if you are very quiet, make sure you speak up and make eye contact, but don’t force yourself to be extremely exuberant.
If you try too hard to be someone else, you will wonder if you are putting on a convincing act. Your lack of confidence in your fake confidence might show! It is better to act like a more confident you than pretend to be someone else entirely.
Wear Appropriate but Comfortable Clothing
Dressing professionally is a must, but it can also tempt you to wear clothing that is stiff or uncomfortable. It is hard to prevent this discomfort from contributing to your nervousness. You may not be able to avoid wearing something that is unusual for you, but you can make sure that your clothing fits well and looks good. If you look put-together and competent, you will feel more confident as well. But if you feel itchy or wearing ill-fitting clothing, it may distract you or just make you altogether less relaxed. Choose something that is both comfortable and suited to you in both fit and personality.
Be Calm and Take Your Time
Breathe deeply before you get ready to go into the interview and try to keep your respiration steady throughout. This doesn’t mean you should go crazy focusing on your breath, but by reminding yourself to breathe normally you will also remind yourself that there is no need to panic.
Take a reasonable amount of time for both your actions and your words. It is common to feel that you are moving or speaking awkwardly when you are nervous, but this is often an illusion. You can avoid rushing your words or movements by practicing basic interview questions beforehand.
If there is an unusual or unexpected question, don’t panic; answer truthfully, but with the best attitude and spin possible.
Last but not least: practice your interview by yourself or with someone who will take the task seriously. You don’t want to recite lines coldly (and you may not get the chance, if they surprise you with unusual questions!) but you do want to have a flexible plan in place. What qualities and skills do you have that may you a good candidate for the job? Why would you be a good fit? Can you give a brief summary of your work history or schooling? Practice answering these questions clearly and without unnecessary details that might trip you up.
If you have answered questions a few times in a way that feels professional but natural, you will show less hesitation and project a more confident image during the interview.
Being confident in a job interview takes the same skills required to be confident in life. Strive to learn how to control your nerves and doubts, be true to yourself while striving to be better, and, whenever possible, practice first!
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