Sitting through an interview can be a nerve-wracking experience for even the most confident of people. It is so easy to feel as if you have no control over the process and that you have no choice but to follow the lead of the interviewer – unless you take action to claim some of your power back.
If you want to feel more confident and in control during job interviews, consider a few of the following tips.
1. Take Notes
When you take notes, you accomplish a few things. First, you give your hands something to do that doesn’t resemble nervous fidgeting. Second, taking notes gives you the appearance of being focused and engaged in the interview process. Just remember that you should maintain eye contact with the interviewer as you write things down. You do not want to give off the appearance of a nervous student who is furiously taking notes while staring down at their binder.
2. Assume a Power Pose
“Power poses” are sitting and standing positions that make you look – and, more importantly, feel – more confident.
The reason that power poses work is twofold. First, body language matters. The right pose can have a significant impact on how you are perceived. Second, specific poses actually alter your body’s chemistry by increasing your testosterone output and decreasing your cortisol output. This physically makes you feel energized and more confident.
3. Ask a Challenging Question
You already know that you should research the company before you show up to the interview. Doing so gives you the ability to ask and answer questions intelligently. After all, nobody wants to ask the question, “What exactly do you guys do here?” if they can avoid it.
Another step that you can take as you are doing your research is to formulate a thoughtful and challenging question. Remember that your goal is not to fluster your interviewer or make them look foolish. You just want to come up with a well-thought-out question that makes the interviewer stop and think. It’s even better if they have to offer to get back to you with an answer.
4. Wear a Great Ensemble
When you go to an interview, what you wear matters. Yes, impressing your interviewer is definitely part of this equation, but it is not the only factor. You want to wear something that feels good on you and that makes you feel great about how you look. Remember that there are many things in the interview process that are not in your control – but what you wear and how you feel wearing it is something that you can control. Take advantage of that.
5. Move Around
This is not something that you will always be able to pull off. However, when you can do it, it can have a great impact on your confidence.
Here are a few ways you may be able to move around the room a little bit without your interviewers wondering what the heck you’re up to:
- Ask permission to illustrate an idea on a white board.
- Write something down, and then move to stand next to the interviewer so you can both view what you’ve written from the same vantage point.
- Stand up if somebody new enters the room.
Being on your feet while you speak is naturally empowering. In addition to that, if you are deep into a long interview, moving around just a bit can help you to feel a little more energized.
6. Use Power Words
Do you remember all of those power words that you put on your resume so that you would get noticed? They must have worked, because you landed that important interview.
Now, don’t forget to use those same words while you are being interviewed. These are especially important to use when you are new to the job market. Power words make you feel more confident about yourself when you discuss your accomplishments.
7. Smile Frequently
You’ve probably already heard that smiling makes you feel better and that it makes you more likeable. What you may not know is that smiling also balances out any nervous vibes you may be giving off. The result is that your interviewer will begin addressing you as if you are confident and qualified – even if you don’t actually feel that way yourself.
8. Plan a Great Answer to the Question, “Tell Us About Yourself”
Most people respond to this question with a brief, four-part answer in the following form: “I am a ____________. I went to school at _______________. I’ve worked at________________. I want to become a_____________.”
In other words: boring. None of this conveys passion, accomplishment, or hard work. Try composing a one to two-minute long answer that doesn’t just address the what, when, and where, but also the how (dedication and hard work!) and why (passion!). After you get that answer out, you will feel confident and ready to knock out the rest of the interview.
9. Address the Interviewer by Name
This is another tactic that has multiple benefits. First, when you address people by name, you make them feel important. Addressing your interviewer by name is also a great way to establish just a bit of authority. Have you ever noticed that you get better service if you address people by name? There’s a reason for this.
Every interview goes a little bit differently, and what works in one interview may not work out in another. However, there is a good chance that at least one of the nine tips above can help you to feel at least a little more powerful during your next interview.