4 Tips for Feeling Powerful at Job Interviews

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VictoryIf you want to perform to your maximum at interview and leave the best impression, you’ll need to deploy strategies that actively boost your confidence. Research shows that confident candidates have an advantage over less-confident candidates in interview settings. The study in question asked one group of participants to write about a previous experience in which they had a lot of power and another group to write about a previous experience in which they lacked power. Candidates from each group were put into mock interview situations, and the candidates from the group that wrote about having power were seen as more persuasive. The behavior of these “powerful” candidates increased their likelihood of acceptance by 162 percent against the “non-powerful” candidates and by 81 percent against the jobs report baseline.

So, given that feeling confident and powerful in interviews will help maximize your performance and attractiveness to interviewers, I’ve decided to share four simple tips to help you feel powerful at job interviews.

1. Positive Visualization

Prior to your next interview, take some time to sit down and conjure up an image or memory of a time in your life when you felt powerful. Think about the situation; try to remember what you did to gain the upper hand and think about the thoughts and feelings that ran through your head. You can try this exercise in the waiting room or on the way to the interview.

2. Power Pose

Professor Amy Cuddy found that people who assume high-power poses — e.g. standing up with hands on hips, sitting down with hands clasped behind the head, etc. —  see their testosterone levels increase by 20 percent after just two minutes of posing. Conversely, people who strike low-power poses — e.g., heads down, hunched over, fetal position — see their testosterone levels drop by 10 percent after two minutes. In other words: high-power poses actually make us feel more powerful.

Of course, you can’t strike power poses during interviews, as doing so would come across as rude, arrogant, and maybe even downright weird. What you can do is adopt a high-power pose in the restroom prior to interview to boost your testosterone levels and make yourself feel more confident and powerful.

3. Stand Up and Walk Around

It would look strange if you suddenly got up and started strutting round the interview room for no reason — and that’s why I am not suggesting you do that. However, if the interview room has a whiteboard or a flip chart, you may want to ask if you can illustrate one or two of your answers on the board. Doing so will give you the chance to stand up and walk around with the interviewer’s permission; it will also put you in a dominant, powerful position. You’ll be standing while the interviewer is seated, and you’ll be able to show your enthusiasm and passion — and  maybe even throw in a few power poses — while presenting.

You might even find that the interviewer follows your lead and starts doodling on the board too. This will mean that you have shown leadership and set an enthusiastic tone for the interview — which could be worth more brownie points in the interviewer’s eyes.

4. Listen to Base-Heavy ‘Power Music ‘ Prior to the Interview

Just as athletes listen to music before competing to boost their feelings of power, you can — and should — do the same to boost your confidence before an interview. The kind of music that pumps people up may vary from person to person, but the fact remains that research shows that listening to “high-power: songs can make people feel more confident and powerful going into interviews and meetings.

Preparing for an interview requires more than preparing technical responses for questions — it also requires preparing your mind and priming yourself to be confident and powerful. Doing so will enable you to make the strongest and most positive impression on your interviewer.

Read more in Interview Techniques

Kazim Ladimeji is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practicing HR professional for 14 years. Kazim is the Director of The Career Cafe: a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers.