A lack of self-confidence is often the underlying cause of a lack of job offers. So what can you do to pump up your feelings of self-worth and personal positivity before an interview?
Career experts are increasingly advising job candidates to work on issues of self-awareness as part of their job interview preparation. The more confident you feel on the day of an interview, the easier it will be to cope with stress and to respond well to interview questions. The aim, then, is to arrive for an interview with the mindset: “Yes, I really do have what it takes to do this job. I would be an asset to this company, and here’s my chance to show how.”
Here are five ways to help you get to that stage:
Too often the classic interview question – “Do you know anything about the company?” – is badly answered. So rather than carry out a cursory scan of the company website, put aside time to really understand what the organization does and what it’s trying to achieve. If you learn about the challenges faced in this part of the industry, have read some recent company/industry news and have an idea of the brand image the company is trying to portray, you can build up a picture of their ideal employee type and sound suitably knowledgeable and keen in the interview. Also revisit the job description to fully understand the tasks you’d be required to do and the challenges you’re likely to face day to day. Again, your insights will help you look, sound and feel confident when talking to the interviewers.
List your assets to convince yourself
Once you are confident you know what they are looking for, you can start preparing examples of why you would be a great asset to the company. In the days before your interview, sit down and list all the achievements and skills you want to present to the panel that show you would be the perfect person to hire. Think about your own experience as listed in your CV and write down all of the qualifications you have that align with the employer’s needs according to the job description. This could cover work experience, volunteering, hobbies and academic qualifications. You can also add personal attributes to your asset list – good communication skills, interpersonal skills, team working – making sure you have examples of how you have used these skills to good effect. This detailed list can’t fail but boost your confidence – it’s a wealth of detailed evidence that proves your worth.
Give yourself a mock interview
Undoubtedly the job interview is a performance, so the more rehearsal time you put in, the better things will go on the day. Find some interview questions online, and have a go at answering the ones you think are likely to crop up. At least cover the basics:
- Tell me about yourself
- Why do you want to work for us?
- What has been your greatest achievement?
- Where do you see yourself in five years’ time?
What are your strengths and weaknesses?
Think about relevant examples you can use and how to tell those stories clearly yet concisely. It might be worth asking a friend or your recruitment agency to give you a mock interview, making sure they give you honest feedback. Or you could video yourself through your laptop or PC and work on elements you think could be improved.
Remember that this is all about self-promotion, professional etiquette and clear communication, so make sure you are not rambling on or hesitating and stumbling over words. Improving these skills well in advance of the interview will boost your confidence levels massively.
Give your body language a boost
Confident body language can literally make you more confident by triggering physiological changes in your body, according to psychologists. The theory goes that if you spend some time before your interview in a confident pose – standing tall, shoulders back, etc. – your body will release chemicals that help you handle the stressful, confrontational nature of the interview. Body language errors to avoid during the interview include breaking eye contact, too much nodding, fidgeting and nail biting, arm crossing, and general bad spinal posture. So sit up, make sure you make plenty of eye contact, keep your arms down by your side most of the time and smile at the appropriate times.
Line up some killer questions
It’s a given that you will be asked “Any questions for us?” at the end of the interview. Preparing for this is a guaranteed way to feel confident and upbeat right through to the end of the meeting. It’s your chance to stand out from the competition and end the interview looking smart and keen, as long as the questions are relevant and meaningful. Good examples include:
- What is the company’s approach to training and development?
- How would my success in this role be measured over the next 12 months?
- What would you say makes someone successful in this organization?
Navigating the hiring process is a challenge for us all, but when it comes to the interview stage, the more you can do to boost your confidence levels beforehand, the more likely you’ll be to give a sparkling performance and land the job.
ILSPA publishes an article from specialist recruitment site www.Simplylawjobs.com each month. Simplylawjobs.com advertises thousands of the latest legal jobs from leading recruitment agencies and direct employers across the UK. By registering as a jobseeker you can apply for jobs, upload your CV to be seen by employers and sign up to receive email job alerts.