You may be as skilled as Zuckerberg and Gates, you may be as persevering as Ray Kroc (founder of McDonald’s), and you may have finally reached the last stage of landing your dream job, aka the interview part. But even after all of that, if you don’t have this one skill, your chances of screwing the interview skyrocket. Yes, I am talking about your lack of confidence in interviews.
While it is absolutely true that to even make it to the interview you are gonna need skills and a ‘never give up’ attitude, but when it comes to the final one on one interview, confidence takes away the trophy of being one of the most important skills, at least at that moment.
Why Should You be Confident in a Job Interview?
Though the answer is already self-explanatory, I figured I should shed some light on the topic nevertheless, just to make you realize how important, crucial, and game-changing it can be.
Imagine you are sitting in the hallway with 50 other candidates, waiting for your name to be called out. Now, make no mistake, you all have already gone through a tiresome process of elimination, so you are already skilled enough to qualify for the job. Bad news? So, are the 50 other candidates. sitting with you.
Now, of course, you can be better than the others in terms of skills and work experience, but how much of a difference is it gonna actually make? The interviewers don’t have all day to measure exactly how much more competent you are than your counterpart.
This is precisely where ‘confidence’ jumps into the picture to make the task easy for the people interviewing you. It works like a screening test to filter the scum from the precious, the dirt from the clean, the undeserving from the deserving.
So, without making you sweat anymore, let’s get to the nitty-gritty details of how can you boost your confidence in job interviews.
#1 Pay Special Attention to Body Language
I don’t know if you have noticed, but at times when you feel left out in a group talk or simply don’t have anything exciting to say and feel all alone even when surrounded by your favorite set of people, your lousy body language is to be blamed.
When you are actively participating in a group talk, cracking your favorite jokes, or reminiscing your favorite memories; your body language is all charged up and filled with exuberance. You get all pumped up with energy and literally swirl around, throwing your arms and legs in the air and screaming at the top of your lungs. Ok maybe that’s an exaggeration but you got the point.
On the other hand, when you are all lost and silent and are simply just pretending to listen, your body language is not that confident and filled with energy anymore. You’re just sitting, acting as a clone, squeezing yourself to fit as compactly as possible, lowering your eye contact, and not moving your body at all. Words rarely come out of your mouth and even if they do, they are pretty low pitched, which can only be heard by you.
That’s what happens when you are in a job interview and waiting for your turn to come. You subconsciously give in to the pressure and heat and start mirroring the tensed and stressed body language of the other 50 candidates. Sitting with folded arms and legs, biting your nails, and scratching your head are all pretty clear examples of your not-so-confident body language.
This is actually interconnected to each other. Good body language breeds confidence, and having a confident mindset can automatically be witnessed through your body, in turn developing into a loop. What this basically implies is that the more nervous, stressed out, and anxious you get, the more lethargic your body gets, and that in turn degrades your confidence even more.
Since this advice is on body language to muster confidence for interviews, hence I suggest you read my article on honing confident body language to sweep the interviewers off of their feet by mustering some confidence for the interview.
In a nutshell, be aware of how you are carrying yourself around physically. Practice some power poses, occupy as much space as you can while you sit(without looking unnatural), and walk like you mean something.
#2: Talk to Yourself
Like I mentioned in the previous point, you can either correct your body posture to instill the right kind of thoughts, or you can talk to yourself in the right manner to alter your not-so-attractive hesitant body language.
As I have mentioned it probably a hundred times before too, self-talk is a really powerful tool at your disposal and you should definitely leverage it to its full potential. A simple thought engraved in the mind can totally turn the tables and how.
If the thought, “I am nervous, I am gonna screw up big time. There are 50 other qualifying candidates, what if I am not the one they are looking for?” and so on is revolving in your head then what are the chances that you will be able to present a confident self that they are looking for? Miniscule.
But simply saying to yourself that, “I am confident, I am well prepared and I know I have done my research to the best of my abilities. And I don’t care if they even reject me today or not, what I do know is that I am gonna give my best”. Now, what do you think is gonna happen? It’s a no-brainer that it will uplift your current situation by a multiple of at least 10 if not 100.
Besides, there is no imminent downside to this strategy, so you might as well give it a sincere shot.
Once you do this, a funny thing will happen. Earlier when you were getting nervous and stressed out looking at the scared and sweaty faces of the other candidates, you will now be laughing at their timidness and insecurity when you yourself are feeling confident about the interview.
This technique immediately arms you with a switch to leap from clumsy and unconfident to coordinated and confident. And all it took was just one little thought. And the best part is that you don’t need years of practice or ultra-high awareness to leverage this.
#3 Remember The Moments where you were at your Best
All of us do have certain memories where we were the hero of the group, having a charming personality and exuberating confidence like James Bond.
So, whenever you find yourself in a jam or feel like losing faith and confidence in interviews, simply remind yourself of the times when you were at your peak. A little nudge that “Yes, I have it in me. I got this.” will do the job.
You simply have forgotten of your abilities, for the time being, giving in to the pressure and external circumstances. But that’s ok. For you to jump back right in and look confident in interviews, you know what to do now.
#4 Don’t let the Interviewer Intimidate You
Now that you know what to do before you enter the door, I suppose I shouldn’t leave you high and dry just yet as there is a lot going on behind those doors too that you might wanna get familiar with.
Your interviewer is not your friend or your supporter who’s gonna tell you to think positive and all, not at least during your first meet. In fact, in most cases, they are gonna try their level best to scare you, intimidate you, confuse you, tangle you up and make you nervous to see whether you are fit for the job or not.
And the best way for them to do this? Sitting expressionless to not let you know what they are thinking of.
At times, the interviewers interviewing will simply listen to you without giving you any expression whatsoever, baffling the shit out of you and making you second guess your answers. Thoughts like, “Am I even making sense? Damn, look at his face, I am definitely screwing up big time” start swirling in your fearful mind. You might be giving all the right answers but since you are not assertive of yourself, it won’t be long before you shit the bed.
And that’s what they wanna see, whether you are confident enough in what you’re saying that you don’t actually need any validation from someone else in the first place. So hold your ground, be aware of your body language, say it like you mean it, and don’t let them rattle you.
Remember, it’s just a test.
#5 Don’t Be Afraid to Say “I Don’t Know”
I know we all wanna be a ‘know it all’ who can recite the constitution forward and backward, but that’s not really the case unless you are Mike Ross.
So, instead of pretending to know something and lying to their face, simply say ‘I don’t know the answer to that’. You are showing your honesty, integrity, trustworthiness, and the fact that you are confident with accepting things you don’t know. Trust me, this is one of the best ways to look confident in an interview and charm the shit out of them.
People who are insecure, vulnerable, and unconfident don’t have the stomach to accept that they are less than anyone. They simply put up a false and lying facade to make them look desirable and attractive. But little do they know that doing this is actually making them the exact opposite of what they wanna be. People who lie can never show confidence in an interview because they will always live under the paranoia of getting caught sooner than later.
And in 99.99% of cases, you definitely are gonna get caught in your own web of lies. You can’t simply make a fool of them forever. They are more experienced and competent than you are and they will catch you in a heartbeat if you try to over cross or outsmart them.
Being confident in a job interview not just implies saying all the right answers, it’s also about accepting your weak points and acknowledging that you might not be knowing all the ‘right answers’. Saying “I don’t know the answer to your question” is confidence. Saying “I am sorry, I gave you a wrong answer to your previous question” is also confidence. And only a confident man can muster the courage to accept something like this.
Speaking of this issue, I am reminded of a quote, “An honest man has nothing to fear.” And I couldn’t agree more. Honestly, honesty breeds confidence. At the end of the day, it’s these small points that will differentiate you from the rest of the crowd. So, instead of dazzling them with your ivy league college degrees, sweep them off of their feet with honesty and confidence. It’s old school but still works like a charm.
#6 Difference between Overconfidence and Confidence
Now, sometimes what may have begun as you trying to pat yourself on the back to cheer up in order to make yourself look confident has now resulted in making you overconfident. So, how do you know when to stop? Or even knowing that you are now overconfident about yourself?
The primary reason why your confidence may shoot up to the roof and turn into overconfidence is when we are trying to be something we are not. When we hold on to some kind of lie or start faking something that’s when we regress from confidence to overconfidence which isn’t a really attractive quality to embody if you ask me.
When you stick with the reality and hold on to the truth, then you look real, humble, and definitely not arrogant. So, if you continue to be a pretentious douchebag who comes off as a ‘know it all’ then forget about cracking the job interview, no one would even like to hang out with you.
Overconfidence makes you wanna be right in any and every situation. It will make you fight like hell because under no circumstances are you to accept that you are wrong as that would be against the tenet of overconfidence.
So, instead of wasting your energies being a douche and trying to convince everyone of something you are not, focus on the things you are proficient in and are thorough with. This will help you preserve your energies that were earlier distributed in a hundred and twelve other places where they had no business whatsoever.
As long as you go with the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth you are gonna be fine. You aren’t even gonna be afraid of showcasing your weaknesses and shortcomings because that’s what real confidence is all about. And that’s what makes confidence a helluva trait to acquire.
#7 Dress Up Like Harvey Specter in Your Interview
Since I have been a long time hardcore Suits fan, there is no one better coming to my mind other than Harvey Specter, when it comes to dressing sense. “People respond to how we are dressed”, “First Impressions last.”
The first thing people are gonna notice about you is how you are dressed, and you don’t wanna let them down, least of all your interviewer. You wouldn’t even know how fast all of this works, but the very second they set eyes on you, they would have formed an opinion about you already solely on the basis of your outward appearance.
You should dress up according to the situation. But that’s such generic advice that it doesn’t really mean anything anymore. Everybody knows that while giving a job interview you have to wear formals, so it’s a no-brainer that all of those 50 candidates will be in a shirt and tie and formal shoes. What can differentiate you from the rest of the bunch to look more sharp and confident in a job interview is to do some research about the company, their culture, and their dress code, and dress according to that.
Hot Tip: Go window shopping. You don’t have to buy the latest branded clothes, you just have to closely observe what’s currently selling best in the market, the trends and all. Now that you are aware of what kind of fashion is prevalent, you can dress up more like it and that too without spending a boatload of money. You can choose your dress more aptly as you have understood the pattern, the texture of your cloth, the type of tie to wear, the color of the suit, as you have already browsed through a number of best selling formal wears.
And this will indirectly help you build a rapport with your interviewer instantly. As he is likely to be in a good position earning an impressive income, he’s gonna connect more with people, subconsciously, who carry the same taste and style as he does. And of course, he will be flaunting his branded suit, so the least you can do is to wear a similar type of suit if you can’t afford the brand.
#8 Turn the Tables to Level the Field
At the end of most interviews, they are gonna give you the opportunity to turn the tables by letting you ask any questions you want. This is probably one of the best ways to level the field as they are essentially handing you the method on a silver platter. The last thing you would wanna do is say ‘no question’ and weasel your way out of the interview because you can’t take the heat anymore.
Instead prepare a couple of questions beforehand to make the whole process go rather smoothly. The questions should be legit and genuine. Right from, “Did you find anything weird with my resume” to “Can I bring my dog to the office”. (Ok, maybe not the latter one)
Now, remember you are the interviewee at the end of the day. So you don’t actually have to take up the role of interviewer and start firing questions after questions. No! You are simply trying to level the field by asking a question you genuinely want an answer to (showing confidence) and you are giving the interviewer a chance to impress you(turning the tables). Don’t overdo it though. It can pretty quickly backfire on you.
Now, I can’t guarantee whether you will crack your next job interview just by reading a couple of articles on increasing your confidence for interviews on the internet, nobody can. There are a ton of factors involved when it comes to getting recruited by a company. Of course, you need skills, work experience, and degrees. I in no way am intending to say that those attributes can be substituted or replaced by just perfecting a couple of soft skills.
But what I can guarantee you is that if you understood the crux of this article, which is to pinpoint all your energies in telling the truth with confidence then sooner than later you definitely are gonna land that job. And believe it or not, all of these small tips that you might feel are trivial are all adding up which may ultimately tip the scales in your favor at the end of the day.
And don’t worry, we are all humans. Nervousness and stress are natural but don’t let them hinder you in any way. Follow the advice mentioned in this article, and you are ready to go.
PRO TIP: The real swag will be when companies will fight amongst themselves to impress you instead of you trying to impress the companies. And that’s only possible when you are a real player in your field. So, get down to becoming the master of your game and you won’t ever have to worry about being out of a job. That’s the real kicker boys and girls. Be so good at what you do that once people see you, they’d kill to keep you.
Getting a job is not about all the perks and privileges you want, it’s about the value you provide. Give and you shall Get.