Some of the most valuable things I ever learned were tips for being confident in an interview. As a shy teen, I had a hard time coming out of my shell. Then, when I hit 18 years old, I started doing pageants. While I have regrets about doing them many reasons, I’m very grateful to them for one single thing: they taught me how to ace interviews. In fact, as someone who was terrible on stage at first, learning interview tips became my strong point, and I aced every interview I went into. Later on, I learned how to gain confidence on stage and began winning pageants more often, but interviews were always my strong point. If you’re terrified of interview for jobs, opportunities, or anything else, I have news for you: you can do it! If I could overcome my fear of speaking in front of others, I promise you can too. Try these tips for being confident in an interview that I learned and still use to this day. Before you know it, you’ll do them without even thinking, and interviews will be a breeze!
1. Prepare Beforehand
One of my favorite tips for being confident in an interview is to always prepare beforehand. I used to write down all my ideas on paper that I wanted to be sure to include, any questions I had, and I never memorized a speech or answers. That would only trip me up if I forgot them out of order. Instead, writing down a collective combination of questions and ideas helped me brainstorm before I went into the interview. Then, I felt like there was nothing I couldn’t answer correctly, discuss with knowledge or confidence, or not be prepared for them to ask. I suggest writing down about a page of ideas that they might ask you, or things you’d like to ask, or writing some things down off your resume that you will probably want to discuss in your interview. This is a great way to prepare, brainstorm, and keeps you from having to memorize everything. The more you study your own resume and prepare for questions off it, the more confident you’ll feel when someone asks you about it.
2. Talk Yourself out of Fear
Remember, the person interviewing you is just a person. They aren’t your life’s only hope, nor is it the only job out there. Yes, they may be the key to you finding your dream job, so interviews are important to say the least, but working yourself up in a tizzy about how “big” this is, isn’t going to help you. One trick that works for me sounds so silly, but it gives me so much confidence anyway, is to have a “pep” talk with myself beforehand. Mentally, I tell myself, “You’ve got this,” and I walk into an interview with confidence, not arrogance, peacefulness and focus all my attention to the person interviewing me, not on how scared I am.
3. Workout That Morning
This is another trick I always use before an interview. I workout each day, but on the morning of an interview, I get up extra early to make it happen before the interview. Why? Exercise gets your blood flowing, brain thinking, and raises your endorphin levels, and your energy - even better than coffee. It also gives you confidence, fortitude, and you’ll feel better, I promise. No matter how hard it is, fit in a 30 minute workout before and you’ll already feel ahead of the game, regardless that the person interviewing you could care less when you workout. I promise, it works!
4. Don’t Think about Your Flaws
When you go into an interview, try to forget about fly away hair you’re having trouble with, or that your favorite skirt wasn’t clean like you wanted. Dress appropriately, professionally, and simple. After that, don’t worry or think anymore about how you look. First impressions are what make the difference, so be sure you do attempt to look your best, but after that, allow your brain to clear the way to focus solely on your resume, the company, and the questions they’ll be asking you.
5. Extend a Hand
One thing I always, always do when I enter an interview, is to extend a confident hand, and give my interviewer a firm handshake. People tend not to do this much anymore, out of a fear of germs, or thinking it’s just not professional, but you should! People are usually taken off guard by this, if they don’t shake your hand first, but in a good way. They might hesitate, but it will be because you’ve made an impression they aren’t used to, and you’ll stand out just for doing this. Go in with peace, smile, and offer a firm, confident handshake, like you’re just there to sit and have coffee with them. This also puts them at ease, and gives them something to remember you by. Just make sure your hands aren’t sweaty first dear!
6. Let Them Talk
I know when you’re nervous, it can be easy to want to stammer and do all the talking, but say, “Good morning, etc.” ( or afternoon), and then proceed on with letting them do the talking. Interviewers like to feel like they are in control. If they ask you to explain something, answer a question, or tell them something, feel free to do so, but try to keep it informative and concise at the same time. You should never spend more than about 2 minutes answering a question they ask you, but also avoid simple “yes” or “no” answers too. Explain, but don’t overkill the answer.
7. Pretend like You’ve Already Gotten the Job
If you’re interviewing for a job, or opportunity, pretend in the interview that you’ve already gotten it by being excited, yet calm and collected. Don’t look desperate whatever you do. Sometimes you have to psych yourself out and literally pretend that you’ve already aced it, but doing so actually sends a sense of peace and confidence to your interviewer that they’ll see as responsible, dependable, and enthusiastic. Just don’t be arrogant whatever you do. That’s definitely a turn off. Remember, confidence is all about your demeanor and your presence, not what you say. Smug is different to confident, so know the difference and learn to practice it well.
8. Bring Your Resume with You
When you go to the interview, even if your interviewer already has your resume, always, always bring a clean copy in a nice folder. Many times, they will ask you for it beforehand to see if you’re prepared, or they might have lost or misplaced the copy you already sent in. This also gives you time to glance over it once or twice more before you enter the interview, which will calm your nerves even more. Just make sure there’s no coffee stains on it please!
9. Eat Breakfast
Oh, trust me, I know better than anyone how nervous your stomach might feel before an interview, but try to eat something before you go. Your brain works so much better when it has fuel. If you truly can’t stomach anything, have a cup of coffee with a little milk, dairy or nondairy, and avoid adding sugar to it. This will at least give your body something to get it going, and the milk will help to stabilize your blood sugar. Coffee, without sugar, also stabilizes your insulin levels all on its own, so long as you don’t go overboard. Use stevia if you need a sweetener. Also, if coffee's not your thing, have a cup of green tea with lemon. It has calming and energizing properties, and the lemon will also help neutralize acids in your stomach that come from a nervous tummy. Doing these small things actually does make you more confident, believe it or not. Then, after your interview, try to get something in your tummy!
Now, if you’re great at acing interviews, I’d like to hear your best tip. Or, if you have any more questions, feel free to ask them here. What’s your biggest tip or question about being confident in interviews?