How to look confident in an interview
even if you’re not
November 15 2017 By: Nikki Vivian
Helping you to feel confident in an interview situation is ultimately my goal but sometimes, no matter how much preparation you do, no matter how many confidence exercises you know and how many affirmations you’ve said, your nerves can get the better of you and your confidence can dip.
My first interview after returning to work after having my eldest daughter was such a disaster, I actually burst into tears in the middle of the interview. It was horrendous. I let my nerves get the better of me and I couldn’t disguise how unconfident I felt and it was evident to the interviewers. This impacted on how they treated me. Although they were kind, they were telling me not to worry and tried to reassure me which ultimately gave me permission to fall apart. Had I employed the techniques I am about to share with you, they would not have known how unconfident I was feeling inside and would have treated me differently, allowing my confidence to grow as I found my feet.
When you feel yourself heating up under the spot light, ask a question and turn the attention to someone else. You will look good for showing an interest but it will also give you the opportunity to reverse the roles for a bit and feel like you are in control.
Stand tall, put your shoulders back, hold you head up. Don’t fold your arms as this sends off a message that you aren’t open and approachable. You want to appear friendly but also confident and professional. Adjusting your body language to make you look confident has been proven to help you feel confident so it’s a winner all round.
Make sure you smile and look your interviewer in the eyes (not in a creepy way). Smiling and giving good eye contact is catching and it will make people respond to you in the same way, therefore boosting your confidence as you are being received in a positive way.
Take a break before speaking
In an interview situation when you’re not feeling terribly confident, it’s easy to answer questions at speed so you can get the hell out of there! Don’t do that. Remember the 2 second rule. Before answering a question, take a 2 second pause. Firstly, this allows you to gather your thoughts and give a comprehensive answer to the question and secondly, it creates a small amount of tension so that when you speak, you appear to have power and authority. Speak slowly and calmly and you will be less likely to fill your answer with ‘ums’ and ‘uhs’.
Take up space
Don’t shrink into a space. You want to be noticed. When you walk into the interview room, take big steps with purpose rather than shuffling in and slinking into the chair. Shake hands firmly if it’s appropriate and fill your space. This goes a lot with the body language point above. You want to portray that you are important enough to be heard. This can be hard when you’re just not feeling it but it is so important. Your non-verbal presence is as important as what you say.
If you’re not feeling confident, the added pressure of trying to be someone you’re not is going to make you feel worse. Remember, we are all different and you might be the different the interviewer is looking for. Don’t fall into the trap of saying what you think they want you to say, or acting in a certain way, just be you (but a professional, totally hireable version of you). Wear something that is smart and professional but that you feel comfortable in. If you don’t feel comfortable, it will show.