You know the feeling…your mouth is dry, your mind blank, your heart is racing and all signs of confidence have flown straight out of the window.
But it doesn’t have to be like this. Just a few tips and hacks will allow you to conquer your inner confidence issues and help banish those pre-interview jitters. Confidence will empower you, make you feel like you can take on the world and tackle any curveballs a prospective employer might throw your way.
Remember, confidence can be learned just like any other skill, so have a read and try our simple ways to turn stress into success and nail that interview!
Do your homework. It is always advisable to make sure that you are up to date on the latest news and developments within the industry. Visit the company website - who are the key figures in the organization? Take note of any recent successes and developments. Remember, knowledge equals power and any interview panel stand to be impressed by a candidate who has clearly taken an interest and the time to find out about their prospective employers.
It sounds obvious but make sure you know where the interview is to take place. If your sense of direction is anything like mine (#useless) take a drive by the venue beforehand or at least google map it… being late is not a good start!
Know your strengths and don’t be afraid to blow your own trumpet when asked about them. If you don’t tell them how great you are nobody else will! Practice answering some standard interview questions…you know the sort of thing ‘what can you bring to this role?’ ‘what are your best qualities?’ why should we choose you for this role?’. Prepare some answers in advance and you will avoid that terrifying feeling of sheer panic.
Dress for Success
When choosing your interview outfit it is essential that you dress appropriately for the environment in which you hope to work. So do your research…is it formal or casual? Office or studio? Corporate or creative? Try your outfit beforehand and remember it is important to feel comfortable. Stay true to yourself and know what style of dress works for you. For example, if you don’t usually wear heels then an interview environment is probably not the place to start. You don’t want to be remembered as the candidate who fell at the first hurdle - quite literally - do you ?
Strike a Pose
Positive body language is vital in any interview situation. Harness your body language and you will exude confidence both inside and out. How you present yourself is the key to that vital first impression so it is essential that your body language says the right things about you, things that the interviewer wants to hear.
Maintaining the correct stance during the interview itself will not only make you look more confident and in control but it will also make you feel more confident. So stand tall with your shoulders back and your head held high, feel sure of yourself and own the space around you. When seated it is a good idea to place both feet flat on the floor with your arms positioned away from your body as this will widen your stance and increase the space that you occupy. If you have paperwork, laptops etc. spread them out on the table in front of you. These possessions can act as an extension of yourself thereby expanding your personal space.
In addition think about your tone of voice. Research shows that candidates who speak quickly in a high pitch are often thought to be less empathic and more nervous than those with a lower vocal tone who speak more slowly.
Never forget the importance of establishing eye contact with the interviewer. A good tip is to make eye contact and hold their gaze long enough to be able to note the colour of their eyes.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to use your hands to gesture when speaking. Gesture is integrally linked to speech and studies show that the use of hand gestures during conversation can result in improved verbal content, less hesitant speech as well as helping to formulate clearer thoughts, concise and well formulated sentences and reduce nervous ticks.
Take a Moment
Having nailed your preparation, picked your outfit and planned your route it is a good idea to take some time out for yourself the night before your interview.
A good night’s sleep is vital if you are to be alert and motivated the next day. Try preparing your mind and body for total relaxation with a warm bath and why not add some essential oils, lavender and ylang ylang are especially good to promote relaxation and ease anxiety. Avoid caffeine or alcohol and try a soothing cup of chamomile tea before bed, famed for relieving insomnia and helping to promote sleep and overall wellbeing.
Slow deep breathing will also help calm a nervous mind, a few minutes of slow deep breathing in a darkened room can work wonders for your inner peace.
Work it out
The morning of the interview it is a great idea to take some form of exercise before you set off. Whether it be a trip to the gym, going for a run or simply a brisk walk in the fresh air, exercise is a great way to rid the body and mind of nervous tensions.
Follow up your workout with a healthy breakfast and you will be set up for the day ahead. Porridge is a great choice as oats are a natural tonic for nerves and can help relieve anxiety and stress. A good breakfast will help avoid embarrassing tummy rumbles and low blood sugar slumps later in the day.
Finally don’t be afraid to take control especially during the closing stages of the interview. A willingness to take the lead not only shows confidence, but also demonstrates leadership qualities proving that you are both proactive and not afraid to address difficult conversations. Know your strengths and be prepared to acknowledge your weaknesses. Taking control will empower you but don’t be afraid to admit your nerves, just don’t succumb to them. Remember – you’ve got this!
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