You put in the time, you wrote a great resume, and you were called in for an interview. Congrats but it’s not over yet. Hopefully, you already know this first impression is crucial. Of course, this means your confidence, or lack thereof, could make or break you. If that thought leaves you quivering with fear, don’t worry. It’s never too late to become more self-assured and, lucky for you, we’re here to help. We’ve compiled five easy steps for exuding the confidence you need to nail your interview.
1. Start at Home
Let’s get real for a minute. The interview process begins long before meeting face to face. Research the company, the position, the interviewer. Knowledge is power so study up on anything that will help you feel less nervous in the moment. (This article was a great place to start, so you’re already headed in the right direction.)
On Interview Day, dress for the job. That means more than wearing something appropriately professional for the position and company culture. It means wearing something you feel good in. If you arrive at the office preoccupied with the crease in your pants or the loose stitch on your skirt, you’re killing your confidence right out of the gate. If your go-to interview outfit makes you feel awkward - head back to the closet. If you like the way you look, it’s one less thing on your mind when you’re in the hot seat.
2. Continue on the commute
You’ve done your research, you’re wearing your most capable ensemble, and you’re ready to roll. Now you’ve got 20 minutes to get into your own head and think of all the things that could go wrong…
Don’t waste the time worrying. Use it! Use your commute to listen to energizing music. It doesn’t matter if it’s Tchaikovsky or Drake as long as it pumps you up. When you arrive (because you will be early, of course) give yourself a quick pep talk and visualize yourself getting the Welcome Aboard! notification. If you’ve already “seen” yourself succeeding, you’re more likely to bring that vision to fruition.
3. The Greeting
This is it. You only have one chance to make a first impression. Remember that your face conveys a lot. If you are scared or nervous, your face will automatically show it. Confident people smile. Their faces are relaxed. They make eye contact. When your interviewer introduces herself, smile, and make eye contact. It will set the tone for the interview ahead.
4. Body Language
This will require a little more effort. Your interviewer may not realize it, but she will notice your body language. If your shoulders are hunched, your knees pressed together, your hands in your lap it immediately gives the impression of someone meek and insecure. Take up some space. Sit up tall, shoulder back but relaxed. And for goodness sake, sit still! This is NOT the time to fidget. Don’t pick at your nails, rub your face, bounce your knee, or tap your feet. Fidgeting says you are nervous and preoccupied when you want to give the impression of rapt engagement.
5. The follow-up
You did it. You did great and now you’re done. Almost. A thoughtful, professional, follow-up email thanking your interviewer for their time and consideration is the cherry on your confidence cake. This could be the deciding factor between two equally matched candidates. It’s the little something that could very well nudge you ahead of the competition.
Your resume may score you an interview but it’s the interview that ultimately wins the job. Odds are, there will be similarly qualified candidates vying for the same spot so put the same care into your interview as you did writing your resume. Cover your bases. Practice. Exude confidence. And get the job.