The interview can be one of the most emotionally taxing aspects of a job search. Nerves can get the best of even the most extroverted and confident among us. So, what can you do to help ease those nerves and enter your interview composed and confident?
Confidence comes from a place of being self-assured in our own abilities. It requires trust in ourselves that we know what we’re talking about.
Here are seven tips you can use to prepare yourself for your interviews, to walk in confident, cool, calm and collected and maybe even walk out with a job offer.
1. Be on Time
Think about how much more calm and poised you’ll feel knowing you have time to spare before your interview, versus showing up just in time (or worse, late. Please, please do not show up late to your interview).
2. Review the Job Description
Scan over the original job posting in the days leading up to your interview. This will help you to have a better understanding of the expectations of the job interviewer and gauge what kind of questions they will ask you about your past experience. Take note of the top responsibilities, soft skills and keywords used in the job post. Use these to inform how you answer questions in your interview.
For example, if being able to work independently is an important trait expected of the role, when they ask you “Tell me a bit about yourself” (hint: this is how almost every job interview starts) be sure to drop a note about how you are a self-starter and thrive in roles where you work independently.
3. Practice Interview Questions
The more you interview, the more you’ll come to find that a lot of interviewers ask many of the same, or similar questions. You can do yourself a favour by looking over some common interview questions and preparing some answers you feel confident about. Pay special attention to those tricky questions that sound like they are asking one thing, but your interviewer is actually trying to get to the crux of something else. For example the question, “What is your greatest weakness?” What they are really asking you is, “Are you self-aware? Are you invested in self-improvement? What actions are you taking to overcome your weaknesses?”
4. Research the Organization
It’s pretty much a given that your interviewer is going to ask you why you’re interested in working for the organization. Hopefully you are applying to an organization you are passionate about, but on the off chance that the organization is not familiar to you, do your homework. Read over the company’s “About Page,” scroll through their social media and read up on what their goals, achievements and overall philosophy is.
Personally, I’m a huge fan of creating notes from myself on cue cards. From interesting stats about the organization, to answers to tough interview questions and even remembering some stats about my own achievements I might want to sprinkle into my answers. Cue cards are easy to flip through while you’re on the subway headed to your interviews, or to read over during your morning coffee.
5. Prepare Questions for Your Interviewer
Always go into your interview with a few questions of your own for your interviewer. Not only is this a way for you to find out if the job is the right fit for you, it also shows you are invested and engaged. Plus, it has the added bonus of putting your interviewer in the hot seat and gives you a moment to shift the power dynamic a bit, a great confidence booster.
Here are some examples of questions you might want to ask:
• What are the short and long term goals expected of the person in this role?
• What is your direct report’s communication style?
• How does the team stay organized?
• Ask your interviewer what their favourite part of working for the company is?
You can also draw on your past work experience to develop your own set of questions tailored to your job desires. Think of the things you struggled with in your last position that you would like to avoid going forward. Maybe your previous workplace was super disorganized and that made your work life chaotic, or the communication style of your direct report didn’t mesh well with yours. This is your time to get answers, so ask away.
6. Practice the Power Pose
Body language is a huge part not only of how we are perceived by others, but how we feel about ourselves. I once watched a TED Talk that explained the best thing you can do before an interview is assume a “high power pose,” take up as much space as possible, stand tall and confidently. Try to avoid hunching over your phone feeling small and closed off. Instead smile, sit up straight and give off an open, welcoming, confident energy. This will not only speak confidence to your interviewer, but will send a message to your brain that you in fact feel more confident and prepared – pretty neat!
7. Dress for the Job You Want
I would be remiss not to mention interview attire on a fashion career website. When deciding on an outfit consider these qualities: is it professional? Is it appropriate? Is it comfortable? Do I feel good when I wear it?
Pick out an outfit you feel great in. Maybe it’s a chic power suit that makes you feel polished and professional, maybe you have a lucky pair of socks, or maybe you have a blouse that you ALWAYS get compliments while wearing. Whatever it is, wear something that is sharp, appropriate, comfortable and makes you feel instantly more confident when you put it on.
So, evening before your interview, make sure your ideal outfit is laid out, steamed and ready to go, review your prospective employer’s website and think of the questions you want to ask the interviewer. Confidence looks so good on you!
Still have some time before your interview? Set up a mock interview with our founder, Christie Lohr. She’s not afraid to go through those tough questions and provide the feedback you need to hear before the real thing.
Sheila O’Neill is a creative, innovative and inspiring fashion writer and results-driven digital marketer.
Feature Image: Adobe Stock