Preparing for an interview is about getting in the right head-space. Imagine you are a performing artist about to take the stage. You only have one shot to show off your best features, make a connection and leave a lasting impression.
If you don’t have the confidence to be yourself in the interview, you may lose the opportunity, or worse, spend years of your life (hence, life-changing) at a job that’s not really for you. If you want to go into an interview with the maximum confidence to be yourself and land the job, follow these 10 tips and change your life.
1. Do Your Homework
Get to know the company you are about to interview with. Look up the history of the company, the people who already work there and who will be interviewing you. Showing knowledge about the company you want to work for will tell interviewers that you’re a serious applicant.
Conducting research beforehand will also prepare you for questions and give you an edge.
2. Write Down Your Best Skills, What You Like and Don’t Like
Know what you are truly good at so you can clearly articulate it in the interview. You must be able to share your greatness. The interviewer is not responsible for drawing it out.
You want to show the interviewer that you have a passion for what they’re doing, but also show them that you can improve their position as well. Taking a critical look at the company shows that you have the ability and desire to assess the situation and provide possible solutions.
3. Choose Your Look the Day Before
Your clothes and appearance matter a lot. What you wear can give signals about how serious you are or if you are going to be a cultural fit for the company.
But on the day of the interview, it’s not worth spending much of your time or mental energy on superficial aspects like clothes and hair. This should be done the day before. In doing so, you will eliminate stress and time from your interview prep.
4. Check the Weather and Plan Your Route
Don’t let travel get in the way of your success. Remove as many unknowns from your interview day as possible. This includes checking the weather and planning a route.
Sometimes, it may not be appropriate to wear your suit for a 45-minute walk in the heat or rain. Be on the lookout for new construction areas and traffic delays. If your clothes, weather and route are all in sync, you will be able to sail into your interview with ease.
5. Pick a Nearby Spot to Get Focused
Being late is the worst. There’s hardly a faster way to convince your interviewer that you’re unreliable. Plan to be extra early so there is no room for failure.
Simply running behind schedule can negatively affect your interview. If you are in a hurry, you risk showing up unfocused and stressed. Arrive early at a nearby cafe or parking garage to collect yourself before walking in.
6. Practice, but Do Not Rehearse
It is definitely not a bad idea to practice a few standard interview questions before going in. If you have a friend to interview you and offer feedback—even better. Treat it like a little coaching session, but don’t rehearse answers over and over again. Some questions to practice are the common behavioral interview questions.
First off, the interviewer is probably going to phrase their question differently and you don’t want to be so stuck to a rehearsed answer that you freeze when you need to improvise. Focus on the main idea of your answer instead. And second, a rehearsed answer will sound inauthentic, no matter how true the answer. Authenticity can make up for a small bumble or delay in answering.
7. Practice a Few Power Poses Before Walking in
Our body language not only communicates with other people, but it also communicates how we think of ourselves. As a result, our posture affects hormone levels within the body. Humans have a tendency to open up to display their confidence and power—think wide stances and open arms. When we feel powerless, we close up, crossing our arms and slouching.
In order to hack this feeling of confidence and decrease stress, hold a power pose before walking into your interview. An easy to replicate high-power pose is called the Wonder Woman. Stand tall with your hands on your hips, holding your chin high with your chest out. Get ready to lasso your dream job.
8. Treat Everyone Kindly
Obviously, you want to be kind to the person interviewing you and the receptionist, too. But your courtesy should extend to everyone. I learned this lesson once when I lost patience with my mom on the phone before I ever stepped foot in the building to interview. It just so happened that a member of the interviewing committee walked by—and that was their first impression of me.
You never know who is going to walk by and take notice. Every interaction that you have, from the lobby to the interviewing room, is a reflection of your character and may be taken into account.
9. Do Not Sit, Eat or Play on Your Phone
This may seem odd, but it matters. When you walk into the office, you may be offered a seat, a coffee, or maybe even a snack from the office kitchen. Don’t accept any of it. If offered a drink, take some water, but don’t drink or eat anything that could make your breath smell or leave food in your teeth. And unless it creates an awkward situation, standing is the best option. If you remain standing, you’ll be more alert.
This is go time. The interview started the moment you walked in the door. Study the room, chat with receptionist, and find ways to learn right up until you’re called in.
10. Relax and Be Yourself
Okay, mom. But really, if you want to land your dream job, you need to be the best version of yourself when you go in.
The best version of yourself is not a nervous talker or an overly enthusiastic puppy. Strike the perfect balance—excited enough to show your passion for the job and calm enough to clearly articulate why you deserve the position. A deep breath does wonders to find this sweet spot and ace your interview.
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