Most of us get nervous before an interview, no matter how many we have had! However, it does not have to be as terrifying an experience as you might believe. Below, I have written a few tips for overcoming job interview nerves and giving yourself the best chance over the competition.
Showing confidence is extremely important. Employers want to see that the applicant believes they can do the job, as well as have the required skills and experience. Confident employees make good staff members because they are usually trainable, and resourceful, with initiative and good leadership skills. These qualities will benefit the company in the future.
However, do not confuse confidence with arrogance. The exaggerated claims and boasting of an arrogant presentation has nothing to do with confidence, and is due to lack of self-belief. True confidence has no need for exaggeration, and an arrogant interviewee is likely to do himself far more harm than good, so make sure your confidence is genuine.
There are a few simple things you can do before and during your interview which will build your confidence. If you follow these steps you will find that you will feel more confident when you are in front of the interviewer.
Seven Tips for Job Interview Nerves
Find out as much as you can about the company by looking at their website or looking them up in a business directory. What skills and knowledge do you have that will be useful for them? How will you be of value to this company?
When you know the company’s function and philosophy, you will understand their needs and be able to present yourself as someone who can fulfil those needs. The employer will also be impressed by your interest and you are off to a good start. Your initiative will go down well with any interviewer.
- Dress appropriately and professionally.
The clothes you wear give an instant impression of who you are, and they also have a psychological effect on you. Dress carelessly sloppily, and you will act carelessly and sloppily. Dress smartly and you will feel smart. Look good and you will feel good.
- Check Your Posture
Make sure that you have a good posture when facing the interviewer. This doesn’t mean you have to sit as though you have a rod up your back, but by sitting straight and not slouching you will not only be able to breathe more easily (which will enable you to relax), you will feel more confident. Your answers will then come out more freely and easily.
- Make eye contact
Bear in mind that the interviewer is just another person, like you. Do not be afraid to look straight into his or her eyes during the interview.
One benefit of this is that you will be able to gauge the interviewer’s feelings. You will be able to tell if he is interested in what you are saying, or whether he is getting bored.
On the other hand, don’t stare or make eye contact all the time. This could come across as confrontational and scary! On the other end of the scale, avoiding eye contact completely could look as though you are hiding something. When you look into someone’s eyes as you give your answers they will be reassured that what you are saying is the truth.
When we are nervous, we often make the mistake of listening to our own thoughts too much, and then answering the question that we thought we heard! When you actively listen to the interviewer, this has two benefits. Firstly, it will turn off the stuff going on inside your head, and secondly, you will be able to answer the correct question! This active listening will calm your nerves and make you feel more confident because you will understand exactly what is expected of you.
- Make clear and direct answers.
If you have listened properly, you will be in the position to tell the interviewer exactly what he wants to know. Respond with straight and honest answers. If you waffle you will only show that you are not sure of yourself. Be brief and to the point. Offer appropriate information, but don’t go off at a tangent, as you will lose focus and concentration. If you don’t understand the question, don’t try to bluff it; ask for clarification. Interviewers will respect you more for this.
- Ask questions.
Before your interview, write down a few things you would like to know about the company. Showing an interest by asking questions is very beneficial. However, try not to just ask about things that only concern you, such as what is the starting salary, or what fringe benefits they give. Ask questions about how you can be of service to the company, perhaps how a particular skill of yours might be of use. By doing this, both of you will know whether you are right for the job.
If you follow these steps you will see your confidence increase and your nerves decrease. Above all, it is important that you believe that you are capable for the job. Without this self-belief you will not appear confident to your interviewer, whatever you do.
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