The hardest part about being on the job market is maintaining your confidence through the interviews. Even when they go well, doing a few of them over a short time period can be taxing, and keeping your mind on the meeting you are in can become difficult. It can be even harder if it's the first interview you've had to do in a long time, because those skills can be a little difficult to feel comfortable with if they have been dormant for a while. Luckily, there are a few ways to build up your interviewing confidence so that you go into each meeting feeling like the expert that they want to hire. They all come down to preparation, too, so keeping these key strategies in mind at every stage in your job search process can help you to be more mindful and to give yourself better opportunities by being prepared for every situation.
Step 1: Preparation
There are three things you can do while you prepare that will help build interviewing confidence. They are:
Start by researching the company. You know that one of the most common questions candidates hear is "What do you know about our company?" Most of the time, the answers people have on hand are fairly general, but if you can go in and show that you really know who you're going to be working for, that's not only impressive, it lets the interviewer know that you are the kind of person who studies a situation before heading into it. Your research should go beyond the company itself, though. Interviewing confidence comes from knowing what to expect, so part of your research needs to be dedicated to finding example study questions, and to studying sample answers to them if any are available.
By studying the variety of answers to questions, even complex and hard-to-understand behavioral questions become familiar and easy to navigate. Seeing a variety of positive ways to handle each question can help you to make better choices about what your best strategy is, too. This helps because confidence comes from comfort with your choices, so if you have more options, you're better prepared to find the one that actually fits and represents your problem-solving style.
Practicing your own answers, out loud, is the last step to preparing yourself for interviewing confidence. It's okay to write out your answers while you're making decisions about the best approach to use, but remember that the real practice is making yourself comfortable with narrating your answers out loud. That step shows that you are fully in command of the information, and that you're comfortable enough explaining it to do so in your own words, without needing a fully prepared script. If you practice until you get to that phase, your professionalism will show through the entire interview.
Step 2: Decision-Making and Boundary-Setting
The second step to projecting confidence is knowing what you want and being prepared to go for it. That means deciding a few things before you go in, including:
- What is this job really worth to you?
- What changes to your life or lifestyle are you willing to make?
- Is there anything you will not do, if asked?
These are important considerations because more and more employers are asking for specific access to personal information and to the private lives of their employees. These practices vary quite a bit, and many employers restrict the level of access requested and the employees affected to ensure that they are being as respectful as possible while protecting their internal information.
Still, basic requests such as the password to your social media site are becoming more common, and knowing in advance whether you are willing to hand those items over can give you more interviewing confidence because you know that there are some places you just will not want to work, so it's easier to stop worrying about those interviews and to focus on the companies that are a better fit for you. It's also worthwhile to think about what you might be able to get in exchange for some changes or compromises to suit your employer, because those extra requests or requirements can be leveraged if they are above and beyond the standard expectations of the industry. To take advantage of that information, you need to know what you will and won't be ready to do for your new employer.