When it comes down to it, just about everyone experiences a bit of anxiety before an interview. From standing out against other candidates to acing tricky interview questions, the pressure of securing an offer can feel overwhelming at times.
Unfortunately, letting your nerves go unchecked can cost you the opportunity. While these feelings are completely normal, displaying negative body language or stammering through your responses doesn’t exactly project confidence. Instead, these actions may raise some red flags about your ability to react to stress or communicate with leadership or external parties.
That being said, there are several steps you can take to better manage your jitters. Here are 6 ways to walk into the room with confidence:
Know your value: If you are being brought in for an interview, chances are that the employer already sees some of the value you can bring to the organization. Since you need to prove that their hunch is correct, you first need to believe it yourself. Do this by reviewing the job description to identify any challenges you can resolve and/or goals you can help the company accomplish. Not only will this provide you with the confidence you need for success, but also prepare talking points for (humbly) selling your skills.
Anticipate the worst case scenario: Think about your biggest interview fear, and prepare for it. Whether it involves arriving late or getting stumped by an interview question, there are always ways for overcoming these challenges. Being proactive and thinking ahead will help ensure that you’ll be ready for any curveball thrown your way.
Have a mock interview: Another great way to ease your nerves is to ask a close friend or industry insider to “interview” you. They will be able to identify your strengths and weaknesses, as well as point out any nonverbal cues you may need to address. Knowing that you made improvements to your performance can help reduce your stress for the actual interview.
Get ready the night before: Pick out your outfit, have a nutritional breakfast (or lunch) planned, print out any materials you might need, and read up on the company. Have everything available to go in the morning so you can keep your mind focused on the task at hand: impressing your interviewer and assessing the company you’re interviewing with.
Get there early: If you’re well-prepared, this should be easy enough. Getting to your destination 10-15 minutes early will give you time to sit, breathe, and calm your nerves before your interview. Try to avoid running through possible scenarios or memorizing responses, as this can contribute to any pre-interview jitters you may be experiencing. Instead, get a cup of water, sip on it slowly, and remind yourself that you’re here because you’ve already impressed someone.
Remember, an interview is a two-way street: Though you want to make the best possible impression, it’s helpful to remember that your interview isn’t simply an audition on your part; you need to ensure that a company is also a great cultural fit for you, too. One of the best ways to do so is to ask the interviewer questions at the conclusion of your interview. Having these questions prepared beforehand will keep you confident and on-track, and will increase the likeliness that you get the most out of your time there.