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New year, new direction? Interviewing with confidence can help you get there

So many changes over the last year or so have meant many of us are rethinking what we are doing and deciding to perhaps take a new direction in life, change career path or retrain in a new field. If working from home has taught us anything, it’s that change can be a good thing.

And if you are about to go for something new then there are ways you can use your confidence to help you achieve your goal. I don’t profess to being an interview expert, although I have had many in my time and succeeded in a fair amount, but I do know that feeling confident is something that can only help when you are trying to sell yourself.

Interviews are always daunting at whatever level you find yourself. Very few of us would honestly admit to never feeling nervous before an interview and fewer would say they were always confident before, during or after.

But there are some ways you can prepare, conduct yourself and accept the outcome with positivity. It’s all about mindset. Here are some hopefully useful tips to help you through.

Prepare with confidence

Preparation for any sort of ‘test’, which is what many deem an interview to be, is important. It’s clear that you should know what job you are going for, what the company does and its values, and what you think you could offer. So, yes, do the prep but instead of just focussing on the exact job description and qualifications that they have set out, think about how you can add some of the real you. It’s not just about box ticking what they’ve asked for, it’s also about showing that your personality, character and way of thinking are a good fit for them. Some candidates look perfect on paper but won’t get the job as they just ‘don’t fit’. Show them exactly who you are; who you are may be exactly what they are looking for, even though your qualifications are not the best of all the candidates and your experience is slightly lacking. Have the courage to be you.

Have confidence in how you look and feel

Everyone will get ready for interviews in different ways, but really think about how you can get there feeling as calm and confident as you want to be. If you love meditating, make sure you do that before you go, or if yoga is what starts your day right, practice that. The aim is to recognise what calms you down, gets you in the right headspace and makes you feel good so the nerves are tamed. Also, practice confidence. Take some time to think positively about yourself beforehand; interviews that have gone well, jobs well executed, career successes. Forcing yourself to think about the positives related to a work or career situation will prep you well for an upcoming interview. Yes, you can do this, you are right for this job, you will succeed!

Also make sure, if it is an online interview, that you are sat in a suitable place, with a suitable background and that you have taken care of any unforeseen interruptions - kids, pets, shopping deliveries, etc. Have everything you need within reach and sit in a comfortable chair. If it is an in-person interview then double and triple check before leaving home that you have everything you need. Secondly, dress for comfort not impression; you want to wear clothes that you feel comfortable in, that won’t make you fidget and don’t make you feel like the garments aren’t portraying the real you. Wear a ‘favourite’ something to make yourself feel good.

Trust yourself and your truth

Have the confidence and vulnerability to be yourself. If they don't want what and who you are, that’s fine, you can’t be anyone else. And stick to the truth of who you are and what you’re about. People can and will check you out and find you out. Don’t pretend to be something you are not, have more qualifications than you really have or brag about experience that doesn’t exist. It’s not worth the lies; you will only be letting yourself down. People respect the truth; it’s ok to admit you may not have all the experience or qualifications they are looking for, they may have a great feel about your personality and potential. Admit you don’t know the answer to a question; that’s ok. If you get tongue-tied or nervous, tell them, take some time; it’s perfectly normal.

But do be honest - there is a certain confidence in being completely truthful and people will pick up on that and respect it. Tell them this is your dream job if it really is. When interviewing we are always looking for someone that fits, someone that gives the interviewer a good gut feel, someone they like. It’s as much about you as a person and your emotional quotient as your intelligence quotient. We all want to work with people we like and trust, so trust yourself to demonstrate that others can and will trust you.

Be confident enough to keep the faith

Be brave enough to keep the faith before, during and after an interview even when you think you’re not as qualified or experienced as others may be. A company wants someone who fits with its values and beliefs and who has the personality to rub along well with other employees. You may not be top of the list before you go in, but by showing yourself confidently for who you really are may project you to pole position. Who cares if others are ‘better’; if you quit because of that you will always be stuck where you don’t want to be. Be confident enough to show you are prepared to learn and grow into the job and humble enough to know there’s hard work to do to get there. No one walks into a job knowing how to do it perfectly, if they do, maybe they are the ones who are stuck?

Welcome the learnings

It’s a fact of life that sometimes we won’t be successful where we had hoped to be. As much as we have given everything, we won’t always win, but there will always be positives to take away. Every time we experience an interview we learn something. On reflection, it may not have been the right job or the right time; maybe another qualification or experience set is really needed to move to the next level. The practice is always good and there are nuggets we can learn to improve our chances next time. And if that person or company doesn’t want you, then think positively that it’s probably for the best. Not succeeding in an interview should never be deemed as a failure. We should always look to take something good from it, know that we did our best and stay confident that the right thing will come along. And ensure we keep seeing that glass as half full until it does.

If you’re on a path to change and need a little pep talk about it, do get in touch for a chat.

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