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How to boost your confidence in job interviews

Ways to help you minimise the stress of preparing for interview and maximise your performance on the day.

Prepare by looking after yourself

  • Practical preparation means there is less to worry about. Set aside time for this a few days before the interview.
  • Exercise the night before the interview. This will relieve stress and help you to sleep.
  • On the day of the interview, if time allows, take a walk or do some simple repetitive task to calm you down.
  • Allow lots of time for the journey so you aren’t worried about arriving late.

Calm your nerves before the interview

There are techniques you can use just before the interview to calm your mind. Choose from these:

  • Find a quiet space. Sit up straight; plant your feet on the floor and relax all the muscles in your body. In particular, relax the muscles around your face, neck and eyes as this is where tension can show. Quietly saying all the letters of the alphabet will ease the area around your mouth.
  • Practise deep breathing from your lower abdomen, not upper chest. Everyone recommends this because it works.
  • Take five or ten minutes to sit still with your eyes closed.

Then remind yourself that this is not the only interview you will have.

Use assertiveness techniques to appear in charge

Assertiveness is about striking a balance between your needs and those of the interviewers: a happy medium between aggressiveness (doing a ‘hard sell’) and passivity (giving up control of the situation).

  • Smile and make eye contact.
  • Be brave about breaking the ice. A spot of small talk shows confidence and will also help you relax.
  • When discussing your achievements, have the confidence to say ‘I’ instead of ‘we’.
  • Treat the interviewer as an equal, and outline work scenarios where you and the employer both gain.

Listen, and be listened to

  • Be polite: hear, nod, ask good, ‘open’ questions.
  • Occasionally paraphrase what the interview has told you: it shows you have taken things in.
  • If you have an important point to make about your performance, make it and then summarise it. If you’re not sure you’ve been heard, make it again later.

Remind yourself of your rights

  • You have the right to take your CV to the interview and refer to it if that helps.
  • You have the right to say ‘I’m capable of this job’ if that’s what you honestly believe.
  • You have the right to say ‘I don’t want this job’ if you really don’t want it.
  • You have the right to be nervous – interviewers will expect this and will take it into account.