Job interviews are one of the most stressful experiences for job applicants. It is nerve-wracking to think that someone is assessing you based on what you say and do. To think that you could be impacted by their assessment is frightening.
For that reason, many, including myself, find it difficult to stay calm during an interview. We end up fumbling and not saying what we want. However frightful we may be since confidence is key to a good interview, we must be able to appear as self-assured as we can be to our interviewer.
Although I am still learning how to excel in interviews, I’ve found these tips very helpful in making me appear more confident during an interview. I hope that you may find a tip here that will help you do the same!
Prepare What You’re Going To Say
The key to being convincing in an interview is preparation. When an interviewer asks us a question we don’t know the answer to right away, we end up frozen in thought trying to figure out what best to say. Preparing answers to questions beforehand is a great way to avoid this.
Luckily, most interview questions tend to follow the same trend so you can easily create some answers to avoid being lost during the evaluation. If necessary, don’t be afraid to write yourself a script and familiarize yourself with it to avoid the “umms” and “uhs” that come with not knowing what to say.
This will leave a good impression on your interviewer as it shows you’re prepared and makes them believe you’re sure in your answers.
Here are some of the most common interview questions and tips on answering them.
1. “Tell me about yourself?”
Robert Half says that this question is not just an ice breaker but a way for interviewers to discern your priorities and goals. In his article, he also further explains that this question gives interviewers a glimpse of how the interviewee may perform in the role they are applying for.
This question is a great opportunity to make a wonderful impression on your interviewer. The Muse suggests that the core of your answer for this question should incorporate these 3 aspects.
- Your present.
Here you should talk about your current job role. If you don’t have one then talk about your achievements. This is a good way to tell the interviewer how you’re currently skilled enough for the job you’re applying for.
- Your past.
This is when you should talk about how your experiences have led you to acquire the skills you have. It is not necessary to list out all your skills just the ones that are relevant to what you’re applying for.
- Your future.
This is where you should go into details about what you’re looking to do next and what you’re interested in. Expand on what you find interesting about the role you’re applying for and specifically relate it to how it aligns with your current career goals. This is the point of the answer where you also disclose why you’re the best-qualified candidate for the job you want.
2. “What are your strengths and weaknesses?”
This is another question often asked in interviews to gain insight into the interviewee’s personality. This is where interviewers get to see how you may be a good fit for the job.
This is a difficult question that stumps many as there is a fine line between being authentic and being overly damaging or boastful. To answer this question, Betterteam encourages that framing your answer to the job description is the best.
So for your strength, you would mention skills you possess and the experiences that led you to acquire them. Whereas for weaknesses you would mention hard skills defined in the job description and highlight in which ways you will work on what you lack.
You can also mention a soft skill you lack but intend to improve. It is key to emphasize that you’re willing to work on your shortcomings and have a plan do to so.
Some examples of strengths that could be mentioned are, being good at communication, excelling in teamwork and collaboration, and strong writing skills.
Some examples of weaknesses include being too self-critical or being reluctant to ask for help as you don’t want to bother anyone.
It is also important when answering this question to be authentic. Try to accent that you have more strengths than weaknesses or keep the two balanced with one another.
*For more examples, this article by Indeed provides many helpful guides.
3. “Do you have any questions for me?”
Personally, this is where I stumble the most during interviews. I get too nervous to ask my questions and end up leaving the interview as if I’ve had a one-way conversation.
Remember, interviews go both ways. The Balance Career proposes that the best way to answer this question is to ask your interviewer open-ended queries. This is to lead the interviewer to further converse with you.
You should ask questions based on; your role and the interviewer or company. For example, a good question to ask would be how the career path is for someone in the role you’re applying for.
If you’re applying for an internship, you could ask whether there is a prospect of you being promoted to full-time after you have finished the course of your program.
But bear in mind that you shouldn’t ask too many questions. Read the room and your interviewer’s body language to avoid talking their ear off. If you begin to notice the interviewer’s disinterest, start to wind your questions down.
With preparation for these questions in mind, you can avoid being terror-stricken during an interview and answer your interviewer calmly.
Rehearse Your Answers
Now that you’ve prepared your answers diligently, you should practice them! A great tip is to have a mock interview where a friend or family member plays the interviewer.
Make sure you ask someone you can trust to be honest but not overly critical. This rehearsal aims to help you gain confidence and feedback not to feel worse about yourself.
Get your mock interviewer to ask you questions related to your answers that you may have not prepared for, this gives you a chance to prepare for the moments you can not predict. These rehearsals are a chance for you to visualize what it might be like in the actual interview.
By immersing yourself in your mock interview, you might gain the confidence to be more comfortable during the real meeting. This will also help get you used to the format of an interview.
After you have familiarized yourself with the script, you might want to rehearse without it. This is so you can better prepare yourself for moments when you might forget exactly what you have written and have to adapt to the situation.
Keep An Eye on Your Body Language
Body language is unspoken communication between you and those around you. You can give off signals from the way you stand to the gestures of your hands. Because of this, body language is a key part of making yourself appear more certain of yourself.
Here are some tips from Business Insider on how to appear more assured with your body language.
- Eye contact.
Looking away or not keeping eye contact is often associated with being nervous or intimidated. To make yourself look self-assured you need to make eye contact with your interviewer. Even if your interview is on zoom, looking at the eyes of your interviewer or the lens of your webcam occasionally will leave a lasting impression.
- Be responsive when the interviewer speaks.
This can be easily done by smiling or nodding as the interviewer speaks. If possible you can even interject with phrases such as “Yes, I see” or “Yes, I understand”.
- Try to keep back straight.
Good posture is again often associated with being self-assured as your body is not folding into itself, giving the impression that you’re intimidated or cowering.
- Gesture with your palms up.
This may seem insignificant but it could help you appear more trustworthy to your interviewer, even without them realizing it. This is because gesturing with your palm up is often a sign that you have nothing to hide.
So here are some tips on how to appear more confident in an interview. Just remember to breathe before your interview and remind yourself that you don’t have anything to fear. Remind yourself of your skills and your strengths.
Don’t be overly focused on the interviewer’s judgment but instead focus on how you can best showcase your talents!
Judith Louis is a content writer under Headliner by Newswav, a programme where content creators get to tell their unique stories through articles and at the same time monetize their content within the Newswav app.
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