You know that confidence is key to a successful interview. As Stephanie Thoma, career coach and author of Confident Introvert explains, “It’s important to feel confident in an interview because self-belief allows others to believe in you. Even if you have the best skills on paper, if you show up to an interview with your shoulders slouched, a whisper of a voice, and not able to express your accomplishments, you will not connect with your interviewers — or get the job.”
And luckily, it doesn’t take weeks or even hours to boost your confidence before an interview. Here are eight ways you can feel more confident minutes before you meet a potential employer virtually.
1. Talk to yourself in the mirror.
Before you pick up the phone or head into an office, look yourself in the mirror and say, “I got this. I am great, and this job is mine,” says Ashley Alvillar, CEO of Monarch Results Coaching, adding this kind of positive self-talk is the kind of pep talk everyone needs before an interview. (If you feel silly saying it to yourself, then phone a friend or family member for the pep talk.)
2. Think back on your past accomplishments.
Take a minute to “reflect on a time when you were your best self — when you felt like you could do anything,” says career coach Alicia Daugherty. Even if you’re feeling nervous now, “that person is you,” she says. “Call up that feeling, and carry it with you into the interview room.”
If you tend to feel anxious before an interview, “take five minutes to clear your mind and focus on your breath,” says Stephanie Thoma, career coach and author of “Confident Introvert.” She suggests breathing in for four counts, briefly holding your breath, then exhaling for another four counts. “This will help focus and center you, so your confidence can shine in your interview.”
4. Strike a pose.
Some people feel more confident after “creating a physical posture of strength — feet wide, back straight, hands-on-hips or arms stretched wide, like Superman or Wonder Woman,” Daugherty says. Try it out; if you feel more confident in this kind of stance, strike it before your interview.
5. For virtual interviews: set the stage, and grab some cheat sheets.
If your interview is over the computer, make sure you’re set up for success in the minutes before you log on. Test your camera and the lighting, grab a notebook and a glass of water, and use the bathroom, says Alvillar. Pull up your LinkedIn profile or your website — or place a printout of your top accomplishments — beside you where you can easily see them, Alvillar recommends.
6. Focus on gratitude.
Thoma suggests making a list of the things you’re grateful for before your interview. “Allow yourself to bask in the feelings that emerge,” she says. “These moments of gratitude will amplify your tendency toward the positive and will help veer you toward confidence in your interview.”
7. Visualize a successful interview.
“Visualization is a powerful tool,” says Thoma. (Some studies have shown that visualization has the same effect on the brain as doing the actual activity.) Before your interview, visualize what it would look like if it went smoothly “and allow your reality to follow suit,” Thoma recommends.
8. Gain some perspective.
While job interviews are important, it’s also important to remember that an interview is “just a conversation,” says Daugherty. “Remind yourself that on the other side of the desk is a person — a living, breathing human with his or her own doubts and fears, their own story to tell. Take a deep breath and ask yourself ‘what can I learn in this meeting?’ Then smile … and go for it.”