No matter how much time and effort you put into researching the company and prepping your responses, you won’t get very far if you don’t have self-confidence during a job interview. In fact, you could argue that self-confidence is the single most important thing you need to have before a job interview, more important than even a good outfit or a good resume. But, of course, these things beget one another, so all are worthy of your time and consideration. Here are a few confidence boosters you need to know before hitting the interview circuit.
- Assume a Power Posture for Two Minutes—If you haven’t seen Amy Cuddy’s game-changing TED Talk about how body language shapes who we are, drop everything you’re doing and go watch it now! In the talk, which has been viewed over 17 million times on YouTube, Cuddy describes research indicating that high-power poses—that is: stances like the Wonder Woman pose, where you stand tall with your hands on your hips—can help people feel much more confident when heading into a job interview. Taking a high-power pose for two minutes before an interview can boost your chances of getting hired, according to Cuddy’s research.
- Strategize the Perfect Outfit—There’s no picking out here. When it comes to a high-stakes interview, you’ve got to strategize. In other words, consider the company culture before designing your look. Do you cover your tattoos? Wear your hair up? Invest in a power pantsuit? It all depends on where you’re interviewing and the nature of the role. Here are some outfit ideas that will pretty much knock it out of the park no matter what kind of company it is:
- For Companies with a Formal Dress Code: A Suiting Dress with a Blazer—If you’re going into any industry where formal dress is still expected, go and find yourself a formal suiting dress, a perfectly tailored blazer and a pair of sensible pumps. Tights or pantyhose are a requisite here, too!
- For Companies with a Business-Casual Dress Code: A Pencil Skirt and Button-Up—Even in more casual workplaces, you need to go dressy during the interview to make a good first impression. The pencil skirt and button-up combo is a classic workwear look guaranteed to make you feel empowered. For an extra boost of confidence, rock it with some tummy-slimming shapewear for a smooth, flawless look.
- For Companies with a Casual Dress Code: A Power Suit with Sneakers—Got an interview at a startup, tech firm or ad agency where jeans are expected? Sorry, casual dressers, you’ve got to dress up for this one, too! We love the idea of adding a casual component to a traditional workwear look—like some crisp white sneakers with a chic pantsuit—to signal capability but also to indicate that you’d fit right into the company culture.
- Learn Everything You Can About the Company—A quick glance at the company’s About Me page isn’t enough to set you up for success in your interview. You’ve got to dig a lot deeper than that, scouring the web for anything and everything you can find about the operation. Delve into the business leadership and, if applicable, memorize the names of the members of the C-suite and any other important company bigwigs. If it’s listed, you should be able to find some info about your prospective new company on the Inc. 5000 list.
- Practice Alone and with Friends—Practice makes perfect, and nothing could be truer when rehearsing lines or talking points. Go over common interview questions in your industry and formulate well-thought-out answers. Practice your responses to yourself (out loud) on your commute, when you’re home doing chores or when you’re sitting in front of the mirror at home. It’s also helpful if you have a friend or family member shoot you some unprompted interview questions to help prepare you for anything unexpected that might pop up.
- Write Out Your Accomplishments—We get so sucked into our day-to-day work life and lengthy task lists that it’s hard to remember all the amazing things we’ve done in our past roles. Spending an hour or two thinking of all your professional accomplishments—from special awards to small everyday feats—can help you feel more capable and confident as you go into the interview. It will also help you keep your skills and experience fresh on your mind so you’re ready to dole out your best achievements as the interview questions start rolling in.
- Polish Up Your Résumé—Even if you flub your way through a particularly awful interview, you’re not completely out of the running if you’ve got yourself a perfectly polished résumé. Make sure yours is up to date, grammatically correct and eye-catching enough that your interviewers will want to read it. Have someone you trust go over it and mark it up before sending it out. Finally, print it on some nice résumé paper and hand it to the interviewer for a classy flair.
- Go to Lunch with Friends Beforehand—Most of us don’t wake up in the morning ready to dive into deep or complex topics. You can effectively “warm-up” the brain and your conversation skills before heading into an interview by sitting down for lunch with some friends. Talking helps you physically prepare for a long conversation while also helping you iron out some of your key talking points and maybe even earning you some confidence and praise before heading off for the big interview.
Preparation Is Key
Whether from a perfectly coordinated outfit complete with confidence-boosting shapewear or from practicing ad nauseam with friends, it’s vital that you work hard on building up your self-confidence before you go on any important job interview. When you feel confident, you exude an air of capability, trustworthiness and likability, the three things that make you hard for any hiring manager to resist. Good luck!