Interviewing with confidence!

Got an interview or assessment centre coming up? Read on for advice on how to overcome any anxiety and boost your confidence…

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Firstly, well done – getting an interview is an achievement in itself and should boost your confidence! Now you have the opportunity to stand out and convince the employer to hire you. Easy, right? Not at all, even the most experienced professionals get nervous before “performing” in this kind of situation where the stakes are high.

Adrenaline v stress

To feel no nerves or anxiety when preparing for an interview or assessment centre situation would be extremely unusual and in fact a degree of healthy adrenaline is probably necessary in order to perform on the day.

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Butterflies in the stomach?

Making sure that healthy adrenaline doesn’t turn into unhealthy stress is a fine line however.

Physical signs of nervousness vary but can include:

  • an increased heart rate
  • sweating
  • a queasy stomach
  • feeling faint
  • having a panic attack.

The good news is there is help available to enable to you feel in control and to boost your confidence when preparing for the dreaded interview day!

How to conquer your nerves

Here are a few pointers:

  • Remember that no one can see how you feel. If you can coach yourself into looking relaxed (though not too relaxed!), calm and confident you will project these positive qualities and you’ll also start to feel better.
  • Get your own mindset right. Positive thinking and self-talk really does work. If you tell yourself you won’t succeed the chances are this will become a self-fulfilling prophesy because you will project anxiety and self-doubt. When you tell yourself you can do it, you’re there on merit and they are as interested in hiring you as anyone else you will start to project self-belief and confidence.

Try it out!

Like most things, this isn’t easy, it requires practice but it’s a technique that can be learned and it works. You can try this out now. Find a quiet place, sit down and relax and take a few deep breaths. This has a positive physical effect.  Your heart rate will slow and you will immediately feel calmer. Now, concentrate on your self-talk. Tell yourself that you are prepared; you know why you want the job and what you want to say about your strengths and skills; you’re right for the job and you CAN get it! Doing this a number of times during your preparation will help you to feel ready to perform on the day.

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Make adrenaline work for you

Channel your adrenaline

You can channel your healthy adrenaline into feeling excitement that energises you in just the way that athletes do before going out to compete.  Sports psychologists use techniques such as visualisation and this can work for you. Imagine yourself answering the questions confidently and making a good impression or presenting clearly and with confidence, winning your audience over. When you come to do it for real, you’ll feel ready for it.

Practice makes perfect

The way to overcome your anxiety and to give yourself the best chance is to prepare thoroughly. The good news about preparing for an interview is that your evidence of achievements that match the job requirements all comes from your own specialist subject – yourself!  Equally, when you prepare a presentation well, you can go into it with confidence that you know your content better than your audience will.

Further help

If you would like help in preparing for an interview or an assessment centre, have a look at the Careers Service website and book an appointment with a Careers Adviser.

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