3 Tips To Boost Your Confidence At The Interview

There is a very thin line between being confident and appearing complacent. Confidence is about finding a happy balance between complacency (“I am the best thing that’s going to happen to your organization if you hire me”) and passivity (“Well…I’m really not sure how I will perform on the job…I’ll just try my best I guess.”)
Translated into the interview room, candidates have to strike a delicate balance between staying in control (of the situation) and treating the interview session as a two-way communication process (remember: nobody is going to eat you up!)

I’m back on a Saturday to share my expertise on resume writing and interview skills to 50 fresh-faced polytechnic students from the School of Health Sciences (Nursing) at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Eager to learn and asking lots of questions (which I welcome!), I was also more than willing to share. In my workshops, energy breeds energy : )

It is not difficult to appear confident. In fact, it has to emanate from within you. Once your thoughts and body are aligned, you will be for a great time in the interview room.
I know fresh graduates will always feel the jitters and butterflies in the stomach. Well, this is common as it’s their first time presenting themselves formally in front of others. 
To allay everyone’s concerns, let me share 3 tips to boost your confidence at the interview.

Tip #1: Smile & Make Eye Contact
Ok, this is a two-in-one tip. But it will never fail you. Organisations do not like employees who act cool. They love employees who are warm and friendly. 

So always look directly at the interviewer and smile. Show some teeth. A smile relaxes both you and the atmosphere. 
One question I was asked today by some students was this – who should I give eye contact to? The answer is if you are interviewed by a panel, you should give the first eye contact to the person who asked you the question…before taking time to look at each interviewer in turn. This way, no one is being left out.

Let me share one big secret and that is if you can make the interviewer seated at the opposite end of the table smile and perhaps laugh too…you will have aced the interview beautifully. No second questions about this. Interviewers are human beings too and they have emotions. This does not mean you are to act silly. In fact, just be candid and sincere. 


Tip #2: Engage The Interviewer(s) As Equals
Regardless of whether it is a solo interview or panel interview, just bear this tip in mind. If you can reframe the ‘interview’ as a conversation among friends, your performance will be way better.
Believe it or not, the interview may appear intimidating but it actually isn’t. It’s just a meeting whereby you are assessed to see if you will be a good fit for the organization. 
Just like in a date where you want to impress the other person seated across the table, so too do you want to make a positive first impression in the interview room.
As equals, you want to demonstrate your intelligence, maturity, enthusiasm and curiosity by answering questions thoughtfully and honestly. I’m sure you do not want to have an immature and nonsensical date, right? The same thing goes for the interview.


Tip #3: Use The First Person Singular

I know it’s difficult for most people to ‘sell’ or promote themselves in front of others.

Well, you can say Asians are shy or reserved. But if you do not say enough in the interview, then there’s a chance of you not being chosen.

So don’t use the plural pronoun ‘we’. Instead, use the first personal singular ‘I’.

What did you do?
“I led my team mates in the XYZ project. This project aimed to __________________.”
“I was responsible for the inventory management, cashiering and customer service during my stint as a part-time sales executive at ________.”
Of course, you must remember to speak the truth with compassion and not overblow your own trumpet because when some things sound too good to be true, that’s when interviewers will start asking more questions to validate your claims. And if you do not speak the truth, you will be found out very soon.
If you ask me, I do miss my days as an interviewer. It’s exciting to see bright minds spar with me and eventually become colleagues. And for this reason, I’m so looking forward to next week’s run of the same Resume Writing and Interview Skills workshop

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