Interview Nerves? How to appear confident even when you are not!

A client visited our office and was invited to have a seat in our waiting area before starting his interview training session.

“Hi, how are you” I reached out to shake his hand and offered to take his coat.
I was thanked but as he handled me his things he could hardly manage a half-smile. He was stricken with interview nerves – and this was for the training session!

I noticed his tension and made small-talk to try put him at ease. “Did you manage to find the office easily?”  He replied timidly “ I drove up earlier today to locate it”

As we spoke I found out he hadn’t been to an interview for over 10 years – Naturally, he felt out of place – the interview nerves were looming large.

Fast forward to two hours later. After his training session I was struck by the high level of confidence he gradually demonstrated as the training progressed and how well he had answered all of the competency questions. It was clear how much he had going for him as an expert in his field. Without a doubt, he would be a massive asset to any company that hired him.

However, the first impression I had of him when he first came to our office was not very positive.
Although a candidate will NOT be officially scored for slouching or nervousness it is important to remember that you are on stage through every part of the  job interview.

Research has shown that we make the first impression in the first 3 minutes of meeting with a stranger and that 93% of that impression comes from non- verbal communication.
The social psychologist Amy Cuddy gives some very helpful tips in her TED talk where she introduces an exercise of “power poses” before going for an important meeting.
This is when you choose a favourite superhero (Eg: Wonder Woman or Superman) and imitate their action poses for up to 60 seconds as you also bring to mind all your capabilities and strengths.
Do this before leaving your home for an interview (or ask to use the washroom before walking into your important meeting and do them there)The goal here is to pump yourself up with all the testosterone and positive hormones possible to give you the best chance at your interview or meeting.
This might feel ridiculous at first, but in truth, your body and mind will respond to this and as you walk into that interview you will feel more powerful and more in control.
More importantly you will project an air of confidence and capability which will be recognised by your interviewer. Despite how you are feeling, “fake it until you become it” and give yourself all the extra help possible to ACE your Interview.

PS – the candidate contacted us three weeks after the training to tell us they were offered (and had accepted) the job.

Hilt can help you prepare for your job interview.  You can also download some free interview preparation resources from our website