A job interview can cause even the most confident woman to be a bit nervous, especially during this time when COVID-19 has caused so much uncertainty in the job market. And if you’re preparing for your first set of interviews post-graduation, any nervousness could prevent you from presenting yourself with confidence. We interviewed Amanda Armstrong, founder of Athari Career Coaching, on how to be confident during job interviews. Armstrong is a career coach, sales coach, and motivational speaker whose goal is to help women land their dream job. She shares all the ways to keep those nerves in check and how to best portray yourself.
One of the most important ways to develop and build confidence is to be prepared. The more prepared you are going into an interview, the more confident you’re going to be. Start with a thorough visit of the company’s website. Next, check the LinkedIn page, social media, and do a Google research and read Glassdoor reviews. You want to do as much research as you can on the organization and the individual you’re going to be interviewing with. When researching the person, take note of specific things that interest you as well as any shared hobbies. Review their LinkedIn page and get to know their background; places they’ve worked, where they went to school, and their bio. Anything you find can be used as a talking point or a way to break the ice. For example, on my LinkedIn profile, I say I’m passionate about playing soccer and snowboarding. So, if a young woman were interviewing to work with me and if they say at the beginning of the call, “Amanda I saw you’re a soccer player, I’m also a soccer player,” that’s a really great way to break the ice. It’ll also help you stand out in the interview and just show you’re really organized, you’ve done your research and you’re really prepared.
Rule of Three
One of my best interview tips is a public speaking tip, the rule of three. Any time they ask you a question you respond with three points. For example, if they say ask, “Why do you want to work for this company?” Come up with three reasons why you want to work for them. “Why are you the best fit for this position?” Three reasons, three points. “What are your skills and strengths?” Remember, three reasons and three points. In the middle of an interview, it’s very normal to feel nervous, anxious, a little scared, and a little uncomfortable. It’s very normal for us to feel that during an interview, so one of the ways to make sure that you’re calm and collected is number one, preparation and number two, using the rule of three. No matter what they ask you, if you feel like you’re stuck, or feel like you’ve been put on the spot, or you forgot that answer you prepared, just come up with three key points. That’s a really easy way to communicate in an organized manner.
Do a Strength Assessment
So, what you want to do before your interview is to complete all five of the following strength assessment tests. Then you’ll have a long list of all of your skills and strengths. You can then use this language in an interview. Anyone can do the strength assessments to learn more about themselves, their skills, and what makes them unique.
In addition to the assessment tests listed above, an easy one to do is to ask a friend, your mom, or a teacher what you’re good at. “What are my top three strengths?” “What am I really good at?” “What makes me different from other women and other girls around me?” You want to be very clear on what your skills and strengths are. Another easy way to do this is to pull out a piece of paper, a journal or a notebook and write down a very long list of every single thing you are good at, everything you’ve accomplished, and everything you’ve completed, whether it was a course or a workshop. Whatever you were involved in, add it to your list along with the things you’ve learnt. Making a long list of all of our strengths reminds us of how talented, skilled, and amazing we are! You can visually see all of the amazing skills, strengths, and superpowers that you have filling up the page.
Use Bold Language
Now that you know what you’re good at, you’ll want to practice speaking very confidently using bold language. Let’s say, you’re really good at making friends, you’re a people person and you’re friendly and positive. If these are your skills, then replace, “oh yeah, I’m a people person and I like people and I’m good with people” with “I have really strong people skills, I’m really good at making friends.” Say that you have exceptional people skills. Practice upgrading your language and speaking more confidently.
Match the Energy in the Room
You want to match the interviewer’s energy and tone and their overall speaking style. For example, you might interview for a non-profit organization and maybe the executive director is formal and professional, and a little more direct and to the point. You can match her style and her energy, so you can also be professional and a little more direct. However, let’s say you are interviewing with me, you know, the founder of a career coaching business and a social enterprise (a small business). I’m really casual and I’m really friendly and not really formal at all. So, if you were interviewing with me you could make jokes and be yourself. Use the language that they use, use the vocabulary that they use, match their tone, match their energy. If they’re really playful you can be playful too and if they’re more serious, you might want to be a little more serious. Matching someone else’s energy is a great way to connect with them, to build rapport, and to build a relationship. When you are able to connect with someone and the conversation flows, you will feel more comfortable, calm, and confident.