How to Stay Confident While Interviewing
Interviews are something that everyone has to deal with at some point in their lives. I think there are two ways you can look at the situation:
Fear Lens: nervous about the outcome and scared you’ll mess up
Confidence Lens: sure of yourself and confident in your abilities
Remember, you are interviewing them too.
I am by no means an interviewing queen, but I have gone on my fair share from part-time summer jobs to internships to full-time positions post-grad, and have learned a lot along the way. The number one thing that helped me relax a bit during interviews was something a college professor said once, “Remember, you are interviewing them too.” Reframing the interview into determining if you will actually like the position and can utilize skills you already have while getting the opportunity to learn more helps take the pressure off a bit.
As a junior in college, I wanted to find an internship ASAP. I knew that getting one would be key to landing my first job post-grad, and I wanted to gain experience in my field. I had a few phone interviews as well as some in person. I remember one interview was in NYC at a fashion start-up. I got to the location about two hours early because I didn’t want to be late! Don’t worry, I didn’t head in yet (aim to arrive at your interview location no more than 15 minutes early). I hung around the Whole Foods across the street, nervously ate some lunch, and then when it was time walked over. The interview lasted at most 10 minutes, and I thought I bombed it. To my surprise, I got an email a few days later with an offer! I turned it down because it wasn’t the right fit for me. I ended up getting a position closer to my college in Princeton, and it all worked out.
What is meant for you will come to you.
Speaking of taking the pressure off, don’t put any on yourself! Understand that what is meant for you will come to you, and if the interview doesn’t work out, something better will be coming! That’s not to say, don’t put in any effort, it just means that the world will not end if you don’t get the job. Trust me on that.
When I was a senior in college, I was anxiously applying to any and all jobs I could find in the marketing and communications field. I had a student loan that was going to need to be paid, and I didn’t want to fall behind on payments. I put so much pressure on myself to find a job and nail every interview. I remember I got called in for an interview in April, I was so excited and nervous at the same time. I started thinking I need to get this job if I don’t how will I pay my student loan and start a successful career? My mind frame was out of whack, and instead of feeling confident in my abilities, I started to second guess if I was right for the role and why they would even want me to work for them. I ended up walking into the interview as a ball of nerves and couldn’t think clearly throughout. The company probably picked up on that vibe, and I didn’t get an offer.
I learned a lot from that interview, and instead of feeling nervous in the following interviews, I had the mindset of if it is meant to be it will be. This led to me getting an offer on the spot at a NYC ad agency (I declined) and one at my first post-grad job.
Don’t feel weird practicing interview questions beforehand.
If you’ve been out of the interviewing space for a while or haven’t gone on one before, practicing interview questions helps tremendously! Before any of my internship interviews, I found a list of common interview questions and wrote down my answers to them. From there, I would practice myself and then ask my mom or a friend to run through and interview me. I can’t recommend doing this enough. You need to be confident answering questions about yourself and projects you have worked on, and being that it is not something you typically do every day, practice is key!
Your interviewer is just another person with a life outside of work too.
This last tip is something that I learned while working at my first post-grad job. I was responsible for interviewing potential freelance writing candidates and being on the other side of the interviewing process helped me a lot. I learned that the interviewer is just another person and I shouldn’t be scared of them! In my second post-grad job, I had a lot of phone conferences and met with numerous different people. This also helped as I started to view interviews as meetings in my current job in which I meet new people and share who I am and talk about projects I’m proud of.
Remember that there is something about your resume that stood out to the recruiter or interviewer, otherwise you wouldn’t have been called in! Don’t doubt your skills, abilities, and yourself. You’ve got it!