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Facing an Interview Confidently: 15 Tips for making a great impression and getting the next job!

We all want to work in our dream company, doing our dream job, while earning a dream salary. It is certainly possible. Even all 3 of them together! And for that, we have to face interviews!

I have faced more than 100 interviews in my career so far. All this experience has taught me valuable lessons that help me succeed every time I go for an interview.

And in this article, I have tried to synthesize my learning that is important to excel in the interview and help you in creating a lasting impact.

Here are the 15 most important tips on how to face job interviews confidently and leave a lasting impression:

1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Preparation is crucial for success in interviews. And it is never enough.

Ever landed into an interview without preparing enough for it? You will have either of these 2 feelings: Anxiety or Confidence.

If it is anxiety, because of lack of preparation, it will automatically lead to negative body language and unstructured, unclear responses to questions.

If it is confidence, it would actually be Over-Confidence. You will portray body language and behaviors that will show it out to the interviewer, and for 99% of the cases, it will be a turn-off for them.

Consider practicing in front of the mirror a few times. Read through the job description, the company, and the person, you will meet for the interview.

You may even ask a friend to do a mock interview with you. It could tremendously boost your confidence and help you identify improvement areas.

2. Follow a pre-interview preparation checklist

Towards the interview day, a checklist will help ensure you don't forget important things. Things you must always do a few days before the interview:
  • Update your resume and take printouts
  • Dress for Success
  • Mirror Practice
  • Research the company
You can refer to this crisp infographic on the pre-interview checklist: The Ultimate Pre-Interview Checklist

3. Dress Code: A Professional Interview Attire

Your dress will impress. It depends on you on what kind of impression it leaves. So, dress for success in an interview. The way you dress for an interview also conveys how serious are you about getting the job.

Interview dressing tips for men:
  • Business Suit: Black, Navy, or Gray
  • Long-sleeved Shirt: White or Light Blue
  • Tie to Match
  • Formal Shoes
  • Socks: same color as trousers
  • Neat hairstyle
  • Clean-shaven or trimmed beard
  • Neatly trimmed nails
  • Formal carry bag or folder
Interview dressing tips for women:
  • Business Suit: Black, Navy, or Gray
  • Suit skirt: knee length
  • Coordinated blouse or shirt
  • Shoes: Pumps or stilettos
  • Minimal jewelry
  • Professional hairstyle
  • Light makeup and a limited amount of perfume
  • Neatly trimmed nails
  • Formal carry bag or folder
Dress formally, even if it's a virtual interview! Ok, you can skip the shoes and wear slippers instead 😃.

4. While waiting at the reception, ditch the phone, and go to the washroom instead!

In a famous Ted Talk, Amy Cuddy shared her research on how candidates fared in an interview based on what they did while waiting for it.
The candidates who went to the washroom and practiced positive body language (i.e. open arms, straight back, eye contact, etc.) had more chances of getting the job than the ones who were engrossed in their phones.

5. Enter with a smile and give a firm handshake

You come across as genuinely positive and confident with these key indicators. And practice them whenever you meet people every day, so that on the day of the interview it just flows naturally.

6. Prepare for the common questions asked in an interview

Go through the 9 most commonly asked interview questions, in this article I have shared. You can always prepare for as many questions and try to connect most answers to the job you are applying for. Your practice will help you be more smooth and fluent when answering in the actual interview.

7. Tell me about yourself - prepare this response well

You must, and I insist ‘must’, write down your response to this question and practice by reading it multiple times. And this answer must change with the context of the company you are interviewing for. For example, if I go to an IT company I will mention more of the IT clients I have worked with and so on.

I have detailed how to respond to the 9 most common interview questions including this one here.

8. Match your skills/experience to the Job Role and the Company Profile

Do a proper study of the job description and research the company you are interviewing for. Look for similar examples in your experience that you can connect to both. The company is looking for people who can join and start being useful from day one. You can depict that by sharing how you can fit well in the job and the company culture.

9. Impress through your Body Language

Your presence in the room matters and your body language gives all sorts of signals to the interviewers. Follow the below tips for impressive body language:
  • Sit / Stand straight
  • Smile
  • Avoid crossing legs and arms
  • Make eye contact

10. Make an Impact with your Voice

Your voice is another big aspect of conveying confidence and clarity. Avoid eating ice cream from the day before. Yes, it helps! Do some jaw flexing every day, it will help you speak fluently and improve your pronunciation. You could do the Cicely Berry jaw exercises just before the interview. This exercise will also help settle your nerves - the pre-interview jitters and belly butterflies we feel.

11. Pause and Breathe

You need not start speaking from the moment the interviewer finishes their sentence. You can take a few seconds to pause, think, and reflect before you start answering. This conveys you don’t jump the gun and give a more thoughtful response. It shows you are composed in trying situations and have good decision-making skills.

When you pause, sometimes you can take longer breaths. Deep breathing helps in calming you down and increases your ability to think on your feet. A few long breaths before and during the interview could really calm you and keep you in the present moment.

12. Have a conversation, not an interrogation

It is okay to talk like you are having a normal conversation while doing it respectfully. Be a good listener when they speak. You can also ask the interviewer back a few questions even before they say ‘any questions for me?’.

13.  Be honest

This is one value that is scarce and missing in this dog-eat-dog world, but it is much desired. If you lie about your skills or knowledge, it will come out one day or another, and worse if it happens after you join. Many companies also run background verification processes to find this out.
Be honest about what you know and what you don't. Share how, even if you didn't know something, you made the effort to find out and make it work.

14.  In the end, close positively, even if the interview didn’t go well

Thank the interviewer for their time and share that you had a good learning experience during this interaction. Smile and give an equally firm handshake like you did at the start of the interview before leaving the room. It shows that you are capable of staying positive and professional despite the situation.

15.  Never, Never, Never give up

As I shared, I have been through more than 100 interviews, and once 26 at a stretch till I finally landed a job. Sometimes, it was devastating to be rejected because it was the perfect job I thought I will get and I was suitable for it.
You must come back after an interview and reflect on what went well and what went wrong. It would be even more helpful if you note this down somewhere.

Our career growth depends on how much effort we put into developing our skills as well as how we communicate them to others. Interviews are a tool for employers to assess potential candidates and they are also an opportunity for potential candidates to communicate their capabilities.

Keep working on it and over a period of time, you will keep getting better at it. Wish you all the best.

Please do share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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