Roadmap to Building Job Interview Confidence: Part 1 (Mindset)

This article first appeared on job-hunt.org.

What will it take for you to feel more confident in your next interview? By developing the right mindset before your next interview, you can feel more confident walking in. This will help ease some of the jitters you may typically have.

Although people will respond differently, using a road map and taking positive steps will help you increase your confidence just as I was able to increase mine.

To strengthen my interview confidence, I developed the right mindset, prepared more thoroughly, adapted during interviews, and reflected about the interview. As a result, I felt more at ease walking into the interview. 

For you, it could be one of a few steps that have helped others in these common situations. Yes – common. You’re not alone. Just as others have rebuilt their confidence, you can enhance yours. 

We just need a road map. Let’s get to it!

There are two parts to the road map for enhancing your interviewing confidence.

  1. Develop the right mindset.
  2. Really prepare for your interview, which includes how to apply your preparation to the interview and build on your successes.

In this article, we'll focus on developing the right mindset.

Develop a Positive Mindset to Increase Job Interview Confidence

The right mindset for your job interview is a positive one, a frame of mind that will enable you to present your best self in your job interviews. 

These are the elements of a positive mindset:

1. Believe in a growth mindset. 

In other words, believe that with enough preparation, practice, and experience you can enhance your interviewing skills. 

There may be some parts of interviewing that are new to you. That’s okay. 

When we do new things, we get more tired because we’re using different parts of our brain. How much thought do you give to riding a bike or other skill-based hobbies? Learning to ride a bike took time, effort, and concentration. However, after mastering that skill, bike riding became easier to do.

The same is true for job interviewing. 

If it’s hard for you to write about your accomplishments or look people in the eye, then having a growth mindset will allow you to believe that by practicing a little each day, you will improve. 

  • What’s the cost to you if you believe you can’t improve?
  • What is the most challenging thing to you when it comes to interviewing?
  • What small steps can you take each day to overcome these challenges?

As we do new things repeatedly, they become habits. Habits take less time and effort to build, but once established, they become much easier to perform. 

2. You are on equal footing. 

Yes, you may really need the job. But, you also need to understand if you will like the job and the organization. So, you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. 

When I first started a business and was running out of capital, I needed to find a position to provide for my family. My family was under stress and I took the first opportunity that came along. On my first day, there were signs the culture wasn’t right for me. I continued to test those assumptions and sure enough when my project was over, the company didn’t want to consider me for future opportunities. 

Even though I was able to provide for my family for a short time, it wasn’t a good long-term fit. This is a common mistake many of us make at least once in our careers. So, ask questions to ensure the company is right for you.

3. You can only control what you can control. 

Let go of the rest. 

You can’t make like the hiring manager like you. You can’t take back words you might have wanted to say differently. You can’t reverse time if you’re a few minutes late. 

You can prepare your responses, treat each interview as a learning experience, and ensure you put your best game on (e.g. appearance, attitude, timeliness) because you control those aspects of the job interview.

4. Take credit for the good work you’ve done. 

Don’t be bashful. What success stories are you not sharing because you don’t want to seem boastful? How will holding back information impact your interview?

Remember the skills that qualify you for the job. Be proud of your accomplishments that demonstrate you are qualified for the job. If you don't share those qualifications and accomplishments in the interview, the employer will never learn about them.