Your first job interview in a long time is days away and your confidence feels like it’s been slowly drying up.
It’s time to douse yourself with confidence – enough that you will reek of it by the time you sit down before your interviewer.
“If you have confidence in yourself, the interviewing person will perceive you as smarter. Confidence is better than college education. Confidence is a better predictor of whether you’ll be a CEO,” said Tim Sanders, a consultant, speaker and author of the forthcoming book Today We Are Rich. Sanders, the former Yahoo leadership coach, also wrote “Love Is the Killer App.”
As a child going to special education classes, he learned some critical lessons from his grandmother, Billye. Among them: “Confidence is rocket fuel!” He writes about those lessons in “Today We Are Rich,”subtitled “Harnassing the Power of Total Confidence” and debuting on April 1. Here then are some of Sander’s best tips for cultivating confidence:
- “Feed your mind good stuff.” This is especially important on interview days, when you skip the news websites, television news and email. You don’t need the drama, the negativity. You need gratitude and confidence in yourself. Visualize “a success experience” from your past, where you impressed a tough audience or received a letter of commendation
- Get positive. Smile at everyone on the way to the interview. “The person who greets you is the most important person,” said Sanders. “You’re friendly. You’re engaging. You’re completely oblivious to the competition.” And you’re aware that smart employers sometimes watch candidates’ from the moment they arrive and sit in the waiting room. Then be positive about your last job and former employer. “Point out the best parts of the job,” he said.
- Prepare. Learn a lot about the company, its leadership and culture. Become “the expert on one if its marquee products,” Sanders suggests. This knowledge will take away your fears and give you enthusiasm and confidence. Also rehearse before the interview with friends.
- Give gratitude a place in your daily life. He recommends the gratitude exercise of recognizing a couple of people who helped you yesterday and another two who will aid you today. Remember to be grateful for the job interview too, which validates you and your talents. “Gratefulness will keep you from having that negative edge,” Sanders said.
I affirm everything that he said and would like to add three of my own ideas for boosting confidence:
- Build yourself up. Join an organization such as Toastmasters, Rotary or another group that will help you build your confidence as you learn leadership, public speaking and other skills. Or build your reputation by volunteering regularly and using your skills – many employers look for this.
- Show your spirit. Place around you visible reminders of your success, your achievements, your creativity, your rallying-cry. Dig out the high school track trophies or the letter of commendation from your last employer and put them where you see them. Get an app that sends you uplifting thoughts each day. Use magnetic letters to spell out CONFIDENCE or I SHINE on your refrigerator. I post colorful cards near my desk that read: “I prosper wherever I turn” and “The wise woman is she who is too full of joy to be defeated by trouble.”
- Develop your own cheerleading squad. They don’t need pom poms; they need to be around and vocal when you need a lift. Your mom, your brother, your best friend from college or your former administrative assistant all could be enlisted to cheer you and remind you of how amazing you are.
And remember Sander’s parting thought on the rocket fuel that will carry us through bad times and good: “It’s not just about being confident. It’s about conveying confidence.”