superhero confidence for job interviews
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How to build your confidence before an interview

11 Jan 2017

Feeling nervous or anxious before a job interview can affect your performance. However, we have five scientifically proven ways to build your confidence before you go in.

When you score an interview for a job, it’s time to get your game face on. Practise your answers for those tough questions, pick your perfect interview outfit and make sure you have a good breakfast.

But prepping for an interview means more than researching the company and preparing answers for the more common questions.

If you’re the shy, introverted type, or you’re especially nervous, you need to make sure you’re confident enough to come across well. It’s not just about what you say, but how confidently you deliver your answers.

Sometimes, an excellent candidate with strong answers can still be passed over for someone who was more sure of themselves. To avoid that, here are five scientifically proven ways to give you a confidence boost just before your interview.

Write about your power

A 2013 study from New York University and Columbia showed that writing or thinking about a time you felt powerful will actually help you to exude power and confidence.

In the study, students were put into groups of three. One student from each group was told to describe a time when they felt powerful, while another member was asked to describe a time when someone else had power over them. The final student in each group was asked to describe a recent trip to the shop.

The groups were then asked to complete a task together and fill out a survey on their group members’ roles. Two weeks later, they were asked to complete another task and a second survey. On both occasions, the students who were told to describe a time they felt powerful were considered the leaders of the groups by their peers.

The night before your interview, or even the morning of, write about a time you felt powerful. Read it back over to yourself and really think about the power you felt. This will help your confidence levels when you head into your interview.

Pump up the bass

There’s a reason we listen to upbeat music with heavy bass lines when you want to get motivated.

Music has long been thought to be psychologically related to powerful thought processes.

Research in 2014 showed that students who listened to ‘high-power’ music were more likely to volunteer for a debate immediately after. They were also more likely to fill in the blanks of certain words to create phrases with powerful connotations.

If you haven’t already made a pre-interview playlist, it’s time to head to Spotify. We recommend Queen’s We Will Rock You.

Smile at yourself

The simple action of smiling has been scientifically proven to make us happy. Smiling has also been proven to be contagious, so smiling at yourself in the mirror before your interview – even if you feel a little silly – will help you.

This technique will help to relax you; it will shake off those last few nerves and give you a shot of happiness that will make you more confident.

Smiling before the interview will also make you more inclined to continue smiling throughout, which will exude positive vibes and start you off on the right foot.

Superhero pose

Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy gave a TED talk in 2012 about body language and the effects it has on us.

She cited ‘power posing’ which, when adopted, can alter testosterone and cortisone levels in the brain. This can instil more confidence and a sense of power in us even when we don’t feel confident, which could make us more successful.

Cuddy states that standing in a confident, powerful pose for two minutes is all you need to set the hormonal changes in motion.

Whether you’re in a lift or a bathroom before your interview, take on Wonder Woman’s pose: stand tall, with your hands on your hips, and your chin tilted up proudly.

Bring something personal

Superstitions may be little more than just that. However, studies have shown that personal rituals or lucky charms can affect a person’s performance, even if it’s just giving them an internal confidence boost or reducing anxiety.

Similarly to writing about a time that made you feel powerful, if you don’t already have something to wear or bring that you consider lucky, choose something that represents a positive or powerful time.

Do you have a bracelet that you wore when you won an award? What about the tie you wore to your last successful interview? Having something with you that makes you feel more confident can make you perform better.

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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