Gold foil number 10 celebration balloon on a blue background.
Image: © demphoto/

10 steps you can take for a positive pre-interview mindset

29 Apr 2020

Marc Burrage, managing director of Hays Poland, outlines his top tips for getting yourself into the right mindset before a remote job interview.

Adopting a positive frame of mind will enable you to perform your very best during remote interviews. It will also help you feel more confident, helping you to really sell yourself and your skills in an authentic way to the interviewer, even if you are doing so remotely.

I’ve outlined the steps you need to take to prepare properly and remain optimistic and self-confident throughout the interview process.

1. Reframe the way you think

If you have a tendency to drown yourself in self-limiting thoughts, such as by telling yourself that another candidate will be better suited to the job or that you won’t come across as well on the phone or a video call, the chances are that your brain will start to believe this.

Instead, reframe the way you think and try to appreciate how far you’ve come in your career, taking confidence and reassurance from that. You’ve already been accepted for and invited to an interview, which is something to be proud of.

So, rather than telling yourself that you won’t come across as well via video, for example, think about this as being just the same as having a conversation with someone in person – the means by which you’re having that conversation are just slightly different.

2. Don’t let imposter syndrome get the better of you

Many people suffer from something called imposter syndrome. Essentially, this is the feeling that you have somewhat fooled others into thinking you’re better at something, or more capable, than you really are. Or that you don’t deserve the success you’ve experienced so far.

It’s important you turn this limiting mindset on its head by telling yourself that your success is ultimately down to your own competence and effort, not luck. And even if your current responsibilities look a little different right now, all those skills and experiences you’ve built up still exist and are still part of your capabilities.

3. Don’t overthink it

Thinking too much about the significance of the interview itself could result in putting an unnecessary amount of pressure on yourself, therefore negatively impacting your frame of mind during your preparation. Especially during this difficult time, when you’re likely to already be feeling more unsettled than usual.

This, in turn, could lead to unhelpful thoughts that might affect your self-esteem and confidence. So, take a step back and think about this for what it truly is: a conversation with someone about a job you’re interested in, to get a chance for you both to get to know each other.

Click here to visit the Hays Viewpoint Blog.

4. Do your preparation

You know that old saying ‘if you fail to prepare, prepare to fail’? It has more than a semblance of truth to it. But thorough preparation isn’t only good for improving your chances of landing the job in the first place; it’s also great for your mindset, helping you to relax in the knowledge that you have done all you can and whatever happens next is inevitable.

If you feel prepared, you feel confident, and your frame of mind is therefore more likely to be positive.

5. Psych yourself up

Do you have a morning mantra that you tell yourself? Is there one particular song that makes you feel happy? If so, now’s the time to turn up the volume and really listen to it. You could also remind yourself of all of the amazing feats you’ve achieved in your career to date or ask a friend to give you a last-minute pep talk, telling you that you have all of the qualifications and experience needed to pass this interview with flying colours.

Use optimistic language towards yourself, too, such as ‘I’m looking forward to the interview’. Positive self-affirmations don’t just make you feel good. According to research, there is evidence that motivational self-talk helps to improve performance.

6. Approach this interview as an opportunity for growth

Your mindset ahead of and during your interview will be much more positive if you don’t just see it in black and white – either getting the job or not, with nothing more to be gained from the situation. After all, whether the interview goes the way you want or not, you are sure to learn something from it.

If you’re living through a difficult period at the minute due to the current circumstances, I know it may seem tough to adopt this mindset. But try your best to use this interview as a learning opportunity.

For example, you might even emerge from the interview with a clearer sense of what you want and don’t want from your career, and where your present strengths and weaknesses lie and, therefore, what you need to focus on next to get ahead in your career. And those are great outcomes in themselves, aren’t they?

7. Speak to your recruiter and support group

Do you have a relative or friend who is great at giving advice? If so, a quick call with this person or someone else in your support network about how you’re feeling could go a long way to enhancing and sustaining your positive mindset.

It’s also well worth having a good relationship with your recruiter, given that they are the experts in this field and will have an existing relationship with the interviewer. Perhaps you could organise a video call with them? This would be a good chance to test out your technology, too.

8. Don’t become too absorbed

Yes, it’s important to prepare well for any job interview, but even when an interview is looming, you should still have plenty to enjoy away from the world of work. So, don’t hesitate to continue partaking in any hobbies and interests elsewhere in your life that will help you to keep perspective and blow off some steam. Something as simple as a puzzle or video game can be great for boosting both our self-efficacy and confidence in overcoming problems.

Research has found that even simply spending time walking outside, for example, can reduce stress and improve cognitive function. If your current government restrictions mean that you cannot go for a walk outside, an activity like yoga or meditation will help you to achieve the same reduce in stress and ensure you stay present in the moment.

9. Feel excited!

At the end of the day, a job interview is a great opportunity to be introduced to new people and could open the door to taking the next exciting step in your career. Now is the time, too, to think about all of the things that attracted you to this role, including what it would be like to do the job itself, and the opportunities it could open up for you.

Allowing yourself to feel excited and visualising what it will feel like to work in this new role will help you to feel more confident and maintain a positive mindset throughout your preparation.

10. Pick the right outfit for the interview

Even though this is a video or telephone interview, it’s still imperative you dress as if you were meeting the interviewer face-to-face. In fact, the seemingly smallest touches, such as wearing your best shoes despite the fact that they won’t be seen, can make a difference to how positive your mindset is ahead of and during the interview.

Dressing sharply and in tune with the position for which you are applying will help you to feel self-assured on this all-important occasion.

With a positive mindset in place, you will be able to enjoy your interview more and portray your authentic self from start to finish – a person who is confident, articulate and fully deserving of this wonderful opportunity. Ultimately, that’s who you are, so don’t doubt for a moment that you are anything else.

By Marc Burrage

Marc Burrage is managing director of Hays Poland. A version of this article previously appeared on the Hays Viewpoint blog.

Loading now, one moment please! Loading