Projecting confidence is an important part of the job search. As Vince Lombardi said, “Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence.” This is never truer than during the interview process. Employers seek to hire people who believe they can excel. While not every person is born with the same level of confidence, we can all work on it or, as they say, fake it ‘til we make it. The job seeking process is not the time to let your confidence wane.
Here are some tips for projecting confidence:
- Stand Tall: Have a confident stance. What does this look like? Picture Superman or Wonder Woman. They both stand tall and have open stances that take up space. Practice this at home in front of the mirror or at the gym. Studies have shown that standing in one’s power stance actually makes a person feel more confident. This feeling of confidence projects to the interviewer.
- Sitting with Purpose: Sitting tall is just as important as standing tall. Don’t slump into yourself or cross your arms in front of your body. This is “closed body-language” and it does not communicate confidence in yourself or your interviewer. Rest your hands in your lap or gently on a desk or table in front of you. This applies to both in-person and phone interviews. Confidence can actually be heard in your voice. Treat every phone interview as if you were meeting in person.
- Eye Contact: Not making eye contact with someone begs the question why? Are you hiding something? Are you just uncomfortable? Yes – there is such thing at too much eye contact as well – so it should be used appropriately. If there is a reason you cannot make eye contact (for example, the need to read lips or eye problems), then you should feel free to share this with the person you’ll be speaking with as you are sitting down for the interview.
- Firm Handshake: Practice, practice and more practice. There is no excuse for having a droopy (or bone crushingly firm) handshake. A handshake can set the tone for an interview and/or leave the last impression. When in doubt, go in for the handshake. It shows the interviewer that you are taking the meeting seriously and know how to act in a professional situation.
- Active Listening: A very important trait for interviewees. Active listening helps you boost your interviewers’ confidence. Confidence is contagious. Nodding your head yes or no during a conversation shows engagement, understanding of the issues, and the ability to develop opinions.
First impressions matter, so set yourself up for success. These are all techniques that can be practiced and honed. The more you train your body to move in a confident manner, the more confident you will actually become.