I have spent a lot of time with the WTH (Women’s Tech Hub, Bristol), understanding the struggles and successes that the ladies go through. I was asked last year to do a workshop on building your confidence ready for an interview, it was a great morning and I wanted to share my top tips and takeaways from the session.
Your “rock stars” may not be Beyoncé or Rihanna, they aren’t mine either! I’m more Emilia Clark & Mary Berry! Maybe yours are Amazon or Google? Your probably thinking, where are you going with this right?
Sasha Fierce is, according to Beyoncé, her alter ego that she assumes when she gets on stage. Sasha Fierce is her persona, and what is responsible for her confidence as she struts her stuff on stage. When you go to your next interview, try these tips.
When it comes to appearing confident in an interview or even in a job itself, many women follow what men are doing. A few sports puns, a pub reference, a neutral business suit … what could display confidence better than acting like a man?
Try this instead: Just be yourself.
Exuding confidence is one step towards getting off the mark, securing a job and also moving up the career ladder. You don’t have to act like a man to get there I promise, just find your inner Sasha!
Here are my top 10 interview tips:
1.Dress the part.
You don’t have to wear a suit to prove you’ve got “swag”. Dress appropriately but own your style. If you’re more trousers than a skirt or something pretty rather than the classic black look, then you do that, you can still wear what you love and show personality. You willl feel more comfortable if you like what you wear, rather than if you dress like you think others expect you to.
2.Play to people’s preferences & Research.
An absolute MUST is to research the person you are going to be speaking to. Look at their Linkedin profile, type them in on google, if you are going through an agency then ask them “what is the manager like?” My best recruitment win came from typing their name into google and finding out they had just won on come dine with me, my subject line was ‘nice banoffee pie’ and what followed is a relationship that is still going strong 3 years later. Now they could be interested in golf, skiing, music, reading or whatever, everyone has a different button, and knowing what makes them light up can win you major points in an interview. It’s not about brown-nosing here, but simply paying attention to people to help you build relationships and make you stand out from the crowd.
3. Speak up.
You have been invited for an interview because of your experience and skills, so it’s time to share them! Don’t be shy, this is your chance to sell you. Don’t over-assert yourself, either. Find the right balance between holding back, listening and steering the conversation.
4.Be aware of your word choice.
DO NOT undermine yourself by using softer wording, such as “I think” or “maybe,” or even apologise for interjecting. You don’t have to interrupt or be rude, but use more confident words that make a statement – not a gentle suggestion. (If you want some examples give me a shout)
5. Pretend you’re confident.
We don’t all feel like Beyoncé, even on our best days, but everyone else doesn’t have to know that. Realize that how you walk, talk, shake hands and make (or avoid) eye contact tells someone whether or not you are self-assured. So stand up tall, walk with purpose, smile or (have that look) and look everyone in the eye! This is important! You’ll soon find that even if you don’t feel confident at first, you will soon.
6.Be mindful how your facial expressions may be interpreted.
Maybe you tend to furrow your brows when you get nervous, or you maintain a stiff and serious expression in interviews. Stand in front of the mirror and practice loosening up before an interview. Be mindful of how different expressions may be interpreted. Contact Ajara Pfannenschmidt, she will explain how to do the gibberish.
7.Highlight your past experiences.
Back them up with specific success stories, including milestones your career or life so far. For example: “My last project saved the company over £500,000 and increased sales by 15 percent.” In fact, go in with several of these short statements describing accomplishments but ensure you are specific. Always think I and not we when sharing your successes. It is you being interviewed for the job, not the whole team remember!
8. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
The dreaded question!! The question we all hate right? We hope that employers have moved along from this question but some haven’t (welcome to 1990). If you know the answer then great but If you don’t then you need to prepare and answer and be ready for it. It is ok not to know though. I know I don’t have a clue what I will be doing in 5 years’ time, hopefully on a beach somewhere with Tom Hardy! (Keep wishing yeah!)
Demonstrate to your future employer that you’re interested in the job. Prepare questions to ask at the end ahead of your interview. What do you really want to know about the company? What will help you make the decision to join this company or not? Ask for feedback there and then? Have you still got to convince them of anything? What are their expectations for the first few months in the role? Where is the company heading and how could you fit into that plan? Be enthusiastic, show that you are interested and that you have prepared ahead and lastly ensure you walk out of there confident you have done all you can.