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An interviewer may decide whether or not to hire you within the first few moments of meeting you. So you can imagine that your appearance, how you present and carry yourself, and your overall demeanor are extremely important. You want to exude confidence because you believe in yourself, your talents and what you’ve accomplished. A lack of confidence can send up a red flag—“What is this person hiding?”

How to appear confident—even if you’re nervous

But despite all this, most of us find it difficult to be anything less than nervous during an interview. It’s human nature to feel shaky about the unknown, and with so much riding on an interview—you really want the job, it’s an exciting opportunity and let’s not forget those pesky bills (they’re not going to pay themselves!). So it can help to have a few tricks up your sleeve to appear confident and on top of your game—even if you feel ever so slightly like hiding under the table. Here’s what you can do:

  • Before you go into your interview, take slow, deep breaths. It will help to calm your “fight or flight” response and bring your heartrate back to normal.
  • Make normal eye contact. During your interview, make eye contact, but if you’re nervous, it can be hard to gauge how much. You don’t want to stare at your lap, but you also don’t want to direct an unnerving stare at the interviewer either. Just remember that eye contact indicates engagement in the conversation, but it’s OK to look away every now and again. Just act as if you were having a more casual conversation.
  • Slow down. Nervous people tend to talk very quickly. Remember to pause to breath and for emphasis, and to check your rate of speaking. Try to slow it down.
  • Pay attention to your body language. A firm handshake and smile when you first meet your interviewer/s is always a safe bet. Sit up straight in your seat and lean slightly forward. Don’t fidget by twisting your hair, biting your lip or bouncing your foot up and down. Folding your hands in your lap, or keeping them free to emphasize your words is better than crossing your arms across your chest—this can make you look appear standoffish.
  • Become an actor of sorts. It can help to call to mind a time when you felt cool and confident—and put yourself back in that time and place. How did you act then? Become an actor and take on the persona of outgoing version of you.
  • There’s no denying that reviewing possible interview questions and practicing your answers will help boost your confidence. Recruit a friend or family member to “interview” you.
  • Look good. Feeling good about your appearance is an easy confidence builder. Choose an outfit (a suit will work in almost all scenarios) that makes you feel pulled together and professional. Get a fresh haircut and make sure your shoes are in good condition.

When you’re ready, contact McGrath Systems

We’ll work with you to find a job opportunity that fits your qualifications and career goals. We specialize in the placement of engineering, human resources, light industrial and IT positions. To learn more, contact one of our experienced recruiters today!


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