Pre-Interview Confidence Boosters

3 Pre-Interview Confidence Boosters


Sweaty palms.

Shaky voice.

Blank mind.

These symptoms of nervousness can seriously sabotage a job interview, no matter how prepared and qualified you are.

Watch: 3 Rules For Overcoming Interview Jitters

To quell these natural responses and help you muster more confidence in anxious situations, consider these quick pre-interview confidence boosters to help you perform better right before your next job interview — no energy drinks or cheesy motivational speeches required!

Pre-Interview Confidence Boosters

Amy Cuddy, social psychologist of Harvard Business School, talked about what people do while do while waiting for a job interview to start in a recent TedGlobal presentation.

“You’re sitting down. You’re looking at your iPhone or Android. You’re looking at your notes.”

This common waiting room behavior is not really ideal for maximizing your confidence right before an interview. Instead, the following activities will make you way more confident before meeting a potential boss:

1. Strike A Power Pose For Two Minutes

According to Cuddy, rather than hunching up and making yourself small in the waiting room chair as you scramble to soak up last minute notes or practice one final interview question, what you should actually find a private place to do what Cuddy calls a power pose.

There are a few different variations, but the Wonder Woman pose is really easy to remember. So, 10 minutes before your interview, go somewhere private, like the bathroom, and strike a strong pose where you take up as much space as possible.

In an interview with Inc. magazine, Cuddy talked about an experiment she did where she brought people into the lab and had them spit into a little vial to get baseline testosterone (the hormone associated with dominance) and cortisol (the hormone associated with stress).

Then, some people did a high-power pose for two minutes and others did low-power pose (hunched over). She tested their hormones to find that:

“The high-power pose caused a decrease in cortisol of about 25% and an increase in testosterone of about 19%,” Cuddy told Inc.

There you have it! Strike a power pose to prevent releasing those stress hormones!

2. Repeat A Positive Affirmation

“Repeating a positive affirmation can reduce production of cortisol and stress hormones by almost 50%, slow the mind, lower your blood pressure and heart rate and make you feel confident and powerful,” says Kathleen Hall, founder and CEO of The Mindful Living Network and the Stress Institute.

Hall offers the following examples: I am confident in all things. I have unlimited potential.

Joyce Marter, psychotherapist and CEO of Urban Balance, would agree and suggests deep breathing while you recite a positive mantra in your head “using language you will want to use in the interview, such as ‘I absolutely will succeed in this job if given the opportunity.’”

You might feel a little silly at first, but these words will help you emit a more positive appearance — and that sure beats a nervous one!

3. Read Over Nice Things People Have Said About You

Thinking back to a time when you were successful and confident is a great way to recreate that confidence right before an interview. A quick and easy way to do this is to print out and compile anything nice that someone has said about you.

Read old letters of recommendation, LinkedIn endorsements, letters or notes from colleagues or teachers that have boosted your confidence in the past.

If you’re not really feeling this method, “Quickly review your biggest accomplishments in your head before going into the interview,” says Katherine Walker, founder and executive director of Lifetime Behavioral Health. “This trip down memory lane will instantly create a sense of confidence and serve to get your brain thinking about items the interviewer will no doubt ask you about.”

It’s the best way to remind yourself that all of your previous experiences have helped shape you and prepare you to succeed in this job interview!

Related Posts

5 Ways To Build Confidence For An Interview
4 Interview Prep Tips You Can’t Afford To Skip
6 Tips For Following Up After A Job Interview


Photo Credit: Shutterstock


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  1. I remember reading this article on your site months ago, why don’t you have any fresh material rather than regurgitating.

  2. I like the 3rd method, I guess it all depends on individual personality but it is easier for me to believe what others might have said about me, that is more reassuring. I also like the idea of reading past accomplishment, they are concrete facts; I can see where they would build last minute confidence, they are a good reminder of what I can achieve.

  3. LiMn

    I love that you don’t sit. That is impressive. I often do the same, though not consciously. Depending on the lobby I like to investigate the decor and evaluate the friendliness and productiveness of the front desk attendant or secretary. If they’re interested in a conversation, I’ll peak their interest and ask their opinions. On more than one occasion, I’ve been told that I was recommended strongly by the front desk. Strong companies value the opinions of their employees and while a delicate option, it can be potentially rewarding though you have to test the water and not make things worse for yourself.

  4. Bill: I think an important part of interviews is coming off fresh and not *too* practiced as to appear fake. The question approach is great! I don’t think there is any substitute to preparing answers to a large variety of questions. Expanding on that, I think an additional key is to verify first that you understand the question. Each interviewer might have different intentions for asking the same question. So I’ve found it very successful to at least once or twice during the interview rephrase the question back to the interviewer in an either or format with two options. So if I was asked to share an experience when I was placed in an ethical dilemma–recognizing the broad nature of the question–I might return asking the interviewer, “Excellent question, an a serious ethical dilemma or a perceived ethical dilemma?” Especially if I have a specific experience for either option. I know that this style of answer is generally advised against, but my personality lends to it naturally.

    In general, I find the best results in an interview when I start off the interview by introducing myself and immediately establishing myself as the interviewer and not the interviewee. I simply look them right in the eye, give a firm handshake, and say I’m Neil, and I’ve learned this and that about your company so far, yet despite my research I’m still an outsider looking in”….smile….”what does your company have to offer me that I can’t find at the rival company X, Y, or Z?” Wait for the answer, and respond immediately with what have you enjoyed while working here, and what have you found difficult……you can be straight with me, soon after I start working here things will inevitably come to my attention.” “Who will be my immediate supervisor, and do they have a history of clear expectations and low turnover?

    This is a great article. My favorite are striking a power stance and reviewing your accomplishments. Without realizing it, I always think of the organizations I’ve been a part of in the past that simply could not have functioned without me, in which I had a critical role, and those positions in which I was the happiest and most productive.

  5. In my experience coaching job hunting clients, and also from my own personal experience, the single best thing you can do is script out your answers to the top 20-30 interview questions (there are hundreds of books on interview Q&A). Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse to the point where they just flow naturally, not robotically. They have done research that if you do this , and concentrate fully while you do it, the subconscious brain does not know the difference between a real interview and a rehearsed one. So if you rehearse 20 times, you have essentially tricked your subconscious into think you are an experienced interviewer with 20 real interviews under your belt. I call it “Rehearsitol”, the non-pharmaceutical antidote for nervousness. Oh and one more thing…have a killer “Tell-Me-About-Yourself” answer…you know you will ALWAYS be asked that at the beginning, so have a powerful confident answer right out of the chute!

  6. Great advice. And never forget, they are just people like you. Pants go on one leg at a time. Relax and be yourself. Remember, you were looking for a job when you got this interview, so you’ll either get the job or still be looking. Either way, you’re better from having the experience of doing the interview.

  7. Pamela Humphries- Stuart

    That first suggestion caught me by surprise. It brought out a laugh and a big smile to my face! I could actually see myself in a similar pose feeling a confidence that will show the ambitious, delightfully interesting person I am. That’s a successful interview!

  8. I spend my whole travel time to the interview saying affirmations – whichever one is working for me I use. I say them slowly to slow myself down. This helps calms my nerves. I arrive early and find a bathroom, best if I find one not associated with the interview. I take off my coat. I check my makeup and my hair and my clothes for wrinkles. Then I go into waiting area, hang my coat up and stand with items in my left hand so that when the person comes to meet me I can shake hands with them with my right. It’s an incredible boost to stand in the waiting area and have an inner conviction about myself.

  9. I appear relaxed and comfortable which says I’m ready to take this job. And always have a smile ready to greet them to let them know I have a friendly demeanor and attitude that will be greeting clients.

  10. Good ideas and interesting science too.

    I go one step further when waiting. I typically stand and wait as that first impression of you sitting, standing up and gathering your stuff is not the best. I want to look my interviewer in the eye and shake their hand first. Then I gather up my binder, portfolio, etc. When you stand you are ready for action! While standing in many lobbies there are interesting things to read on the walls- or check out the dress code, pace etc of the people passing through.

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