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The Job Interview Mindset

Quick and easy tips to build your confidence

Are you a narcissist?

According to a study in the Journal of Applied Psychology, narcissists perform better in job interviews because they convey confidence. A job interview is a time when you must sell yourself. The potential employer might have liked your resumé, but now they need to like you. If you’re unsure of yourself and uncomfortable, then the interviewer will sense your insecurity and discomfort. And, when that happens, your chances of being hired start to fall exponentially.

People usually think about preparing for a job interview as a set of steps to take. Conduct research, know the answers to the important questions, and be ready for a salary conversation. This is only half of job interview preparation. It is important that you walk into your interview with confidence. It’s just as important that you continue to exude this demeanor and conclude the interview confidently. You might know this expression: “Fake it until you make it.” That might be a fine strategy, but ultimately, it won’t serve you as well as true confidence.

You might think that you can only be confident if you are highly successful or very good-looking. This is a myth. Confidence is not about having some perfect self-image. True confidence requires knowing and accepting who you are and recognizing what makes you special and valuable. When you know that, you will be on the way to building real confidence.

Here is a simple confidence-building technique. Make a list of 10 things in your life—both personal and professional—that you have accomplished. Ideally, for this exercise, try to choose most of them from your professional life. This is a quick and easy way to build your confidence when preparing for an interview.

Now, think through those professional accomplishments and clearly picture them in your mind. For least three, write a brief mental story and include some specific details that are easy to remember. You can now use these unscripted stories during the interview to answer a question such as, “What is your greatest strength?” or to respond to a request like this one, “Tell me a time when you solved a problem.” This style of response is called the storytelling method and is a great way to convey both confidence and value at the same time. Try to limit them to 30 or 45 seconds.

Here’s one more tip. Right before you go into your interview, think about your greatest source of pride from a personal or professional experience. Close your eyes and relive that moment and how you felt during that experience. Now you’re ready. Put on a smile and confidently walk through the door.

Seth Karafin is the owner of Multi-Dimensional Coaching. He is an accomplished career and resumé accelerator, with a specialty in helping people get hired. Karafin works with people representing all professions, from bakers to doctors and everyone in-between, and his clients range from college graduates to retirees.