Being an introvert, I used to have anxiety about interviews.
You know the drill, you try to mentally prepare yourself by running through a bunch of simulated scenarios and rehearsing over and over and over again in your head.
But when you're actually there, sitting at the reception waiting for the HR person to come out and greet you, all these negative emotions, thoughts and self-doubt start surfacing again.
You ask yourself:
- What if they asked me questions I didn't prepare for?
- What if I stuttered or blanked out?
- What if they questioned my lack of degree / knowledge about a specific framework or language / work experience.
What do you do in this situation?
Just have more confidence???
You see, everyone says that — your family or friends — “encouraging” you by telling you to have more confidence.
But nobody ever tells you HOW.
How do you have more confidence?
How do you suppress all that self-doubt and bring out the best side?
How do you charismatically work the room like a salesman from The Wolf of Wall Street?
How do you feel confident when you're sure that all the other candidates are better than you both in technical proficiency and social skills?
When was the last time someone told you “just have more confidence” and you responded “oh, thanks for reminding me. I almost forgot” unsarcastically?
For me, and probably most of you reading this, the answer’s “never”.
So what can you do about it? Just let yourself be unconfident and self-doubting?
Of course not, but in order to have any meaningful change, you must first understand why you're having this problem.
Facts, or are they?
Very often, I see people tell themselves confidence comes from years of experience and thousands of hours of practice.
That's why beginners and juniors are less confident than a senior person, obviously.
But that's simply not true. These “facts” are just things you use to justify your lack of confidence. It’s an excuse for you to not change and actually be more confident.
If the lack of confidence and the presence of self-doubt is because of lack of experience or skills, then why does imposter syndrome still exist, even for people who have decades of experience and are basically masters of their craft?
This is because people keep feeding themselves limiting beliefs and thinking these beliefs are facts.
Do you know for certain that other candidates interviewing for the same job is better than you in every way?
Do you know for certain that you will bomb the interview?
Do you know for certain if this company is even right for you?
Even if you answer “yes” to all these questions, do you know for certain that you won't pass the interview?
The truth is, you don't actually know the answer to any of these questions. You just chose to stick to your limiting beliefs because it just feels safer.
The logic is if you reject yourself early on, you'll be mentally prepared when others reject you.
There are studies that show rejection basically feels like physical pain to your brain. So of course, your body's defence mechanism just kicks in automatically.
But that logic hardly holds up, does it?
Deep down, you still feel hurt when rejected.
You still keep on strengthening your own limiting beliefs that you're not good enough, and you're not prepared for rejections.
You're not prepared to have enough confidence to present yourself while during an interview!
How to actually change
Based on my experience, and seeing how others behave, the only way to change yourself and be confident is to first understand and recognize your limiting beliefs.
Once that’s out of the way, you can break free from your limiting beliefs and gain more confidence through a series of positive mindset shifts.
Think of it like this:
If every other candidate is better than you in every way, then why weren't you automatically rejected?
After all you were asked to come in and do an interview with the HR person.
You must have done something right!
Don’t worry about rejections at this stage because there's a lot of reasons for rejection, both subjective and objective. And usually what it comes down to is having a mismatch between your skill set and then company's needs.
Simple as that.
It has nothing to do with your personal traits, or you as a person. That is, unless you did something majorly wrong, such as kicking the office dog on your way out which I’m not sure why you would do such a horrible thing.
A company usually would not reject you simply because you're not good enough or anything like that.
If you already gotten the interview, that means the HR manager or the project lead or whoever is hiring for this role sees something in you that will bring value to the company.
Otherwise, there's absolutely no reason to waste your or their time talking to you.
Again, why bother setting up the interview? It’s because you've done something right.
Now, that is a fact.
You at least got an interview!
Now think of it from the other side: if both you and the other candidates are selected to be interviewed for the same role, do they really have an advantage over you?
Yes it’s possible they could be more technically proficient, have better social skills, worked at companies that everyone has heard of, or have 3 diplomas and 1 PhD or whatever.
But the fact that they're not automatically selected over you should already give you a confidence boost.
They supposedly have all these advantages over you, yet they still have to compete with you for the same job.
And that is your edge and their detriment.
You probably haven't worked at any of the Fortune 1000 companies. You didn't teach yourself programming since 8 years old. And you probably don't have a shiny resume that has recruiters lining up to speak to you. But you are selected to be interviewed among those who do have all those things.
How's that for a confidence boost?
With a simple mindset shift, you can turn your disadvantages into your greatest weapon!
And when you stack up these positive mindset shifts, you will start to become more confident from the bottom of your heart.
No more pretending! No more trying to be someone who you're not.
Instead, you'll be more calm and collected when you're in similar situations. You have less self-doubt and be overall more positive.
And that's it. This one of the ways I discovered to instantly becoming more confident in everything I do.
Once you break free from limiting beliefs and have super positive mindset shifts, you will be unstoppable!
Now, I don't know how to end this. So I hope this is interesting and helpful to you in your job searching journey.
As always, if there's anything you’d like me to cover, or share, just hit me up.
I'll see you next time on “Sam talks about random subjects remotely related to computers or ‘computering’ as he calls it.”