Interviews can be the thing that keeps people from looking for new jobs. They are the hurdle over which you have to jump to get that new job. Don’t let a lack of confidence stop you from getting a fantastic new project management role.
Here are our 7 tips for boosting your confidence before you reach the interview room.
- Know What You’re Going Into
In our experience, candidates do best at interviews when they know what they are walking into. Is it a straightforward interview? How many interviewers? Will you be asked to do psychometric tests or give a short talk?
Being caught off-guard can really throw your confidence so talk to the recruiter beforehand (and read everything they send you) so that you know what to expect. Plan for the things that they don’t tell you as well, so that mentally you are prepared if they spring something extra on you!
- Use Confident Body Language
OK, that’s easy to say, but what is confident body language?
Watch some TED Talks to see how confident presenters project themselves in front of others. While it’s unlikely that you’ll be giving TED-style presentations as part of your interview process, it is worth being conscious of your body language.
A good tip is to reflect the body language of the interviewer. Obviously don’t copy them outright (that would be creepy) but be aware of how they are holding themselves and be guided by that. If they sit back and put their feet on the desk, then they are pretty relaxed, but that doesn’t mean you should do the same! Use your common sense: avoid slouching, don’t fold your arms as that can signal negativity, give a firm handshake and turn on the smiles.
- Plan Your Wardrobe
You don’t want your interviewer fixating on that missing button or your worn out shoes. You’ll feel more confident in your interview if you know that your clothes aren’t letting you down.
Research the company’s dress code and choose items that will help you feel as if you already fit in. If you are unsure, go for smarter rather than underdressed and be guided by the industry you are interviewing for.
Oh, and clean your shoes and glasses! Recruiters notice the details, and they’ll be looking to see if they feel confident enough to let you go in to meet with executive management who are sponsoring projects, so you need to look like you can mix with the C-suite. That doesn’t require expensive clothes or designer labels, just cleanliness, and attention to the small things.
- Plan Your Journey
One of the things that characterize project management is an awareness of timescales and deadlines. Turning up late to your interview not only knocks your confidence but also sends a message to your interviewers that you aren’t as prepared (or as good at scheduling) as you should be.
Plan your journey in advance, taking into account diversions, traffic problems, public transport issues. It is far better to get there early and have time to collect your thoughts, than rush into the building late and flustered.
- Talk to Your Agency and Other Employees
Your recruitment agency is a great source of advice. They will know the hiring company and will have placed other people there in the past. They know what sorts of things are valued by the hiring managers there and what the culture of the organization is like.
Talk to them about the company, the department, and the individuals to get a real feel for what it will be like working there. This all adds to your confidence about the process you’re going through and also to your belief that it’s a job that you want.
In addition to your professional staffing firm, social networks are your friend. Do a bit of research online to see if there is anyone in your existing networks on LinkedIn, for example, who already has experience there.
Practicing your interview skills is a bit awkward sometimes, especially if you have to find a friend or relative to play along with you as you act out a role. Try to get over that.
You don’t want your answers to sound rehearsed and stilted, but you should plan for what you are going to be asked. Have a look at these 10 killer interview questions for project managers and see what you would say in response. Think about what else they’ll be asking you, based on your experience and profile, and plan short answers to those questions too.
The more preparation you do, the easier you’ll find the interview. Even if you just practice talking your answers out loud to yourself at home, you’ll benefit from having done that prep.
- Plan Like It’s A Project
You’re a project manager, right? Or someone who wants that first project management job. So plan your interview experience like a project. Keep a task list of what needs to be done by when.
Carry out the interview, and then give yourself a little ‘post-project review’ to reflect on what went well and what didn’t go as you had hoped. Work out what you can learn from the experience so that if you aren’t successful this time you’ll be able to learn from past experience and excel next time round.
Triumph Strategic Consulting can help you find and prepare for your next project management role. Get in touch with us and let’s talk!