We all know we should exhibit confidence in job interviews, even when we’re not feeling confident. After all, it may mean the difference between getting hired or not
How do you act confident, however, when you’re just not feeling it?
I was an actor and teacher of theatre. So I explored a number of techniques that enabled me to portray emotions I wasn’t feeling. Of all of them, perhaps the most applicable to the job interview scenario is a technique called “the method.” Method acting requires a great deal of concentration and preparation. In the end, however, the effort creates true feelings. And feeling confident makes acting confident easy.
Let’s look at three approaches to method acting to boost your job interview confidence and win the job you deserve.
Affective memory, or sense memory, is a technique used by method actors to recreate emotional experiences from their own past. It can be dangerous, especially if the actor seeks sad memories. For job interview confidence, however, there’s no need to worry. Confidence makes us feel good.
Before the interview, sit quietly and close your eyes. Think about a time in your life when you had confidence and succeeded. Maybe you aced an important test, or you helped win the big game. Whatever the experience, remember what it felt like – both the confidence beforehand and the eventual success. Now put yourself in the moment by remembering the details. If it was a test, for example, think about what the pencil felt like, how the paper smelled. Remember the color of the ink on the paper and the shape of the big red A.
Do this several times until you can put yourself in that moment easily. Then, as you reach for the door to the interview room, take a deep breath. Summon the memory. Then take that memory, and that confidence, into the room with you.
Another technique used by method actors involves substitution. In this case, the actor substitutes details from the scene, with elements from a similar, personal experience. This can be tricky because it relies on the strength of your imagination. In the end, however, it can really boost your confidence levels.
Again, the experience of the confident test-taker works. In the room, take a moment to quickly substitute the details in your mind. Change the room to that long-ago classroom. The interviewer becomes the professor. Your resume becomes the test paper you handed in. Think about answering those easy exam questions as you answer the questions put to you. Just remember not to say, “Thank you, Professor,” when the interview is over.
We’ve all heard of visualization techniques. “As Ifs” simply internalize the same concept. Method actors employ this technique to imagine their emotions “as if” the scene existed. Visualization alone can help instill confidence. Add to that the imagined emotional response and the experience becomes more real.
As you prepare for the interview, don’t just practice answering the questions. Practice the emotions involved as well. Answer the questions with confidence. Then, actually practice accepting the job offer complete with the feelings you expect to have. Feel the elation of knowing you got the job. Even practice telling your parents you got it, and remember to feel the accompanying sense of pride.
Your Job Interview Confidence
When it comes right down to it, nothing breeds confidence like solid preparation. Practice answers, research, and careful planning remain your best bets. Sometimes, however, even the most well-prepared need a little kick. Boost your job interview confidence into overdrive by borrowing a few techniques from method acting.
In this case, if you fake it, you have a better chance to create it.
About the Author: Ron Damon is a writer, editor, actor, poet, and social media enthusiast. A former teacher of English and Theater, Ron now concentrates on writing and editing full time. He is not the least bit embarrassed about being a cliché.