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5 Proven Strategies For Boosting Your Interview Confidence

Posted by: Lynn Sedgwick

Having an interview isn’t something you do every day of your life, is it? There are times during your career when you will have bursts of interview activity as you look to secure a new role as your career progresses.

For many people, it could then be several years before they experience an interview again. It’s no wonder then that for someone heading into an interview for a potentially life-changing role - this could be your first shot at a ‘Partner’ position - fear and interview nerves are a reality.

Whether it’s your heart that starts pounding, your hands that get clammy, embarrassingly getting beads of sweat on your forehead, or your breathing gets just a little quicker than usual; each can be visible to your future employer or prospective fellow partners. Not exactly the impression you want to make, is it?

At Clayton Legal, we appreciate how stressful interview situations can be. We also know that confidence is a crucial ingredient to interview success. So, here are our top five strategies for giving your interview confidence a real boost.

1. Give Your Inner Voice A Holiday

Whether we like to admit it in public or not, the fact is that we all have a voice in our head that
at times is our biggest supporter and at others will start spinning stories and runs riot.

Why does it do this? Getting technical for a moment, the brain’s job is to keep us safe by minimising any risk of danger, especially in situations where the outcome is unknown. Cue the interview.

As an interview approaches, ‘our voice’ kicks into action:
“The competition seems stiff, I’ll never make it.”
“They’ve have probably got a strong internal candidate in mind already.”
“Whenever I really want a job, I always blow the interview.”

You see the brain goes into overdrive with all kinds of stories when it doesn’t know what the outcome is. Being aware of this is the starting point. Then there are 2 things you can do.


a. Take control of the stories. Maxwell Maltz, the famous Psychiatrist who wrote Pysco-Cybernetics, describes the brain as a “Success seeking machine”. Use it to create your own success story.

b. Now I know this may sound weird and…when you notice your voice is playing the not so good story game, press your tongue to the roof of your mouth and count to 10.
Notice how it switches the voice off. This simple action cuts the circuit that the brain was running. Don’t believe me though, test it for yourself.


2. Do Your Research

As with most things in life, preparation is key, and I know you may think that, compared to some of the work you prepare for a day in court or on contracts, what I am about to say is a no brainer.

And it still makes sense to know where the interview is taking place, where to park, through to what evidence and success stories to prepare that will demonstrate your competencies.

(The last thing you want is to have been delayed because you didn’t realise that the longest city centre diversion ever had been introduced since you were last in the area!)

 

3. Bring Your Story To Life

At some point in your career, you will have been asked a common interview question such as, “Walk me through your CV”.

On the surface, it seems an easy question and most people will regurgitate their written CV verbally.
What a lost opportunity. Remember, while some practice areas such as private practice, property law and commercial litigation are suffering from a lack of candidates, there will still be competition because legal firms still want top quality talent.

To stand out from a competitive field of candidates, become good at bringing your story to life.

How?

Start by knowing your story. The roles you have had post qualifying, what made you choose your area of practice, the experiences you had and the types of clients you have worked with.

Take your CV and look at the highlights and bullet points and think in detail about what was happening at the time. Who were the clients, what was the situation, what were the projects or contracts you worked on. After all, some of these events will have taken place 4, 6 or 8+ years ago.

Be able to bring the events to life so that you fully demonstrate the results and impact they had.


4. Be Your Best Self

Being your best self means be at the top of your game on the day of the interview, which is when you are buzzing, excited, when things are just coming so easy for you. Some people describe it as “when you are in your flow”.

The question is, how do I know when I am being my best self, and what do I do to get myself there?

Let’s take the second part of the question first.

How do you get yourself to a place where you can be the best version of yourself in an interview context?

I. Create a list of all your skills, the experience that you bring with you, your strengths and talents. Have plenty of success stories as evidence to support why you are the best person for the role.

II. Be able to share all the above in your story as described in the strategy above.

III. Make sure you are not allowing any nerves to influence your confidence.


A quick exercise to tap into the feelings you have when you know you are being the best version of yourself.

Find a quiet place and sit with your eyes closed. Remember a recent time when you knew you were firing on all cylinders and smashing it. How does it feel as you remember this, and where do you notice this feeling is in your body? It could be in your stomach, chest or even in the hairs on the back of your neck! Imagine …that this place is your source of “confident energy”. When you need confidence, tap into this place in your body and feel the strength, confidence and power and the feeling will return.

Returning to part one of the original question. You will know you feel good and that you have a sense that the interview is going OK.

5. Connect with your Interviewers

Before you can impress or make an impact with a Managing or Senior Partner, or any line manager, you have to first build rapport. The fastest way to do this is through non-verbal body language; specifically your eye contact.

Many interviews will involve more than one person, which could be Head of Department, a Partner, plus an HR manager. The question becomes, who do you give the most eye contact to so that you build rapport with each interviewer?

As a general rule, you give 60% of your eye contact to the person asking the question and share the remaining 40% amongst the rest of the panel.

Building rapport is also about seeking to understand your prospective employer and demonstrating empathy. When you shift the focus of the interview onto your potential employer's needs, you’re not only showing genuine interest; you will also inspire your audience to have confidence in you as a future member of their practice team.

Thanks

Lynn

 

About Clayton Legal

Clayton Legal has been partnering with law firms across the country since 1999 and during that time has built up an enviable reputation for trust and reliability. We have made over 5,000 placements from partners to legal executives, solicitors to paralegals and legal IT personnel to practice managers.

If you are building your legal team or looking for your next career move, we can help. Call us on 01772 259 121 or email us here.

If you would like to know more about recruiting trends in the legal sector this year download our latest guide here.

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