Acing an Interview with Positive Self-Talk

One of the things that people find most difficult to talk about in interviews is… themselves.

Yes, it’s harder than you might think. 

The entire reason for an interview is to see if a potential employee is a good match for a company, but also to understand a person beyond their resume. An interview gives you the chance to play up your strengths and give more meaning to a one-page summary of your career. 

Interviews are essential to the job search, but it can be difficult to brag about yourself—sometimes it’s even easiest to be modest about major accomplishments or be self-deprecating. One way to combat this is through positive self-talk.

There has been plenty of research on the benefits of positive self-talk. It’s especially useful when trying to combat pre-interview jitters, or when practicing common questions such as “tell me about a time when you succeeded at work.” If you’re kinder to yourself, you can better demonstrate your strengths to an employer.

Here are several ways to increase your positive self-talk before an interview.

As you look in the mirror, tell yourself things like:

  • “I am qualified enough to get an interview.”
  • “I look my best.”
  • “I am great at connecting with people.”
  • “I am good enough.”
  • “At the end of the day, if I don’t get the job, I am proud of myself for getting this meeting.”

Remember: the conversations that you have with yourself can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy. You wouldn’t be interviewed if you didn’t have potential and skills for a position. 

There are also many ways to reinforce your positive self-talk through healthy action:

  • Develop a personal mantra, similar to the phrases above (for example, “I am worthy of a great position. I will do my job well.”) Repeat it to yourself often!
  • Be sure to get enough sleep the night before an interview. 
  • If you’re speaking via Zoom or Skype, have a practice run and look at these tips on video interview hacks. Be sure to smile at yourself—you’re doing great! 
  • Create a “pump up” playlist, like this one on Spotify, to listen to before your interview. 
  • If you arrive to your interview early and need to kill some time, spend that time in purposeful prayer or meditation. There is a lot of power in releasing your fears or anxiety. 

(If you don’t have an interview coming up, but you know someone who’s about to have one… send them a good-luck text or offer to practice some common questions the day before. Outside reinforcement can be as helpful as a positive inner dialogue. It’s nice to know someone is in your corner!)

A positive internal dialogue can help you beyond a single interview. It transforms the way you present yourself as a job candidate, and that confidence carries into your workplace attitude. Once you understand that you’re worthy of a position, you’ll be more comfortable asking for a raise, making connections, and carrying yourself with confidence in professional settings. 

We are often our harshest critics. Instead of dwelling on things you see as negative, positive self-talk will help you play up your strengths and assets for others. Before you seal the deal with a future employer … you have to seal the deal with yourself. 

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