Career Cheat Code #2: Passing the Boss Level

Check out the next post in Ellen’s “Career Cheat Code” series:


Once your resume makes it past the scanners, you enter the boss level arena. Here, to win the round and unlock the job offer, arm yourself with the most powerful weapon in your arsenal, confidence.

Confidence is key in the interviewing process. Why? Because the boss is looking at more than your qualifications and GPA – he/she is evaluating your professionalism.  Part of being a professional is exuding confidence in your ability to do the job. You need to be confident and comfortable in the work environment.

How can you be confident during a job interview? Here are five things that will help:

1) Dress to impress. The cardinal rule here is to wear a suit. Even if the daily dress code is business casual, wear a suit. By doing so, you show your interviewers that you are professional and take this seriously.

2) Shake hands firmly, make eye-contact, and say, “Nice to meet you,” when you are introduced to someone, whether it’s your initial introduction to the interviewers or others you meet in the environment (sometimes they will walk you around the office to meet your potential co-workers). This is a sign of respect and shows that you are friendly and not intimidated by meeting new people.

3) During the interview, speak clearly, directly, and confidently. Nothing says you’re unsure of yourself like a meek, soft voice or an incoherent mumble. You should use the same volume level and clarity that you would use when speaking with someone you know and are comfortable around.

4) Think of the interviewers as ordinary people, not super-human life forms wielding the power to arbitrarily determine your fate. When I was interviewing for my first job out of law school, I thought of the interviewers as people like my dad (also an attorney) or one of his friends. Yes, they have more experience than you, but they are also human. They were once in your position, and they remember how it feels to be in your shoes. They may even have kids your age who are going through the same thing you are! Bottom line, there is no reason to be afraid.

5) Remember that you are there for a reason – they were impressed with your resume. You are walking into this situation already “ahead.” They are looking for reasons to hire you, so approach the opportunity feeling good about yourself.

Above all, confidence requires you to believe in yourself. When you feel the butterflies or the nausea or whatever other horrible things your body does to you when you’re freaked out, take a deep breath and focus on the fact that you are the best person for this job. You got this.


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