Feeling Down? Smile, Anyway.

Confidence in Job InterviewsGood news is hard to come by these days, especially if you’re looking for work. So it was refreshing to see that IT professionals felt a bit more confident about the economy and their personal employment situations during the second quarter, according to survey by Harris Interactive and the placement firm Technisource. There’s a practical reason confidence is important: Combined with a positive attitude, it often trumps skill and experience in the eyes of employers.

If you’re feeling down about being unemployed, try these techniques to project a positive attitude during interviews.

  • Tune up: When athletes enter the arena before the start of a competition, they’re often wearing headphones. That’s because listening to music helps them control their emotions and their nerves, which in turn leads to a winning performance. If you’ve been depressed about your job search, you may unconsciously emit negative vibes or tension. So listen to upbeat or soothing music before an interview. It’s a safe way to lift your spirits and focus your thoughts, before you engage in the competition for an offer.
  • Smile: Don’t turn that door knob unless you’re smiling. It says you’re approachable, it’s contagious and even if you’re feeling down, forcing yourself to smile can raise your spirits. Everyone likes working with pleasant people, so remember to greet an interviewer, well, pleasantly.
  • Laugh: An interview isn’t always the best place to share humor, but a tasteful joke or displaying some quick wit can be an asset. The reason? Most people like working around someone who can deflect tension through humor. Think about a few funny vignettes beforehand and slip one in when you’re talking about your experience.
  • Limit negative talk: Don’t volunteer any negative tales about your previous employers or co-workers. If you’re asked to describe a failure or a time when you’ve struggled, provide a brief description, but always end on a positive note. Reinforce the good outcomes or learning moments that resulted from your experience. Putting a positive spin on your answer conveys that you’re upbeat and can overcome adversity with poise and maybe even a sense of humor.

— Leslie Stevens-Huffman

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