Interviews are nerve-wracking for almost everyone, but women face a specific group of setbacks when it comes to professional development. It is well known that women face discrimination in the workplace, but it really starts before they even set foot in it. For example, a study done at the University of Pompeu Fabra revealed that “women on an average are 30 percent less likely to be called in for a job interview than men”. With that kind of statistic, it is easy to understand why women often feel undervalued and unworthy, especially in regards to job interviews.
I personally know that before I ever interview for something, all kinds of negative thoughts and self-doubt come out of the woodwork. Things I didn’t even realize I thought about myself. Here are some tips that I use regularly before interviews. I guarantee you that they will help you ditch that negative self-talk and nail your next interview, like a woman.
1. Relax Before The Interview
Interviewing for a job can be stressful and anxiety-inducing. And although it’s important to prepare beforehand, it is also equally as important to relax and let your mind and body rest. Try listening to some soothing music the day of, or diffuse your favorite essential oil. Maybe even try a few minutes of deep mindful breathing. All of these tools can help lower anxiety and help you feel balanced and ready to crush your interview.
2. Practice Taking Up Physical Space
This might sound funny, but before I head into an interview, I practice taking up physical space. This means I stand up tall, plant my feet firmly on the ground, puff out my chest, and move my arms in a circular motion around above me. Women are taught from such a young age to take up as little space as possible. However, during an interview, it is really important to have a large confident presence. This exercise, however silly it may feel, helps you break out of the “I shouldn’t take up space” mentality that so many of us tend to feel, which can help you come off as confident and powerful.
3. Brag About Yourself
If there ever is a time where it’s okay to brag about yourself, it’s in a job interview. I have found that women have a much harder time bragging or talking about themselves than men do. But the truth is, managers want to hear about you and your accomplishments! So try not to downplay your skills and capabilities. Talk in-depth about that time you were promoted or when you took on that difficult project, and don’t sell yourself short.
4. Focus On Body Language
Similar to the tip on taking up physical space before an interview, take up space in the interview itself! Be sure to make direct eye contact with the manager, give them a firm handshake, and sit up straight and proud. Try not to give off body language that makes you look small, including hunching over and hanging your head. Remember you are powerful and capable! Use your body language to show this to the person interviewing you.
5. Don’t Forget To Ask Questions
Once the interview is over try not to run out of the room as quickly as possible. Asking clarifying questions is a great way to show that you are engaged and to make sure that the job is the right one for you. One of my favorite questions to ask is “Why do you like working at this company?”. This can help you get a feel for the company culture and your potential new manager. Logistical questions are important to ask as well. Never leave without getting information on salary, benefits, and a timeline for hearing back. Treat this part of the interview as if the roles are reversed and you are interviewing them!
Above all else don’t forget that you are incredible! You have put in the hard work of applying for a job and are at the final step of the process. Be proud of all that you have accomplished! And never forget that just because you are a woman doesn’t mean that you are less qualified.