When you’ve lost your job or are deathly afraid that you’re next in line to be downsized, it’s easy to lose your self-confidence. It’s understandable to question yourself. “Did I do something wrong? I’m one of the hardest workers at the office. Why was it me?” Even if you intellectually acknowledge that you were part of a large-scale layoff, you still feel awful.
It’s hard to shake it off. You avoid friends, family and former co-workers, as you don’t want to talk about the job loss. The well-meaning sentiments saying that they’re “sorry” kind of make you feel worse.
This feeling follows you around and into the interview process. You’re a little off your game. You don’t speak with the same authority you used to have. There’s a sense of foreboding and dread—waiting for the moment when they ask about the reasons surrounding your downsizing. You start to stumble, get a little agitated and come across somewhat defensive. After the interview is over, you know you didn’t do your best and now feel even worse.
It’s not your fault. Over 53 million Americans are out of work and many more millions are worried about losing their jobs. This is a common occurrence. Even in the best of job markets, people lose their jobs.
You may think that it’s just you because most people generally don’t talk about the bad things that happen to them. When asked how you are doing, most people respond, “I’m doing great!” Since you believe them, you wonder why everyone is doing well and you’re not, which chips away at your self-worth.
Here’s what you can do to rebuild and elevate your confidence.
Knowledge Is Power
Learn everything you can about the company and the people you’re interviewing with before the meeting. You want to know what the company does, its products and services, how the company compares to its competitors, recent news updates, stock price, employee turnover, management team and reputation.
Look up the interviewers and their managers on LinkedIn and other social media platforms. Find out if you know people in common, if you went to the same schools, they live close by to where you reside, the sports teams they root for, the backgrounds of people they’ve recently hired and other relevant data points that can come in handy during the interview.
As you accumulate all of this intelligence, it will infuse you with confidence. You’ll probably know more about the company than some of the interviewers and believe that you already have a good feel for the people you’re interviewing with. This increased knowledge will make you feel smarter, ready to go and more confident.
Spend A Lot Of Time Preparing For The Interview
Nothing helps build confidence more than having faith in your experience, skills, background and talents. Take the time to thoroughly review the job description and learn as much as possible about the role. Then, think of how your skills relate to the demands of the role. Write down all of the positive attributes and experiences you possess that are highly relevant for the job.
Prepare an elevator pitch, in which you can sell yourself. Practice the pitch over and over again. Rehearse it out loud, as it always sounds better in your head compared to when you first tell it to someone else.
Think of all the types of questions that they may ask you and craft your answers. Practice them as well. You don’t have to memorize it, as it could come across too robotic. It’s preferable for some of your answers to be a little raw, as it shows that you’re speaking directly from the heart.
All of this preparation and practice will elevate your confidence. You’ll go in excited, as you can’t wait to share all of the great and valid reasons as to why you’re the best fit for the role.
Turn Your Negative Thoughts Into Positive Beliefs
Many people go into interviews thinking that the odds are stacked against them—given what’s going on. With that attitude, you will lose the battle before it’s even begun. Put aside all of the negative thoughts racing around through your mind. Replace them with positive affirmations. “I will get this job. I am uniquely qualified for the role. I can offer value and make your company a better place.” Fill in your own mantras. Keep repeating them to yourself. They will soon replace all of the negative thoughts.
One of the secrets of hiring managers is that they simply want people who can come into work and get things done without being difficult. It’s enlightened self-interest, as this type of job seeker makes the boss’ life easier. If the employees are doing well, it’s a positive reflection on the manager. When the hiring manager senses your knowledge, enthusiasm, motivation, drive and confidence, they’ll believe that you can and will get the job done and be interested in hiring you.