Overcoming self-doubt when interviewing

Overcoming self-doubt when interviewing

 5 Aug 2022


Being front and centre isn’t a comfortable place for many. But, when you’re interviewing for a new job, this is exactly where you are going to be. Throw in the inevitable nerves and you’re heading for an interview disaster. But, it is more than possible to overcome the self-doubt that impacts so negatively on interview performance. Here’s how.


Know your worth

Think objectively about your skills and experience and make a list of the positives you bring e.g. technical ability, you’re great with clients, you’re good at managing or mentoring team members etc. Focus on these rather than dwelling on the things you don’t know. It is highly unlikely that any one person will be able to tick all of the requirements on the job specification. If you can, you are probably too experienced for the role. And remind yourself that the company wouldn’t have invited you to interview in the first place if they weren’t interested in your CV.


Fake it till you make it

Confidence is a strange thing. I have known numerous people over the years who have seemed supremely confident and at ease in meetings or social gatherings only to reveal at some later stage that they are terrifically shy or unsure of their abilities. No-one would have guessed. A sports psychologist will advise their clients to imagine sweeping through the finish line or putting in a personal best. In the same vein, imagine yourself performing well at an interview. Make the scenario as detailed as possible, and play through the questions they might ask and how you respond effectively. This simple trick  can have a really positive impact on your actual performance.



The better prepared you are, the less room there is to be caught off guard, and the more comfortable you will feel at interview. Make a list of the questions you are likely to be asked and draft your responses. You probably won’t remember your planned responses in detail, which is probably a good thing as you’ll avoid sounding scripted, but you will be far less likely to freeze.

A good recruiter will also help you to interview well – letting you know what to expect, guide you through the process, offering insight into the best way to prepare, how to handle technical questions etc.


Interviews are a two way street

So many candidates forget that an interview is as much about you determining whether the role and the company are right for you as the other way around. You are so busy focussing on how nervous you are that you completely forget that you are also in the position to say “no”. I have known interviewers who are as nervous as the interviewee, especially if they are new to the interviewing process.


Worst case scenario?

Putting the worst case scenario in perspective can help to push those self-doubts into the background. So, what is the worst that can happen?

You don’t get through a technical interview? Maybe you aren’t ready for that role or it is too specialist for your skill set etc. In any event, the experience will give you pointers on what to research, not only for the next interview but to expand your experience in your current role so you improve your chances of promotion etc.

Don’t gel with the interviewers? Maybe it isn’t an environment you’ll feel comfortable in. You will probably be spending a lot of time working with the people who interview you so if you didn’t click with them, it probably wouldn’t have been a great choice for you.

Your nerves get the better of you and you don’t perform as well as you should have done? Everyone has those days. Consider how you could have responded differently, what could you have done that would have helped e.g. have cue cards which you can read over immediately before you go for the interview etc. Then, most importantly, put that negative experience behind you. If you dwell on it, you are opening the door to nagging doubts which will re-surface when you are next interviewing.

You don’t get the job? Rejection is always tough but it happens. Learn from it and move on. Each interview you do, whether the outcome is successful or not, provides more valuable experience.


Do get in touch if you’d like some interview advice or a chat about your career options. Call Cathy Buckley on 020 3303 0020 or email cathy@buckley-consulting.co.uk



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