SUCCESS at interviews is often about demonstrating a high level of confidence.

But how do you build confidence so you will not be rattled by the most unexpected or awkward question posed by the interviewer?

Demonstrating confidence is very much about emotional and social intelligence combined with your charisma.

Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is made up of four skills. They are:

• Self-awareness — this is your ability to accurately perceive your emotions as well as know your strengths and weaknesses and how they affect your thoughts and behaviour.

• Self-management — this is your ability to use awareness of your emotions to stay flexible, and positively direct your behaviour and adapt to changing circumstances.

• Social awareness — this is your ability to accurately pick up on emotions, needs and concerns of other people; pick up on emotional cues and feel comfortable socially.

Relationship management — this is your ability to use awareness of your emotions and the emotions of others to manage interactions successfully.

Social intelligence

Social intelligence is the ability to get along well with others, and to get them to cooperate with you.

In short, social intelligence enables us to create social compatibility and connectivity with others.

According to Prof Ronald Riggio, a professor of leadership and organisational psychology at ClaremontMcKennaCollege, charisma has three ingredients. They are:

• Expressiveness — this is a talent for spontaneously striking up conversations and easily conveying feelings.

• Control — this is the ability to fine-tune your persona to fit the mood and social makeup of others.

• Sensitivity — this is a gift for listening attentively and sizing up other people’s mindsets.

Your communication style

Confidence is therefore very much about your communication style, which involves the pitch and tone of your voice, and your choice of words to effectively deliver your message.

Your communication style also includes your listening skills or how you acknowledge and demonstrate you are actively absorbing what is being communicated.

Being aware of your body language and the signals you are sending is as important as your ability to “read and understand” the interviewer.

It requires much experience and practice to develop excellent communication skills. It is therefore important to be engaged and participative throughout your life.

The more you concentrate on building your confidence, the more access you have to confidence when you are challenged.

Therefore, rehearsing the answers to the most unexpected questions at interviews is an important part of your foundation and strategy in building confidence to succeed at interviews.

Remember that whatever you focus your attention on grows and develops.

When you focus on what you are good at, what is valuable about yourself and where you have succeeded, you will generate good feelings and these will expand to build your reservoir of confidence.

Your preparation for interviews should include knowing your strengths thoroughly as well as how they can be applied to different situations and circumstances.

You also need to know what people value about you. Be able to talk about these qualities in a modest and frank manner without being boastful or arrogant.

Have a keen understanding of what you are naturally good at and how it can benefit the potential employer as well as make you a candidate of choice for the job.

Always remember that people “buy” things they need.

The interviewer will only shortlist or select you if he is convinced that you will fulfil the needs of the organisation and the job. Confidence is usually high on their needs list.

Building a wide and deep reservoir of confidence to succeed at an interview needs preparation, planning and practice.

It is hard work! Interviewers are always looking for the best of the best.

If you have not been successful so far in an interview for your dream job, it is time you took a hard look at the elements that contribute to demonstrating your confidence that you are the candidate of choice.

Article by Kamal Kant, a part-time lecturer in Careers, Employment Relations and Management at NanyangTechnologicalUniversity and SIM Global Education. He conducts career workshops and career coaching in his spare time.