Silence your inner critic during an interview

Silence your inner critic during an interview

Silence your inner critic during an interview
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Answer these questions. Listen to Penelope’s answers and report back what she said.


Well, to be honest, I used to get really nervous about job interviews. I remember always worrying about saying the wrong thing or not knowing an answer. But over time, as I’ve been on both sides of the interview table, it’s gotten a lot better. Now, I see interviews more like a conversation where both sides are just trying to learn about each other. It’s about finding out if we’re a good match. I still get a bit of those butterflies in my stomach, but I remind myself that it’s just a part of the process and it’s okay.

How would you rate your self-confidence on a scale from 1 to 10?

“I think I’d rate my self-confidence at around a 7 out of 10. I’ve come a long way from where I started. In my first interviews, I might have been at a 3 or 4, feeling really unsure of myself. But with more experience in the HR field and after going through several interviews myself, I’ve gained more confidence. I’ve learned a lot about what to expect and how to prepare, which really helps. Of course, there’s always room to grow and improve, but I’m definitely more confident now than I used to be.”

What are some of the ways we could improve our self-confidence in general?

One way to boost self-confidence is to practice your skills. Like in my job, the more I work on recruitment and interview others, the better I get at it. This makes me feel more confident. Also, learning from past experiences is super helpful. Whenever something doesn’t go as planned, I try to see it as a chance to learn and grow, rather than a failure.

Another thing is to set small, achievable goals. When you reach these goals, it gives you a sense of accomplishment and boosts your confidence. And don’t forget to celebrate these little wins!

It’s also important to surround yourself with supportive people who encourage you. Having friends or colleagues who believe in you can really lift your spirits.

Lastly, taking care of yourself is key. This means getting enough rest, eating well, and doing things that make you happy. When you feel good physically and mentally, it naturally boosts your confidence.”



Listen to the recording of the article from Harvard Business Review. What is the main idea presented in it?

Alita is listening to a podcast and making notes



Read the article. Note the new words and expressions.

Silence Your Inner Critic Before Your Next Job Interview

Job interviews can make even the most confident person 1. question themselves. But it’s important to 2. quash those negative thoughts so that you can allow your best self to shine. First, remember that the interview isn’t about proving your technical expertise or subject-matter mastery. You already demonstrated that in your application, and the interviewers want to know what it will be like to work with you. So let go of needing the interview to be technically perfect. As with every skill, the more you do it, the better you’ll be, so practice, practice, and practice some more. As your 3. aptitude improves, so will your confidence level. Manage your anxiety by focusing on the elements you can control. For example, if you’re worried about arriving on time, try taking multiple routes to your destination before the day of the interview to see which one gets you there fastest. Above all, put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. 4. Articulate the team’s needs as you understand them, and tell a story of how you’ve solved similar problems. Following these tips will help you 5. overcome your nerves and 6. place yourself head and shoulders above the competition.

This tip is adapted from Don’t Let Impostor Syndrome Derail Your Next Interview,” by Susan Peppercorn

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Answer these questions refering to the article and using your own experience.

  • What can dim your performance at a job interview?
  • What is the purpose of an interview?
  • Does your performance need to be technically perfect?
  • What can you do to feel less apprehensive?
  • How can you put yourself in your prospective manager’s shoes?
  • What will heeding the advice from this lesson help you with?


Read a dialogue from a job interview. Penelope is talking to a young man, George, who is applying for a position of a junior underwriter.

Role play this dialogue.

Penelope: Good morning, George! Thank you for coming in today. How are you feeling?

George: Morning, Penelope. I’m, uh, a bit nervous, but I’m okay, thanks.

Penelope: It’s perfectly normal to feel a bit nervous. I remember feeling the same in my first interviews. Let’s start with something easy. Can you tell me a bit about yourself?

George: Sure. I recently graduated with a degree in finance. I’ve always been interested in the insurance sector, especially underwriting. I did an internship last summer where I got some hands-on experience.

Penelope: That’s great to hear! Your internship experience will definitely be valuable. What did you enjoy most about it?

George: I really liked analyzing the risk factors and working on the reports. It was challenging, but I learned a lot.

Penelope: That’s a key part of being an underwriter. Now, about the position, it involves a fair bit of teamwork. How do you feel about working in a team?

George: I’m a bit shy at first, but once I get to know the team, I open up. I believe in the importance of teamwork for successful projects.

Penelope: That’s a good approach. And don’t worry, we all start somewhere with shyness. What do you think is an area you’d like to improve in professionally?

George: I think I need to work on my self-confidence, especially in meetings and presentations.

Penelope: That’s a common area many of us work on. Remember, everyone starts somewhere, and with practice, you’ll improve. George, from this conversation, I can see you’re a promising candidate. Keep working on that self-confidence; it will come with time and experience.

George: Thank you, Penelope. That means a lot. I’m really excited about the opportunity to grow and contribute to the team.

Penelope: We’re excited too. We’ll be in touch soon with our decision. Have a great day, George!

George: Thank you! Have a great day as well, Penelope.


Read this dialogue between colleagues at work. They are discussing how they managed to work on their initial shyness. 

Who’s strategy do you like the most?

Alita: Hey, Kat, Sven, I was just thinking about how far we’ve all come since we started here. We were all pretty shy back then, right?

Kat: Definitely! I remember barely being able to speak up in meetings. It took me a while to find my voice.

Sven: Yeah, I was the same. I always worried about saying something wrong.

Alita: So, what helped you, Kat? You seem so confident now.

Kat: Honestly, it was all about preparation for me. I started preparing my points for meetings in advance. Knowing what I wanted to say helped me feel more confident about speaking up.

Sven: That’s a good strategy. For me, it was more about self-acceptance. I realized it’s okay to be a bit introverted and that my ideas were still valuable. That mindset shift helped me a lot.

Alita: I think for me, it was seeing others who were also shy but managed to speak up. It made me feel like I wasn’t alone, and if they could do it, so could I. Plus, I started small, just adding a comment here and there, and it gradually got easier.

Kat: It’s interesting how we all had different approaches. But look at us now, contributing in meetings and even leading some!

Sven: True. It’s all about finding what works for you and pushing through that initial discomfort.

Alita: Absolutely. And helping each other along the way made a big difference too.

Kat: Definitely. Having supportive colleagues like you two made a world of difference.

Sven: Agreed. It’s all about growth, and we’ve all grown a lot.

Alita: Here’s to overcoming shyness and silencing our inner critics!

Kat and Sven: Cheers to that!



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Beating Your Inner Critic and Building Self-Confidence

Do you often 1) yourself doubting your abilities? You're not alone. Many of us struggle 2) an inner critic that can make us feel less confident. But don't worry, there are ways to overcome this and 3) your self-confidence.

First, remember that practice makes 4) . The more you do something, the better you get at it. This is true for 5) interviews, public speaking, or any new skill. Practice helps you improve and builds your confidence.

Second, 6) from your experiences. If something doesn't go as planned, don't 7) it as a failure. Instead, see it as a learning opportunity. This can help you do better next time.

Setting small, achievable goals is another great 8) to boost confidence. When you reach these goals, you feel a sense of achievement. This can make you feel 9) confident about taking on bigger challenges.

It's also important to surround yourself with supportive 10) . Friends or colleagues who believe 11) you can really help improve your self-esteem.

Lastly, take 12) of yourself. Eat well, get enough sleep, and do things that make you 13) . When you feel good physically and mentally, it's easier to feel confident.

Remember, everyone has 14) of doubt. But with practice, learning, and support, you can overcome your inner critic and become more 15) . Keep opening these doors to growth and self-improvement!


Play this Multidecker game  about interview questions. 

Prepare answers to some of these questions.