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How to Feel Confident in a Job Interview in 2020

Check out these tips to help you feel confident in a job interview so you can secure your dream career!

There are many online resources that teach you how to appear confident in a job interview, but I want to help you actually feel confident.

True confidence radiates from within. If you go into your next interview feeling sure of yourself, you’ll be glowing. Trust me.

Funny story. I planned to write this post before the pandemic happened. It’s crazy how much the job search and interview processes have changed along with world events.

Since in-person interviews won’t occur as frequently anymore, I’m going to share tips that apply to phone interviews and video calls. I recently restarted my job search, and I’ve completed several remote interviews since then.

Interviews used to make me incredibly nervous. I used to shake with apprehension before walking into interviews for internships.

These days, interviews don’t bother me as much. I’ve learned that the key to feeling confident in a job interview is to prepare for it in advance.

Here’s a big list of ways you can prepare for your next interview:

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1. Practice for the interview.

I put this tip first because it’s the most important, in my opinion. 

If you think you can just go into an interview and wing it, you have the wrong mentality unless you’re one of those super smooth people who has a good answer for every question on Earth. (I’m not one of those people.)

In most of my past interviews, my nervousness was caused by lack of preparation. Practicing beforehand is a helpful way to make yourself feel more prepared, and as a result, you won’t feel as anxious.

I like to research common interview questions online and think about how I’ll answer them. In the early stages of the hiring process, most of the questions you get will probably be general. I’ve never been asked anything crazy in an initial phone screening.

So, as long as you practice and prepare answers to common questions in advance, you’ll be ready to take on the first interview you get.

2. Spend at least an hour researching the company beforehand.

This tip is also extremely important. If the interviewer thinks you don’t know anything about the company you’re trying to work for, your chances of getting the job will be slim.

My research strategy involves spending at least an hour researching the company I’m about to interview with. Then, I type out responses to questions like:

  • What do you know about x/y company?
  • Why do you want to work for x/y company?

Those two questions give you a chance to show that you did your research on the organization before the interview.

If you can demonstrate your knowledge about the organization, you’ll show that you’re proactive and you’ll make a good first impression!

3. Realize that you’re interviewing them as much as they’re interviewing you.

If you view interviews as one-way interrogations, you should change the way you think about them.

If you’re interviewing with a company, you either want or need a new job. But don’t let that overshadow the fact that interviews are two-way conversations. 

Even if you want the job badly, remember that the company has to impress you as well. The interviewer doesn’t know whether you’re interviewing with other organizations or not.

Sometimes, I’ve had HR managers ask me if I was interviewing with other companies, and if so, which ones. (If you get that question, you are not obligated to answer it!)

But my point is that interviewers ask you questions like that to scope out the competition. If you view an interview as a two-way conversation instead of a cross-examination, you’ll feel more confident going into it.

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4. Know that you wouldn’t have gotten the interview if you weren’t qualified for the job.

Here’s the thing. HR managers or other interviewers are not going to waste their time talking to people who aren’t qualified for the job they’re hiring for.

Therefore, if they offer you an interview, they believe you’re qualified for the position. Your resume, cover letter, and other application materials impressed them enough to offer you an interview.

HR managers won’t usually tell you how many people they’re talking to at any given stage of the hiring process, but the fact that you got an interview speaks for itself.

Make sure you go into the interview knowing that you’re qualified and capable of getting the job. With that mindset, you’ll exude confidence!

5. Maintain a positive mindset throughout the whole process.

I’m a firm believer in the law of attraction. Thoughts become things. When you think positive thoughts, you’ll attract opportunities into your life.

But even if you’re skeptical of the law of attraction, you can’t deny that you’ll feel more confident if you maintain a positive attitude when you go into an interview.

Think happy thoughts. Believe in yourself. Be friendly! Interviewers love people with go-getter attitudes. Show that you’re excited about the job and willing to go the extra mile!

6. Wear “interview appropriate” attire that you’re comfortable in.

There are best practices for interview attire you should follow if you want to maintain a professional appearance.

But in my opinion, people get too tripped up about what to wear for a job interview, and they don’t spend enough time actually preparing.

It’s important to be dressed appropriately for an interview, but it’s not the end-all-be-all strategy for success. What you say is far more important than what you’re wearing!

So, don’t stress! Wear something that makes you feel good. You’ll be more relaxed and comfortable if you do.

7. Listen carefully to everything the interviewer says.

Make sure you listen to the full question before you start answering it. It’s okay to take a short pause to think before you start answering a question.

Listening is one of the most important skills for effective communication. You can’t answer a question accurately if you don’t know exactly what the interviewer asked.

There have been times when I’ve gone into interviews feeling really anxious, and my crazy nervous thoughts drowned out everything the interviewer was asking! Don’t let that happen to you.

Just be calm, take the opportunity to listen, and really think about your answer before you start talking.

8. Take your time to answer questions.

Interviewers will often ask open-ended questions because they want you to take the lead and provide detailed answers. You can’t just say “yes” or “no” without elaborating on your answer!

According to LinkedIn, most of your interview answers should be one to two minutes long.

Of course, the exception is if the interviewer asks you something like, “Where did you go to college?” That question is asking for a short and specific answer.

But if the interviewer asks you something like, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” You should take your time to answer the question and elaborate. Don’t waste any opportunities to show the interviewer who you are!

9. Show your personality!

It’s important to keep your responses appropriate, but you also don’t want to seem robotic. Show the good sides of your personality in the interview!

Companies are interested in hiring candidates who work well with others. In every interview you complete, try to come across as positive, friendly, and excited about the position.

Some of the small organizations I’ve worked for have had family-like connections among employees. If you’re interviewing with a company that has a tight-knit team, they will want to hire someone who is a good fit for their company culture.

Showing your personality is often a crucial part of the interview process. So, don’t be afraid to let yourself shine!

10. Just breathe.

Above all, try to relax. Remember that, no matter what happens, there will always be more opportunities available. 

If you don’t get the job, that means it wasn’t the right fit for you at this particular stage in your career. As long as you stay positive and keep applying for jobs, you’ll find a position that is a better fit for your skills and interests.

So, take a deep breath. This isn’t life or death. It’s just an interview!

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Know other ways to feel confident in a job interview? Share your tips in the comments below!

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