How to Be Confident in a Job Interview

Illustration of a man confidently talking about his achievements in a job interview with a male hiring manager

You’ve just been invited to an interview for the role of a lifetime – hooray! Before you know it, though, the jitters start to kick in and you’re a nervous wreck – going for an interview can be terrifying, indeed, especially if you’re lacking confidence and feeling unsure of yourself.

So, eager to know how to be confident in a job interview? Determined to wash away all the fears and anxiety before the big day? Worry no more, because we’ve listed 10 useful tips to help you boost your confidence, give off a great impression and, hopefully, land the job of your dreams.

1. Be kind to yourself

Confidence comes from within. If you’re beating yourself up over ‘how incapable you are’ or how much you ‘don’t stand a chance’ in getting the job, your self-confidence will naturally be on a low during the interview.

Speak to yourself kindly and remind yourself how much you’re worth it and why you deserve the role. Self-confidence starts by eliminating self-doubt, removing negative self-talk and replacing it with positive affirmations.

In her TED Talk, social psychologist Amy Cuddy reinforces ‘power posing’ – body language that involves standing in a posture of confidence, even when you don’t feel confident, as this can make you feel more self-assured and can also influence how others see you.

When you believe in yourself during an interview, chances are the hiring manager will also have faith in your position for the role.

2. Imagine success

One way of gaining confidence in the interview is to visualise success beforehand. You can calm interview nerves by having a positive outlook and imagining a scenario where things run perfectly.

Jay Scott, the HR lead at Pugsquest, advises candidates to ‘picture themselves working in that hiring company’. They need to ‘get out of their head and thoughts of the interview process for a moment and instead imagine how it would be like actually to have the job’.

‘This visualizing [sic] should help them get more morale and drive to give their best in the interview in order to get the job,’ Scott adds. ‘This morale boost automatically raises confidence levels.’

3. Practise calmness

If you lack confidence during an interview, it probably boils down to anxiety. Being stressed and anxious for the big day is certainly understandable; however, there are ways to keep calm and in turn increase confidence.

Practise calmness by exercising, meditating or listening to uplifting music before the interview, as this will not only calm you but also help you feel more positive and motivated, too. You can also implement breathing techniques prior to the interview. Breathing exercises, according to Healthline, aim to control ‘the fight-or-flight response’ and influence ‘our body’s ability to relax and calm down’.

By practising calmness, you can walk into the interview cool, composed and ready to conquer.

4. Focus on the present

When you feel anxious, it’s usually because you’re focusing on what might go wrong in a particular situation. Feeling this way during an interview can easily stump your confidence, so try to switch your focus around by concentrating on the present moment. Stop thinking about ‘failing the interview’ or ‘sounding stupid’. Instead, relax, block out any negative thoughts and listen to the interviewer carefully (don’t lose your own train of thought).

Some tricks to help focus and engage in the present moment include practising your breathing and paying attention to your body sensations. Concentrate on what you’re trying to accomplish, and your nervousness will probably taper off.

5. Be prepared

Interview preparation is key for boosting confidence as it takes the pressure off and gives you a sense of control. You’re less likely to be lost for words, fidgety or jittery when you’re well equipped and versed for your interview.

Have your portfolio ready, learn your CV inside and out, and prepare answers to any common questions that may arise. This way, you’ll feel confident that you know your stuff and are ready to tackle anything in the interview. A great tip to increase confidence for your interview is to rehearse it beforehand with a friend or even in the mirror – this can help you feel ready to take on the real thing.

6. Dress confidently

Writing for HuffPost, Women’s Wellness Weekends founder Jill L Ferguson says that ‘your style and the clothes you choose reflect and affect your mood, health and overall confidence’.

When you’re attending an interview, choose an outfit that oozes confidence. Make sure it’s comfortable (not awkward or out of your comfort zone), stylish and professionally suited for the role. Not only will your attire impress the hiring panel, but when you’re confident in what you ‘re wearing, you can easily transmit this aura of self-assurance in your overall attitude during the interview.

7. Connect with the interviewer

When you’re not feeling your best, it’s easy to come off sluggish, too shy or miserable to hiring managers. The importance of success in any interview is to connect with the panel and give off a confident impression. In the words of Mark Condon, CEO and founder of Shotkit: ‘Fake it till you make it’. Even if you’re an introvert or feeling anxious during your interview, at least pretend to be confident.

Maintain eye contact, give a comfortably firm handshake and communicate effectively. Connect with the interviewer by being active in the interview – ask questions and show interest about the position and company, and give full honest answers when being quizzed.

8. Communicate effectively

When you lack confidence, it shows in your communication – you might sound shaky, speak fast or jumble up your words. But once you’ve mastered your positive thinking and breathing, you will be able to communicate effectively to hiring managers. Speak passionately and professionally, communicate slowly, and be relaxed.

‘The best way to appear confident and compose yourself at the same time is to take 2–3 seconds after every question,’ says Condon. ‘Nervous people always rush their answers, and this is obvious to the interviewer, as well as the double whammy of your response being below par as you probably haven’t thought it through properly.’

9. Accept mishaps

There is no such thing as the ‘perfect interview’. Even the best probably stumble a few times. You can decrease your anxiety and maintain your confidence by accepting that there may be a few mishaps – and that’s totally okay. If you mix up your words, pause, take a deep breath and carry on.

If you don’t have an answer for a particular question, Cindy Deuser, the HR manager at Thrive Agency says: ‘Don’t be afraid not to know something. Nobody knows everything. You have to have some skill or potential that applies to the job you’re after, of course, but don’t be afraid to say these magic words: “I’m afraid I don’t know that yet”. When you don’t know something, be confident about it. “That’s sounds interesting, I’d love to learn all about it.”

10. Be yourself

Managers like to interview someone who has character, so don’t be afraid to let your personality shine. The hiring panel isn’t going to like someone who is false or forcing the discussion – and you aren’t going to be 100% comfortable or confident if you’re not being yourself.

‘Be yourself during your interviews,’ says Deuser. ‘It is important to own your space and project your personality… If something is funny, laugh. You’re not being miserably grilled; you’re having a conversation to see if both of you are comfortable with each other.’ Have a friendly discussion, make small talk and smile – this a sure way to impress the hiring manager and, hopefully, land the job of your dreams.

Going for an interview is no easy walk in the park, we know. But there are indeed ways to transform your confidence and make a good first impression. After all, the hiring company chose you – they showed interest in your CV and decided you were deserving of an interview. Just remember that (and all the above, of course) when you next feel insecure for your job interview.

How do you boost your confidence for a job interview? Got any tips and tricks you’d like to share? Join the conversation below and let us know!