How to be Confident in an Interview
Written by: Elizabeth O’Donnell, Social Media Management Intern
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The most dreaded part of getting a job, internship, scholarship, whatever it may be for your situation.
You want to look confident. You don’t want to be too confident that you come off as annoying. You want to talk about yourself. You don’t want to talk about yourself so much you sound self-absorbed. However, you also don’t want to sell yourself too short. It’s a complicated back-and-forth between too much or too little. Getting to a Goldilocks point seems near impossible.
I get it. Interviews are hard. They are often the final step between you and the job. And when you are one of the many qualified people being interviewed, it is valid for you to feel a little defeated.
I remember sitting in high school, walking into a scholarship interview, and knowing immediately I would not get the scholarship for various reasons.
I had spent so long the prior night preparing. Going over practice questions with my mom, reviewing and printing my resume, picking out my interview outfit, and more in order to have a relaxing morning and feel prepared about the interview.
I woke up, ate a good breakfast, and left early for school so that I would have plenty of time to get to the school counselor’s room with the other candidates before our series of interviews started. I was the third out of six to go, one out of the three girls to get an interview.
As mentioned before, I knew I wasn’t getting the interview the minute I walked in the door. It was just something I could tell. I fought as hard as I could for it, though. I gave them my best answers and asked them questions back, but it felt like I was pulling teeth. I had to be honest with myself–– they didn’t want me–– I was being interviewed to fulfill a requirement.
This was hard for my 18-year-old self to grasp. I mean, I had a great resume. I had practiced, researched, and gone above and beyond to look like the perfect candidate for these male interviewers, only for them to brush me off like I was a box to check.
Also, I was a good interviewer, which is another reason I was so hurt about the interview. Even in high school, I was extroverted, I could carry on a conversation with a wall. I knew what I stood for, and I learned how to think well on my toes. I could be personable to the panels and, thanks to my mom’s help, was great at incorporating my experience into answers.
Needless to say, I didn’t get the scholarship. It went to the boy that interviewed after me. The boy I had been friends with since elementary school. The boy who knuckle-bumped me going into the interview as I said, “Good luck,” while walking out of the room. I was a little hurt, but I guess if anyone was to get it, I was glad it was him.
After getting notified that I was not the recipient of the scholarship, I realized that no matter how prepared or perfect I looked for their scholarship, it would have always gone to a boy, regardless of whether I was the better candidate or not.
If anything, this interview taught me to be confident in myself. Even if I felt like I wasn’t going to get the job, I would at least know I left my best self out for them to review. That’s when I decided I wouldn’t be anything less than completely real and confident in an interview.
Because if they like me enough on paper, they obviously want to get to know me personally.
So, I’m here to tell you, you don’t need to be perfect, you need to be you. If they don’t like you, too bad for them– you’ll have a better opportunity down the line. What matters is believing in yourself and knowing you are qualified for the job.
You made it to the interview. What is stopping you from making it the rest of the way? It’s probably not your lack of experience that caused you not to get the job. It’s most likely how you presented yourself. So, here are some tips I’ve utilized to ensure I would never feel as defeated as I did in the scholarship interview.
Here are my tips for being confident in interviews:
- Go over your resume so that your experience is fresh, and you can reference it in your responses.
- While we are on the topics of resumes, make sure you print out a few to bring to the interview; that way, your interviewer(s) have your experience in front of them.
- Maintain good eye contact when you are talking. If you are interviewing with more than one person, be sure to engage each person through eye contact every so often.
- Take a breath before you begin your response and speak slowly and clearly. This will ensure you do not mess up your words, and you can think about what you want to say while you say it. Check out this guide to learn more about staying calm and collected during an interview!
- Connect with the people who are interviewing you. You will seem more personable and interested in their lives, not just the money you will be getting in your paychecks from their company.
- Smile and think positively. Remember, you are there for a reason. Show them why!
With these six techniques, you will enter an interview more confident and be less anxious about the interview outcome. Rather than thinking you have to make it through the interview, try to think about the fact that you have already made it this far, and the interview is the last step to getting the job. They wouldn’t be interviewing you if they didn’t think you were good enough for the job anyway. So, what’s stopping you? Go out there and ace your interview.
Want to read more? Here are a few of my related blog posts you may be interested in checking out!