How to be confident in job interviews

I’ve been spending a lot of time looking for internships for this summer and over spring break I had my first interview for an internship. I was really nervous, but I think because I implemented these tips, I was able to feel confident and really rock the interview. I hope when you have a job or internship interview, you’ll be able to use these tips to summon your inner confidence and have an amazing interview.

Job interviews are tough, but they're tougher when you're unprepared. Check out these tips and learn how to exude confidence in your next interview.

Do your research

This is the most important part of feeling confident in job interviews. Take an hour or two a couple of days before your interview, sit down at your computer, and learn everything you can about the company you’re interviewing with. Take lots of notes on the company’s mission and on recent projects or initiatives they’ve been involved with. In the days leading up to your interview, devote some time to studying your notes each day. You should be able to easily explain what the company does, what their values are, and be able to give a few examples of things the company has done.

You don’t want to seem like you have no idea what the company does. Not only will that hurt your chances at getting the job by making you seem uninterested and unprepared, but it will also make you feel super nervous while answering the interviewer’s questions. Doing your research extensively will give you an edge on the competition and will put you in a great mindset going into the interview.

Pick out your outfit early

If your interview is in person or over Skype, definitely wear your nice “interview clothes.” Be sure to check for stains, rips, loose threads, and wrinkles; you really want to put your best foot forward and if you look like you care about your appearance, employers will assume you care about other aspects of your life as well. Oscar Wilde said, “You can never be overdressed or overeducated,” and this certainly applies to job interviews. Even if you know the company is casual and you see employees wearing jeans, you should still dress up for your interview. It makes you look professional and like you take the position and the company seriously, which will reflect favorably on you and make you feel better about the interview.

However, you also don’t want to go into an interview feeling self-conscious. If you can’t walk in heels, wear flats. If you absolutely hate dresses, wear slacks. There are plenty of ways to be dressed professionally without wearing clothing that makes you feel uncomfortable.

If your interview is over the phone rather than in person, you have quite a bit more leeway in terms of how you can dress. For a phone interview, I recommend dressing however you feel most comfortable. Whether you want to “dress for success” in traditional interview clothes or stay comfy in your pajamas, wear what you feel good in and your confidence will come across in your interview.

Practice answering common questions

There are tons of resources you can find online that go over common interview questions and effective ways to answer them. A few days before your interview, write out outlines for your answers to some of the most common questions asked during job interviews and practice saying your answers out loud. The following are examples of common interview questions:

  • Can you tell me a little bit about yourself?
  • Why do you feel like you’d be a good fit for our organization?
  • What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
  • Can you tell me about a time when you encountered conflict in your previous experience and how you dealt with that?
  • Can you tell me about a time you had to exercise leadership in your previous experience?
  • What do you hope to gain from this experience with our company?

You might have to work a bit to make your answers sound natural because you don’t want to sound like you’re reading or reciting a speech, but having some pre-prepared answers will help you feel way more confident. Check out this excellent YouTube video from How to Adult on job interview tips for some concise advice. Additionally, oftentimes, the career center at your college will offer mock interviews. Take advantage of those! Practice makes perfect and practicing answering interview questions will make you feel way more confident.

Prepare your own questions

Interviewers will always, always, always ask “Do you have any questions for us?” It is SO important that you have questions for them. You’re going to want to prepare a pretty extensive list of questions you can ask them just in case they cover the answers to some of your questions during the interview. Here are some examples of good questions to ask at the end of your job interviews:

  • What is a typical day in this job like?
  • What size team would I be working with?
  • What types of projects have people in this position in the past been able to take on?
  • I read about [an initiative or project the company has recently begun]. What kind of work would I be able to do on this initiative in this position?
  • What is your favorite part about working for this company?

Asking questions demonstrates that not only did you do research before the interview, you’re also invested in learning more about the company and about the position throughout your interview. It shows that you take initiative and want to learn. Coming up with a good list of questions (good being a key word. Don’t ask what you’ll get paid!) to have ready at the end of the interview will do wonders for your confidence and will impress the interviewer as well.

If you’re prepared and can stay calm in your interview, you should feel confident. Be sure to put your best foot forward and really present your true self. Remember that you’re awesome and your preparation will shine through and translate to confidence.

What are your best interview tips? Let me know in the comments!