Each week, TopResume’s career advice expert, Amanda Augustine, answers user questions on Quora. We’ll be republishing those answers here. A certified professional career coach (CPCC) and resume writer (CPRW), Amanda has been helping professionals improve their careers for over 10 years. Have a question for Amanda? Submit it here.

Q: How can I look confident during an interview?

“I just started interviewing and I could use some tips. People used to call me names and it left me with some confidence issues.” — R. Rudolph

Hi R.R.! Interviewing for a new job is much like going on a first date. You want to come across as confident, but not arrogant. Humble, but not insecure. After all, if you’re not confident in your abilities, why should the hiring manager think any differently?

Luckily, there’s more you can do to prepare for a job interview than a blind date. The key to looking confident during an interview starts with your interview preparation. The better prepared you are for the interview, the less nervous you’ll be and the more confident you’ll come across to the hiring manager. Below are a few tips on how to be confident in your next job interview.

Do your homework

Research the company online, talk to people you know who currently work or previously worked at the organization and take a closer look at the job description so you have a good sense of what the hiring manager is looking for in the right job candidate. Prepare questions to ask each interviewer so you’re learning more about the position while demonstrating that you’ve done your homework on the company. Click on the following link to access my complete interview prep guide.

Practice being a S.T.A.R.

If you feel uncomfortable bragging about your accomplishments, practice developing interview responses to difficult questions like “Tell me about yourself” so you’re less nervous talking about yourself during the actual interview. For behavioral-based interview questions like “Tell me about a time …”, use what’s known as the STAR method to brainstorm your answers. The framework is fairly simple:

  • Describe a Situation you faced or a Task you had to complete
  • Explain what Actions you took to resolve the issue or get the job done
  • Then, discuss the Results of your actions

Take another look at the job description and make a short list of the required skills to perform the job. Then, take a look back at your brag book and brainstorm a few stories using the STAR method that demonstrate how you’ve leveraged those skills or handled similar situations in the past.

Don’t memorize your response. Instead, jot down a few words for each bullet to jog your memory so your response doesn't sound rehearsed.

Plan ahead

Nothing can throw you off your game faster than an emergency the morning of your interview. Do what you can to plan for these curveball situations, so you can focus on the task at hand — learning more about the job opportunity and impressing your interviewers.

For example, to avoid being late to the interview, plot out your commute to the office location using apps like Google Maps for the same day and time of day your interview is scheduled so you are familiar with the route and can properly budget your travel time. Give yourself plenty of extra time to get there, just in case there’s an unexpected delay.

If you arrive more than 15 minutes early, head to the nearest coffee shop where you can collect your thoughts before the interview.

Roleplay

A great way to work out the kinks in your interview responses and build up your confidence is to do a mock interview. Ask someone you trust to play the role of the hiring manager or recruiter and ask you common interview questions.

Better yet, consider working with a professional interview coach to refine your skills before an important interview. An interview expert like those at TopInterview can give you professional, objective feedback on everything from your body language to the delivery of your interview responses.

Whether it’s been a while since your last interview, or you’re just looking to fine-tune your elevator pitch, TopInterview’s one-on-one video coaching sessions will give you the confidence to enter interviews ready for anything.

Final thoughts

If your nerves are wreaking havoc on your confidence, stop and take a deep breath. Remember that the company is already interested in you — you’ve made it past the infamous resume black hole and their initial phone screen. Remember what you prepared for, and be confident in your abilities. Best of luck!

Click on the following link for more interview advice.

Want to feel more confident during interviews? Check out our sister site, TopInterview.

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