Interviews are always nerve-wracking because there’s so much pressure to be perfect.
You must show just enough assertiveness to prove you can handle the job, but not so much that you appear aggressive. And that balance is going to change depending on who is conducting the interview.
In this post, we’re going to explore six ways to assert control in an interview without appearing overbearing.
Body language says so much about a person’s confidence or lack thereof. If you’re sitting in your chair with your shoulders slumped and head down, you will appear sheepish.
That’s the first impression your interviewer will have of you, and then you’re going to have to work harder to change it.
Regardless of how confident you feel inside, be sure to project confidence on the outside. Sit up straight with your shoulders back and make quick eye contact with anyone who approaches you.
Similar to sheepish body language, you can project insecurity by speaking in a very low volume. You don’t want to yell, but do speak with confidence. Remember, you deserve to be here, and your interviewer wants to hear what you have to say.
If you struggle with this, try practicing in advance. Start by focusing on your breaths. Shallow breaths will produce a lower volume. So you want to breathe deeply from your diaphragm. A confident posture will help with this too.
Maintain a base-level volume throughout the interview. Avoid falling into the trap of lowering your voice when you’re feeling insecure. This is an obvious tell that your interviewer will see through right away.
Arrive prepared with a set of questions about the job and company culture. You’re going to want to adopt that attitude that they want you as much as you want this job.
Think about all the things that are important to you. And feel free to ask your interviewer about their biggest challenges with the company. They aren’t going to start dishing dirt (and if they do, run). But you may be able to parse out some info about what it’s really like to work at this place.
There’s a fine line between being assertive and being pushy. And if you think you’re toeing that line, it may be time to pull back a bit. Your interviewer probably prepared for this interview with a list of topics to discuss and questions to ask. If he or she doesn’t get through them, there’s a chance they’ll consider the interview a fail — especially if they feel like they have to talk over you.
At best, they’ll ask for a second interview. At worst, they’ll simply thank you for your time and move along. As you are asserting yourself, pay attention to how your interviewer is receiving your overall vibe. You can always shift course to be more or less assertive, but if you aren’t paying attention, you could lose this person’s interest.
It’s difficult not to be nervous during a job interview, but that doesn’t mean you have to appear that way. If you want the interviewer to trust you with control, you must project confidence at all times. So, give yourself a pep talk and follow these tips to assert control during your next job interview.