How to Feel Confident At Your First Job Interview

Image by Alex France, Flickr

Image by Alex France, Flickr

Going to a job interview is always stressful, especially if you are a freshly-baked post-graduate. But when your confidence is too low, and you can hardly breathe or talk, it can actually ruin your interview. Everyone is shy and anxious, but you need to find ways to boost your self-esteem before and during the interview. Here are a few tips to do that:

1) In-depth preparation
Quite a lot of graduates believe that their existing knowledge and skills are enough to fill the position they applied for. But the truth is that any position requires additional training and mastering new skills. What you should do right after you are invited to a job interview is look through the job application once more, even more thoroughly this time, and learn more about the aspects that are vague to you. No need for in-depth practical knowledge – only good awareness of what is expected from you and what additional skills you will have to master. Do extended research and make sure any job requirement is clear to you. Your CV must be adequate and truthful to reflect your real knowledge and skills, but it also has to be outstanding – check out this post to know more about writing a good CV. You can also use some online tools to create an impressive resume – such as, KickResume, or

2) Don’t let your confidence fall
Even those who are fully confident about their performance days and hours before the interview, may quickly start to panic when it is about to start. If this moment arrives, it’s important to concentrate on the facts that kept you confident earlier. Try to understand that nothing has changed and there is nothing to fear. You were invited here – which means they believe you can potentially be a good fit. You just need to prove it.

3) No do-or-die race
You should understand that even if this is your dream position, nothing bad will happen if you don’t get accepted. On the contrary, you will have a chance to test what it looks like, and then try again with another company. But that’s not all. When you were preparing for this job interview, you learned tons of new knowledge. Companies adore it when you don’t wait helplessly and desperately for your first job. They are the most likely to choose a candidate who keeps studying even after graduating. So this will be another portion of new knowledge to add to your resume. Your potential employer wants to make sure you are open to new insights, especially if this is job-related. Just remember that whatever happens, this interview will only make you stronger.

4) Don’t underestimate your acquired skills, yet don’t go too far
We had a chance to see graduates apply for jobs without mentioning some core competencies they’ve learned through self-studying. Very often they think that only education and previous professional experience matter. However, everything you practice at home, every job-related book you read, will be a huge bonus. Even if the skills are very necessary and mostly theoretical, this is an excellent start. However, don’t exaggerate your knowledge level – don’t claim you’ve professionally mastered the skill if you haven’t. The truth will soon come out and play against you. And also remember that real knowledge is more precious than good grades – getting straight A’s in college won’t help you find a job.

5) Analyse the company profile in detail
Make sure you know key information about the company you are applying to. Major products and services, the most important facts from the history of establishment, working environment and key traits. Analyse the website, social media accounts and make sure you remember the most important information. Let the interviewers know you really want to work in their organization and provide the reasons why.

6) Be clear about what you offer and learn to listen
Job interviewers mostly care about what you can bring into their company rather than who you are. Let them know that you are ready to bring value and that you either have necessary skills to do it or are willing to develop them. However, you need to show you can listen – not just listen without interruption but be able to analyze what the interviewer is saying, ask the right questions and admit that you are unaware of something.

But if you have found your ideal job and you are currently preparing for the first interview, you should understand that it is never a relaxing thing to do. Stressful and exhausted applicants often forget that they are not expected to know everything. Since they were chosen for this interview, someone saw potential in them, even if there are no solid past professional records to show. This is just a friendly chat where interviewers will also check your stress-resistance, communication, and instant analysis skills to make sure you can be a good team player in a company. Your personal qualities will determine 40% of your job interview result. Just relax and answer confidently with positive and clear answers.

This article was contributed by guest author Kevin McNamara.