Interviews are stressful events. Unless you’re in the enviable position of job shopping, you’ve got a lot riding on the outcome of any interview at a company you want to work. The pitfall of all that stress is that it can make you question things you usually take for granted, like your competence and likability. This, in turn, can undermine your confidence and assertiveness during the interview itself. If you’ve been down this road before, keep reading for tips on how to remain assertive during your interview.
It’s very hard to oversell the role of body language in selling yourself to a hiring manager. The problem is that body language generally happens without a lot of input from your conscious mind. That means you need to pay attention to what your body is doing during the interview. Make sure you maintain good posture with your back straight. Stand up and initiate the handshake with your interviewer. Keep your posture open when sitting. No matter how nervous you feel, don’t fidget. Of course, maintain solid eye contact.
Don’t let the interview end without asking several meaningful questions; a willingness to quiz the interviewer signals that you believe in yourself. Make sure that the questions are relevant to you and your position. For example, you can ask what goals the company is looking to achieve by hiring you. You can also ask more generally what goals the company has for the department or unit you’d be joining. Consider culture-based questions, such as what management style the company prefers or what makes someone a good personality fit. If all else fails, you can ask what you could expect to work on during a normal day.
Ask for the Position
It might seem counter-intuitive since you’re there interviewing for the job, but you should still ask for the position. A lot of people walk out of an interview knowing they don’t want the job and won’t take it if offered. Asking for the position at the end of the interview does two things for you. It tells the interviewer that you’re very likely to take the job if it’s offered. It reaffirms your confidence in yourself and your ability to do the job.
Assertiveness Is a Learned Trait
Assertiveness comes naturally to some people, but most people must learn to do it. It might feel like you’re faking it during the interview, but think of it as practice for the workplace and the future. The good news is that, like most learned behaviors, assertiveness becomes more comfortable with practice.