5 Tips for Staying Positive During an Interview

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated June 10, 2022 | Published January 29, 2020

Updated June 10, 2022

Published January 29, 2020

Related: How to Be Confident in an Interview: Best 4-Step Strategy

This video shares 4 powerful tips you can use immediately to be more confident in an interview.

Interviews allow a company to determine whether candidates are compatible with current team members and management. During an interview, you have the chance to showcase your personality and leave a positive impression on your prospective employer. Having an optimistic attitude during an interview can influence their hiring decision in your favor. In this article, we explore ways to maintain a positive mindset during an interview so you can improve your interview skills and increase your chances of getting the job you want.

How to stay positive during an interview

Displaying a good attitude and an optimistic perspective can improve the interview experience for you and your prospective interviewer. Here are a few tips to help you stay positive during your interview: 

  1. Foster your confidence.

  2. Use intentional body language.

  3. Present your qualifications favorably.

  4. Ask relevant questions.

  5. Prepare as much as you can.

1. Foster your confidence

Self-confidence can help give you the motivation needed to overcome challenges in the workplace. Use your self-confidence to measure your value and identify what drives you to improve and succeed. You can apply this knowledge to your interview preparation in the following ways:

  • Outline why you want this job. There are many reasons why you may have applied for the position, and it can be helpful to remind yourself of what this interview means to your professional development and career goals. Write down what first interested you in the job listing, what you hope to achieve with the company and how this position fits into your career path. You can boost your confidence when you remember what excited you about this opportunity during the initial application process.

  • List your qualifications. Your prospective employer likely selected you for an interview because they’re interested in what you have to offer. Before you meet with the hiring team, write down what makes you the best candidate for this position. It can be a numbered list of skills and characteristics or a short essay. You can use your resume and the job listing to help you identify relevant items. Review this list right before your interview to remind yourself of the unique value you bring.

  • Repeat positive affirmations. You may find it even more helpful to read the list or essay about your professional qualifications aloud. Hearing what skills, traits and experiences make you a strong candidate can further improve your confidence. You can also speak simple, more general affirmations aloud, such as “I will do well in this interview” or “I am the best candidate for this position.” These methods may help you focus on the skills and accomplishments that make you a good candidate for the job.

2. Use intentional body language

Body language is an element of nonverbal communication that can impact the effectiveness of a message. Both speakers and listeners can utilize intentional body language to ensure they show their interest in the conversation. During your interview, use the following tips to help you leave a positive impression on your potential employer:

  • Confident posture: You can adjust the way you walk into a room, sit in a chair or stand during your interview to communicate your confidence. When walking or standing, try keeping your shoulders back and your chin level to avoid slouching. Sit up straight, and consider keeping your feet flat on the floor or crossed at the ankles. These posture adjustments can center your body in a way that releases tension and prevents nervousness. This strategy may even boost your confidence internally, which can translate to outward confidence as well. 

  • Smiling and relaxed facial expressions: Your face is an important aspect of nonverbal communication because it can be used to gauge what you’re feeling. Before your interview, relax the muscles in your face to ensure you present a favorable and enthusiastic disposition. You can also demonstrate positivity by smiling while you introduce yourself and when you thank the interviewer for their time at the end of your interview. 

  • Nodding: This positive gesture can help you present yourself as agreeable and friendly. When an interviewer asks you a question that includes an affirmative answer, you can nod to show your agreement while responding. In addition, you can nod while your interviewer is discussing an aspect of the role or the company to indicate that you are actively listening to them.

Related: Everything You Need To Know About Job Interview Etiquette

3. Present your qualifications favorably

Your interviewer will likely ask you about the experiences listed on your resume, so it is best to discuss previous jobs in a respectful way. To maintain a positive attitude during your interview, you should demonstrate how valuable past positions have been in shaping you into the professional you are today. Talk about the skills you learned or improved, the connections you made with coworkers or the opportunities you took to challenge your abilities. This strategy can show that you appreciate your career path and remain enthusiastic about your future.

Throughout your interview, use affirmative language that promotes a positive tone:

  • Active verbs: Strong verb phrases can demonstrate the confidence and initiative you can bring to the workplace. Review the job description to get a better idea of the active verbs you can use during your interview. This strategy can indicate to the interviewer that you understand what the job entails, further promoting a positive impression.

  • Words with positive connotations: Aim for terms that indicate productivity, teamwork, happiness and other favorable traits. This strategy can ensure that you are describing your work experiences in ways that show you appreciate the opportunities that you’ve been given and that you look forward to continued growth.

  • Constructive interpretation: You may be interviewing for a position that doesn’t directly relate to your qualifications. For example, if you have yet to work on certain tasks, you can discuss your ability to learn on the job and demonstrate your willingness to seek extra training. If you are switching careers but your experience is in a different industry, you can present the unique abilities, characteristics and skills you bring from your previous professional experiences that make you a distinguished candidate.

Related: 21 Job Interview Tips: How To Make a Great Impression

4. Ask relevant questions

One effective approach is to turn the interview into a conversation. You are assessing how the company fits with your professional goals as much as your prospective employer is assessing your skills and qualifications. 

After you answer a question, try asking a related follow-up question to give your interviewer a chance to offer their perspective on the topic. This strategy allows you to spend time listening to get to know the position, the company and your interviewer. Asking questions also demonstrates your enthusiasm for the job and that you are already trying to see yourself as part of the team.

At the end of your interview, your interviewer may ask if you have any additional questions. You can use this time to ask questions about the company and its goals, which can show that you are invested in what the company wants to achieve and that you are looking for a company whose mission aligns with your professional goals and values.

You can also ask your interviewer questions about their personal experience with the company, including why they chose this company and what their favorite part of their job is. These questions show that you value their perspective of the company and allow you to find similarities with your interviewer. For example, you may find that you pursued the same degree in college or both have a similar passion for your industry.

Related: 9 Best Questions To Ask Your Interviewer (With Video Examples)

5. Prepare as much as you can

Being prepared for your interview is one of the most effective ways to ensure you remain positive and present. Here are a few ways to help you feel prepared for future interviews:

  • Practice on your own. You can review your personal list or a short essay that describes what makes you the best candidate for the position. Rehearse your responses out loud to ensure your tone is clear and assertive and your thoughts are organized. You can also practice in front of a mirror to observe your posture, gestures and facial expressions. 

  • Participate in a mock interview. A mock interview is when you sit down with a trusted colleague, mentor or career counselor to practice answering potential interview questions. This setting allows you to get constructive feedback on all of the elements of your performance, including nonverbal communication, attitude and the content of your answers.

  • Study the job description. Review the daily responsibilities, necessary skills, preferred qualifications and company expectations listed for the position. Try to identify all of these items when you compile your list or write your short essay on what makes you a strong candidate. Consider reviewing the job description again before the interview to further prepare.

  • Research the company. It’s important to understand what the company values and what goals they are trying to achieve. You can review the company’s website to learn its mission and history. Social media and external media can also provide insight into what recent advancements the company has made. Consider also checking employee review sites that illustrate the company culture, including job satisfaction rates and work-life balance.

  • Review common interview questions. You can research the most common interview questions as well as those frequent to the specific role, industry and company. Practice your answers on your own or during a mock interview to ensure you are the most prepared you can be for your upcoming interview.

Related: Top Interview Tips: Common Questions, Body Language & More

Looking for interview tips? In this video, we dissect an entire job interview from start to finish. We analyze everything from common interview questions to etiquette and how to follow up.

Browse more articles