How to Nail a Job Interview

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Most people will admit to getting nervous before a big job interview or date; but if you’re able to fight through the jitters and maintain a confident, composed assertiveness while at the same time engaging the interviewer, chances are you’ll nab that new job.

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A research team from Ontario’s U. of Guelph arranged a series of fake job interviews with 125 job applicants, who were interviewed by an outside career agency. The researchers then reviewed the applicants’ video transcripts, gauging anxiety levels as well as overall performance.

They determined that those who spoke with long pauses, accompanied by shifting uncomfortably in their chair, appeared to be more nervous and gave the impression of less warmth and assertiveness. And that led to failing grades from the interviewers.

“If you really listen to the interviewer’s questions, and stay ‘present’ or focused on the interview situation itself, then you’ll appear more interpersonally warm,” says study author Deborah Powell, Ph.D.

That said, think before you speak. “It’s OK to take a short pause to come up with a good answer,” Powell says. “It’s better than plunging into a response without a bit of thought first.”

To come across as assertive and confident…


  • Stay focused on the interviewer
  • Show enthusiasm (hand gestures, eye contact)
  • Give answers with some detail


  • Leave long, awkward pauses
  • Repeatedly fidget or shift in your seat
  • Shake your feet a lot—keep those puppies on a leash!

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