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A Guide to Being Assertive in an Interview

Interviews are part of our professional lives. Everyone hopes for the best when they attend one, but not everyone comes out victorious. So, what differentiates the successful and unsuccessful candidates? Well, it’s either academic credentials, the character traits they display, or both.

This article will focus on assertiveness, a crucial character trait for interviewees. According to research by Development Academy, 55% of people miss job opportunities because they aren’t assertive enough. This shows how crucial it is for job seekers to be assertive in interviews.

If you have an upcoming interview, you can start practicing being assertive. It’ll help increase your chances of success in an interview. The rest of this post explains how you can develop assertiveness. It will prepare you for success in your upcoming interviews.

Let’s look at how you can become assertive.

Tips for Becoming More Assertive

You can learn to become assertive anytime you decide to. All you need to do is have the right tips in mind. Here are some of the ways to develop this character:

1. Believe in Yourself

This is a huge step towards developing assertiveness. It can be tricky to tell others what you think if you have low self-esteem. To build your esteem, start valuing yourself and not worry about other people’s opinions. Self-respect will make other people also respect you.

2. Learn How to Say “No”

Not everyone can say “no” even when they want to. Some people fear getting labeled rebels, and therefore they become people-pleasers. Being assertive is saying “no” when you disagree with an opinion or request. But it would help if you also learned how to say it with politeness.

3. Practice Assertiveness Skills

You cannot develop this character if you do not practice. Starting small and building on your progress will help bring the desired results. You can start by putting yourself first in anything that you do. Also, it would be best if you took your time to rehearse what to say a day before the interview.

4. Be Straightforward

Assertiveness is being confident with your opinion while respecting other people’s views. The best way to show confidence is by being transparent and direct. You should be loud enough, but do not shout or yell. Being clear will ensure there’s no room for misinterpretation.

5. Don’t Be Too Emotional

Emotions can affect how you present yourself. It is human to have negative feelings towards someone. But it would be best if you didn’t let emotions hinder your ability to communicate. You should stay calm even if they react negatively. This will make it easier to navigate difficult situations.

6. Body Language Is Key

People communicate in various ways, and body language is one of them. It contributes to the message and makes it easier to understand. You should maintain a neutral facial expression when getting interviewed. It will show the interviewing panel that you are confident.

7. Listen to Other People

We’ve said that you should put yourself first to be assertive. But this doesn’t mean that you do not listen to other people. It is vital to listen and understand everyone’s point of view. It shows empathy and respect to them. In the end, it becomes a win-win situation for all parties.

8. Always Stay Positive

Some situations might seem difficult to handle. The parties involved end up stressed and in complicated relationships. Staying positive and sober when handling such cases is vital. It makes it possible to reach a shared understanding and not leave them unresolved.

Benefits of Being Assertive

What do you gain by being assertive in interviews? Well, there’s a lot that this life skill can help you achieve. Here, we look at the various benefits of being assertive.


  1. Builds Leadership Skills

It takes various strong traits to become a leader. Assertiveness is one of the critical traits anyone aspiring to lead should have. It can make it easier for you to manage a vast team in your company. It’ll also be easier to delegate tasks, make follow-ups, and achieve your goals.

  1. Reduces Stress

Leaving issues unresolved can lead to stress. But as said before, assertive people deal with problems conclusively. Therefore, they are less likely to feel stressed. Good mental health leads to better productivity. Thus, assertiveness is key to freeing up your mind and succeeding.

  1. Boosts Communication

You can also communicate better if you are assertive. Fence-sitting, whenever an interviewer asks a question, shows indecisiveness. Most employers want decisive people who can bring them good results. Show your stand on controversial issues, and people will take you seriously.

  1. Helps People Achieve Goals

It’s easier for people to know what you want when assertive. Remaining quiet when you need to speak can make you miss a lot. Ensure you tell your potential employers what you expect from them. This will make it easier for them to decide if they should hire you or not.

  1. Helps People Avoid Manipulation

You can easily get manipulated even by interviewers if you aren’t assertive. This happens when there’s mass recruitment for an easy-to-fill roll. Interviewers might manipulate you if they have more candidates than they need. You can avoid this by showing you’re assertive from the start.

  1. Reduces Nervousness

It is normal to feel nervous in an interview. Some interviewees overcome this feeling as they settle into an interview. But it never seems to go away for some, affecting their ability to communicate. You can overcome nervousness in an interview by becoming assertive.

Start Building an Assertive Character Today

Many people tend to be aggressive when they aren’t supposed to. Aggressiveness can make a person feel threatened or put down. It can hinder one’s success in interviews or even kill their progress as a professional. Assertiveness in interviews is the direct opposite of aggressiveness.

As mentioned earlier, it shows firmness but in a polite way. It is one of the best characteristics to have as a professional. Once you master it, you’ll have a more fulfilling career, making you more self-confident. The good news is that learning this skill requires a little practice.

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