How to Avoid Appearing Cocky in an Interview

Sometimes our nerves can get the best of us. Talking about yourself to others can be uncomfortable, especially when you’re being asked to do it in a job interview. It’s important to remain confident, but never arrogant, and finding that perfect middle ground can be tricky.

No one wants to work with a know-it-all. You could have the perfect background for the position you’re interviewing for, but could be taken out of consideration because of how you portrayed yourself in the interview. Here are some ways to avoid sounding cocky in your next interview.

Stick to the facts.

You’re going to have to talk about why you’re the best fit for the position, but be ready to back it up with figures and success stories. Without facts, stating that you’re the best at something is simply your opinion and you’ll just come off as arrogant.

Be genuine.

Speak about your work history and past accomplishments with enthusiasm and excitement to appear passionate rather than cocky. A good balance is to sound proud of your accomplishments, but also grateful.

Pay attention to verbal and non-verbal cues.

You should never act better than or above the person interviewing you. Your handshake, posture, tone, smile, eye contact, etc. all matter. Take indications from the listener of how you’re coming across, and switch things up to end on the right note if needed. You should verbally and physically appear appreciative for the interview.

Ask questions.

Go into the conversation with questions about the position and company. Make it a two way conversation throughout the entire interview and not all about you. Show confidence in your ability to connect with others and be sure to listen to the full question before answering.

Answer appropriately.

You want to sell yourself, but it’s not appropriate to go off topic and blab on and on. Oversharing will come off as bragging. Find a way to confidently answer in a short, yet powerful way.

Admit that you don’t know it all.

Admitting that you have a weakness and explaining how you’re working on it shows that you’re human. Mention what steps you’ve taken to learn more in your field, and give credit to who you’ve learned from. This shows that you’re open to new perspectives and learning from others, and in fact, not a know-it-all.