December 2 2017

7 Interviewing Techniques Confident People Use to Land a Startup Job

Yes! You’ve just opened your inbox and right at the top? That cool startup job you’ve been crossing your fingers for is a requesting an interview! After doing your three minute happy dance, you stop. Now what? Just the word “interview” used to send us running for the hills, too, until we realized the most confident people have one thing in common – they plan! Ever wonder why interviewing comes naturally to some and not others? Confidently walking into an interview is all about knowing your stuff, ahead of time. Take these 7 interviewing techniques and confidence boosters into the room with you to land your next startup job:

#1 – Confident people find out the details

After celebrating, of course. Via Giphy.

Prep, prep, prep. The first reason confident people shine come interview time is that they know what they’re stepping into! Know who you’re interviewing with, research their role, and make sure you know where the interview will be. Make sure you know a few things about the company and their recent accomplishments beyond the first page on their website. Create a quick 3-4 minute pitch using the job posting that highlights who you are, why you’ll rock this role and how you’ve shined at past jobs. If you need, create notecards that include 1-2 job highlights to review while on your way to the interview, so you can easily recall the dope things you can do for this startup. And do bring multiple copies of your résumé (even if it feels old school)! That way all the interviewers can follow along as you share your rockstar skills.

#2 – Confident people come armed with conversation

That’s one way to handle long silences… Via Giphy.

One thing confident people do well? Position themselves as thought leaders. You don’t need to be a full-blown expert to come off as knowledgeable in your industry. Start with brushing up on the company’s mission and competitors. Read a PR piece or something in the news that caught your interest? Here’s your chance to find out more! Ask questions about their current initiative, share your thoughts on why this interested you, or tie the news back to a recent project you’ve been working on. Showing interest in the company will give the impression that you’re ready to help them build on what they’ve already got going.

#3 – Confident people ask smart questions

Makes for less awkward moments. Via Giphy.

Confident interviewers love asking questions because it shows they’re thinking about how they can be useful to their new team and whether or not this position will truly be a fit. Dig a little deeper into what some of the growing challenges have been, and throw in how that aligns with your skills or what you’re hoping to learn while on the job. Ask questions about the team you’ll be working with and get a sense of their immediate goals. Be sure to ask questions that will help you decide on whether or not this is the role for you, and make sure it’s information that can’t be easily found on the web or answered with a simple “yes or no.”

#4 – Confident people use anxiety as an advantage

Fear? We laugh in the face of fear. Via Giphy.

There’s a reason why first impressions are so important, since presence is one of the first things we humans notice when interacting with each other. Confident people use their gestures and body to convey interest in the interviewer and conversation at hand. Use eye contact to show not only that you’re listening, but that you’re confident as well. Practice sitting up straight but still relaxed. Giving off a calm demeanor will put not only you at ease, but the other person, too. Instead of seeing your anxiety as a setback, try your best to use it as a reminder to stay focused — we know it can get overwhelming, but whether it’s breathing exercises or a song that really gets you pumped up, finding a way to channel your nerves will go a long way.

#5 – Confident people dress for the job they want

Keep it job appropriate. *winky face* Via Giphy.

You don’t want to be that person who shows up for a casual interview in a 3-piece suit.  Having an understanding of the company culture ahead of time will show you did the adequate research and that you have a good understanding of the vibe of the team. Don’t be afraid to ask ahead of time what the dress code is (it’ll show initiative!), and dress slightly more professional than what’s suggested. Most startup founders wear jeans and hoodies, but you don’t have the job just yet!

Know someone who works there? Work your connection and ask for their feedback. You don’t want to give off the wrong impression – like being too stuffy or too laid back. If you need extra tips on smart casual attire for interviews, check out our Definitive Guide to Startup Fashion!

#6 – Confident people believe in themselves

Bill Murray knows. Via Giphy.

Confident people focus on their positive qualities and what they can bring to the table! Before heading out the door, celebrate the fact that your career achievements intrigued them to bring you this far. If you’re nervous, write out the positive things you add to a team: Do you bring an upbeat attitude to work? Are you a good listener who boosts team morale? Can you time manage really well and keep a project on track? Did you tackle a challenge no one else could figure out? All your positive qualities add up!

#7 – Confident people follow up

But you know, don’t go overboard. Via Giphy.

Once the interview is over (score!) send out a thank you e-mail to your interviewer(s) within 24 hours. This way, the interview is still fresh on your mind, and you can reference any great conversations or make an additional comment about a piece of information that stuck out to you about the company. This is a step more hiring managers are taking seriously, and some will even count you out immediately if you don’t send a note. Also, if it feels appropriate, you can use the follow-up to ask to connect on social. Connecting via digital media platforms lets hiring managers see your thought leadership in action. As you build a professional and friendly rapport, your personality shines through and lets them see a more dynamic side of you.


With practice, interviewing can be a breeze. It’s totally normal to get anxious before an interview, so the more you prepare, the better you’ll feel. Still feeling shaky? Fake it til you make it! Believe you’ve got what it takes to succeed and you’ll be already halfway there. Celebrate your strengths to give you an added boost of confidence to slay any opportunity that comes your way.

Ready to land an interview of your own? Sign up for Planted to break into the startup scene.


Dronile Hiraldo is a New York city born and bred writer with a love for writing, travel, entrepreneurship and wellness. She credits her East Coast upbringing in Washington Heights for empowering her love of Selena, pop culture, and social activism. When she’s not deep in a new book, she loves tinkering with photography, eating donuts, and listening to Michael Jackson.

Original version of featured image by StockSnap .

Published with permission from Planted.

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