How To Exude Confidence in Your Next Job Interview - Work in Sports Podcast

When you exude confidence in your job interviews, it gives the employer confidence in hiring you. Here's how to do it!

Hi everybody, I’m Brian Clapp, Director of Content for and this is the Work in Sports podcast…

The last few weeks we’ve had some incredible guests on the show, if you haven’t listened yet I suggest you go back and give the episodes with Lauren Sisler, SEC Network reporter, and Gloria Nevarez, West Coast Conference commissioner a in sports podcast with brian clapp

Great information, and inspirational stories. Coming up this week – Zachary Galia Pittsburgh Steelers Social Media Manager – Zach and I have a very cool conversation on what goes into his day to day experience with the Steelers!

For those of you new to this show – welcome! – I love new listeners! On Mondays, I publish an episode going deep on a fan question about their sports career. If you want to submit a question, you can hit me up on LinkedIn, message me on our private facebook group which you can join by searching for the Work in Sports podcast on Facebook and answering a few questions – or you can email me bclapp at Work in Sports dot com.

Plenty of options! If your question is read on the show, I’ll give you a free month to our site which is way worth it.

ON Wednesdays are our expert interviews – and the cool thing about those, especially if you are a new listener, all of them are just a relevant today as they were the day I published them. I don’t ask questions that are in the moment or directly connected to that day's sports news.

We focus on career advice, their journey, how they go their first job, the challenges of their role, what they look for when hiring. So again, if you want to go back and listen to my interview with Leigh Steinberg, or Mailynh Vu talent acquisition manager for the Cleveland Indians, or Mike Judge Inside Sales Manager with the Cleveland Browns, or Shaun Richard Associate Athletic Director for Ohio State – go for it, the information is still on point I promise.

One last pitch before the question – we also have a Facebook LIVE session every Thursday at 7:30 pm est from the Work in Sports Facebook page where I answer all of your sports career focused questions LIVE – super fun, I love the interaction, so come join me on Thursdays.

Ok, let’s get to today’s question – it comes in from Jack in Nebraska.

Hi Brian – love the show, I have learned so much from your programming! I find the Monday editions to be so incredibly informative and I hope this question is good enough to make the cut.

Congratulations Jack it is!

I feel like my confidence is low going into interviews, I have so many things running through my head that I don’t think I project the best version of myself. In the past, you’ve talked about being self-reflective after an interview and trying to figure out what went wrong – well, for me, I’ve concluded it’s my confidence. Any chance you can help?  


Jack – first off I am so impressed that you are being self-reflective after an interview, this is so important. Every interview should be a learning experience, but only if you put the work in.

After an interview, I’ll ask someone how it went and they’ll say “fine”. I probe, and they have very little to give back. Then they don’t get the job and wonder,” What went wrong?” to which I respond…I don’t know, I wasn’t there.

It is on you, the individual, to write things down after an interview… was there a certain question I didn’t handle well, did I mess up the handshake, did I forget to make eye contact, was my energy level low, did I forget to smile and show some enthusiasm?

These are all questions you need to ask yourself after an interview – this is self-reflection and no one else can do it for you…that’s why it’s call SELF-reflection.

Nice job Jack – just getting to this point where you can self0-reflect and narrow down what’s going wrong for you is awesome – I’m impressed.

So now let’s talk confidence.

As regular old human beings walking the planet we are drawn to confident people. Someone that believes in themselves and their point of view is like a magnet for others, confidence asserts a natural power and knowledge.

People in hiring roles are even more tuned in to confidence as a virtue.

Confidence is an essential component of leadership. It’s not one to one, like if you are confident you are definitely a great leader… but it is near impossible to be a great leader without confidence. Employers want to hire people with leadership potential. You don’t have to be perfectly refined as a leader and fully mastered the art, but they want to see that potential. That high ceiling for leading groups and helping drive co-workers through change or push through projects or share a vision.

Leadership potential and confidence is like catnip to hiring managers. At one employer that I worked for and did a great deal of hiring, we had a form you’d fill out after an interview… so that we’d have a file on each candidate, their strength and weaknesses, and on this sheet, one of the questions was “Leadership potential”.

That attribute is SO important!

The other thing about confidence is that it shows an ability to have tough skin. I tell this to my kids all the time, they’ll come home and say so and so was mean was picking on me, made fun of my red hair, said my curls were weird… whatever.

And I say, in a very nice supportive way, you are allowing them to make their mark on you, You are allowing them to define who you are and how you value yourself. You are giving away your power to some fool. Just think how powerful it would be, not to fight back, but to look at them as if nothing they could say could bother you in the slightest because their words mean nothing to you, they have literally no impact.

Now, I’m not saying that shit works with a 7-year-old right now, but we’re trying to establish this thought pattern so that when they are 14,15,16 their confidence is true and works as their best defense against tricky times.

Same is true for you – employers want to see toughness, an ability to take on challenges, to know who you are, to have some gumption. Tough skin matters as well.

All of this contributes to the confidence formula – why we are so drawn to people with confidence. Since so many people lack confidence and have faltering self-esteem, they are naturally drawn to someone with high-level confidence. They want to emulate that energy and learn from it.

If you can be the confident one – that is a powerful elixir.

But your question isn’t WHY… it’s HOW. So let’s get into that…

The first thing to recognize is that you have to remove the multiplying fear voice from your head. You will be nervous, you will be scared, you will be afraid to say the wrong thing or forget something important.

You can’t let it multiply.

I’m a pretty confident dude – and yet I get nervous before every college speech, before every interview for the podcast, before everything I do. That is all OK as long as you don’t let it multiply and paralyze.

You can’t be in your head thinking “They are going to hate my outfit, and then I’m going to forget what to say, and then they’re going to laugh at me, and then their going to kick me out on the curb, and post on facebook they’ve just had the worst interview ever and share a picture of my face and then I’ll never get a job and I’ll live at home for the rest of my life!”

You just took an incredible opportunity to land a job…into I’m going to be stuck under my mom’s roof forever!

Stop that! This Is called fortune telling and you have to avoid it. Nerves are natural but don’t start constructing a story about your failure or else you will believe it to be true.

I had someone tell me once, you become the things you obsess over the most. Now they were giving me a different type of life advice…but it goes to the point of obsessive negative self-talk.

If you become convinced failure is the only truth… it will become your reality.  So start by knocking that shit off.

2: Let’s lump a few tactics together. Make eye contact. This is so powerful. When someone looks down, it shows weakness… like Rocky against Clubber Lang in Rocky III. Look right into their eyes and smile.

Smile! Simple smiles show confidence – you want to look like you are enjoying the process even if you have pits the size of Greenland.

Handshake – guys girls doesn’t matter – this tactile moment is important…unless you are on a video call. Couple it with the eye contact and go for gold! Don’t squeeze to hard, this isn’t arm wrestling (I almost just make another Sylvester Stallone reference that none of you would get) this is just a chance to show some fearlessness.

NOW, if any of these things go wrong – put them behind you and look forward. Do not let them multiply or snowball. You have another 30 minutes to prove yourself… I have never heard someone say, you know they have the skills we want, their experience is on point…but that handshake… UGH.

That doesn’t happen. You want to set the right impression, but it is not a death knell if it goes wrong. Let things slide off your back a bit and refocus.

3: Try not to ramble – and if you find yourself rambling, stop acknowledge it, even laugh a little, and then wrap up.

Here’s the ultimate confident players move – acknowledge when you’ve messed up, smile and laugh a little, and reel it back in.

We all have this tendency to ramble a bit during an interview, it’s nerves, totally normal. Try not to, but that is easier said than done. Heck, listen to some of my questions during the podcast… I’ll start down a road asking a question and the next thing you know, I’ve been talking for 45 second going round and round in circles. I listen back to these moments and cringe …like I’m begging myself to stop talking.

I’ve been doing this 20 years and still have that moment all the time! You try not to but it happens. If it does, rather than panic… smile and acknowledge it… “sorry I’m rambling a little bit here, there are just so many thing running through my head!” and then one sentence and done.

This is a player move. You recognized, smiled, even laughed a bit, and then landed the plane.

4: Frame your Mind with some positive affirmations.

Before every interview remind yourself of something – they looked through hundreds of resumes and picked yours out from the stack. You are worthy of being here!

Trust me – employers aren’t looking for ways to hate the person they are interviewing – they want to LOVE you, they want you to nail it, they want you to be the answer to their problems and get to work!

Don’t disqualify yourself by letting your fears rule you.  

Look across at that other person and think to yourself – they are on my side, they want me here, they want me to nail it, and they want to be able to go to their boss and say “whoa, I just had an incredible interview”

So give them what they want, give them the ultimate experience in you.

Alright – that should help a bit with your confidence levels Jack – keep us all updated on how things go!

Thanks again for listening, reminder Zachary Galia Social Media manager for the Pittsburgh Steelers coing up on Wednesday… alright everyone.. get back to work.

By Brian Clapp | April 08, 2019
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