How to Show Assertiveness in a Job Interview

Assertive people are often enthusiastic, can-do people, too.
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The clues are often there for the eye to plainly see: the personal qualities or attributes that a prospective employer is looking for in an employee. If you’ve spotted the word “assertive” in a job description, then you know your interviewer will be looking for signs of this trait. While it’s never a good idea to misrepresent yourself, you can burnish your natural, outgoing personality and subjugate your understandable jitters by following a few simple steps during an interview.

    Step 1

    Prepare yourself for the interview. Read all that you can about the company from a website and analyze the job description. Preparedness breeds confidence, and confidence can bolster a sense of assertiveness.

    Step 2

    Ratchet up your confidence by displaying the proper body language and manner: shake the interviewer’s hand firmly, make friendly but limited small talk, maintain steady eye contact and smile. Show that you “comfortable in your own skin” -- a sure sign of someone who also can be assertive.

    Step 3

    Answer questions in a relational, conversational style. Be especially alert to behavioral questions such as, “Tell me about yourself” and situational questions such as “How would you handle such-and-such problem?” so that you can refer to your naturally assertive style.

    Step 4

    Ask good, relevant questions during your interview. An active, curious mind is another sign of an assertive person, as is the desire to gather information.

    Step 5

    Express yourself honestly, but don’t confuse assertiveness with aggressiveness or forcefulness. Demonstrate tact and diplomacy, too.

    Step 6

    Show pride in your accomplishments and pepper your answers with short anecdotes and illustrations. Be specific, to underscore your can-do mindset.

    Step 7

    Wrap up the interview on a high note. If you haven’t been asked, “Why should we hire you?” summarize why you think the job suits you and why your assertive personality would enable you to fulfill the job responsibilities with gusto.


    • While you should wear conservative clothing to job interviews, you can subtly convey assertiveness. Men can make a statement with a colorful tie. Women should ensure that their suit is up-to-date and perhaps accented with a stylish belt or pin.

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