How to Find the Balance Between Bragging and Hiding When Talking About Yourself in an Interview

By Chelsea Babin

One of the aspects of interviewing that makes a lot of people uncomfortable is the amount of time you have to spend talking about yourself. On the one hand you need to sell the interviewer on why you’d be the perfect fit for this position, which requires a little bragging. On the other hand you don’t want to talk about yourself too much because it feels unnatural and you don’t want to seem inauthentic. So, how do you strike a balance between bragging and hiding when talking about yourself in an interview? Follow these 5 steps.

1. Have Confidence in Your Experience and Abilities: Some people aren’t comfortable talking about themselves so much, and that’s fine. But, you need to make sure you have confidence in your experience and abilities before you ever step foot in the interview. This will make you more comfortable talking about your achievements, skills, and experience. One of the best ways to gain this confidence is to make a list of your work accomplishments (or take a look at your resume, where a lot of these will already be listed). Do the same thing with your soft skills and technical skills. Once you see the magnitude of what you’re capable of laid out in front of you on paper it will be easy to step into an interview with the confidence you need to speak about yourself more than you normally would.

2. Handy Anecdotes and Examples: If you have a few anecdotes and examples that help you back up your experience, achievements, and abilities before you step foot in the interview you’ll be far more comfortable talking about yourself. While you don’t need to have word-for-word stock answers prepared for frequently asked interview questions, you should have an idea of the strengths you want to highlight and the anecdotes and examples you want to use in the interview to show what you’re capable of.

3. Make it Conversational: You don’t need to talk about yourself the entire interview! In fact, you probably shouldn’t. The best interviews are the ones that feel more like a back-and-forth conversation than a question-and-answer interview. Ask your interviewer questions about the company culture, the position you’re interviewing for, and what their experience at the company has been like. This will prevent you from feeling like you’re only talking about yourself and you’ll keep the interview conversational.

4. Take the Credit You Deserve: Mentioning the work your collaborators and coworkers did to help complete a project is fine, but don’t forget to take the credit you deserve too. Being team oriented is a great quality that a lot of employers look for during the interview process so mentioning projects that were collaborative or a team effort is fine, but you’re being interviewed and looked at as an individual candidate too. Don’t forget to mention what you contributed, the problems you solved, and take the credit you deserve during the interview.

5. Thank Them For Their Time: You may feel like you’ve spent the last hour or more bragging about yourself, talking yourself up, and focusing mostly on you, Hopefully you were able to make it conversational, stay confident in your abilities, and tow the line between hiding and bragging. But, the best way to solidify that balance is to thank the interviewer for their time at the end of the interview and send them a follow up thank you note. This shows that you’re not focused on yourself but, rather, on securing the position with their company. It also shows that you’re appreciative, able to follow through, and professional.

You’ll need to talk about yourself quite a bit more in an interview than you would in a normal conversation. If you want to keep the balance between bragging about yourself and hiding your skills, abilities, and experience follow these 5 steps!