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8 Ways to Boost Your Confidence And Nail Your Next Investment Banking Job Interview

interview confidence

Investment banking is one of the most competitive and challenging industries to break into, and landing a job interview can be a huge accomplishment in and of itself. 

However, even the most qualified candidates can struggle to make a lasting impression during the interview process, because they’re so nervous that they fail to show their “true” selves.

This is why it’s essential to have a strong sense of confidence in your abilities and your potential to excel in the role, before you even step foot into the interview room. In this article, we’ll explore 8 ways to boost your confidence immediately and nail your next investment banking job interview. 

Whether you’ve done 12 assessment centers or just starting out, these tips will help you get into the right mindset before the interview, and make your interviewing experience more enjoyable overall. 

So, let’s get started!

Tip #1: Listen to the type of music that gives you an emotional pump

It has been scientifically proven that music can have mood-boosting benefits. By listening to the right kind of music shortly before your interview – the kind of music that gives you energy – you can give yourself a mental boost that will make you feel good for the interview. Everyone has different tastes so I can’t recommend any music genre in particular. 

Just listen to some music that makes you feel more energized. In my case, I was listening to funk with strong beats in the interview waiting room. It put me in a relaxed yet focused mood. 

Try to think about a music style that suits you and listen to this kind of music a few minutes before the interview. You’ll feel more confident.

Tip #2: Practice the Wim Hof breathing technique

The Wim Hof breathing technique is a special method of breathing that involves taking deep breaths and then holding your breath for one and a half minutes (it’s easier than it sounds). I’m not a big fan of meditation myself, and I must say that this breathing technique delivers immediate benefits. 

After 11 minutes of doing this exercise, I feel significantly more relaxed, focused, and I enjoy a pleasant feeling of calm euphoria. 

Trust me, it made a clear difference during my interview. When you’re more relaxed, you take your time to think, and you’re more likely to produce high-quality answers. By the way, it’s not only useful to optimize your performance during an interview. It’s a powerful ritual that can be used to feel better ahead of any stressful situation.

Tip #3: Purposely exaggerate the stakes of the interview to reduce anxiety.

It might sound like a paradox, but in many cases, purposely trying to make our anxiety worse will actually produce the opposite effect: calm us down. 

There’s a lot of BS advice online telling you to “take a deep breath”, “drink water”, or “focus on your breathing” to appease your nerves. 

But when you’re really nervous, these tips rarely work.

Instead, and I know it sounds absurd and strange, but try to exaggerate the stakes of the interview as if you wanted to make yourself even more anxious. 

If you exaggerate the danger of your interview to an absurd degree, your mind will recognize the absurdity of your thoughts, and also acknowledge that the interview that is ahead of you is actually not a big deal compared to the horrific scenario you’ve envisioned (in the sense that you won’t be harmed).

For instance, while I was waiting in the lobby of big banks before my interviews, I would think of absurdly dangerous things that could happen to me during the interview

Like getting shot by the interviewer for no reason, fighting with an adult bear to pass the interview, or defending myself against 3-4 associates armed with butcher knives.

This will very often calm your anxiety, by putting things into perspective.

Tip #4: Do something you’re really good at a few hours before the interview
good at min

You must have heard the expression “I’m on a winning strike!”. Psychological studies have shown that former successes could positively influence the probability of future successes, thanks to a mechanism researchers fancily call “psychological momentum”. 

That may explain why superstar basketters appear to be unstoppable once they land multiple successful shots in a row. Well, you can use the same mechanism to feel more confident for your interview. 

Choose an activity which you’re really good at, be it chess, sudoku, League of Legends, whatever. The only condition is that you have to be extremely good at performing this activity, so that it gives you a confidence boost once you’ve completed it. 

For example, I have a friend who was extremely good at chess, he played major tournaments across the country. Before interviews, he would play chess on his phone against players of intermediate level.

He would obviously crush his opponents, giving him a powerful confidence boost he could then leverage to succeed in his interviews. This technique is very simple to execute and effective to gain confidence.

Tip #5: Take a pen and paper, and list of the things you’ve accomplished over the past year which you’re very proud of

Another technique you can use to boost your confidence is to list all the achievements of the past year which you’re particularly proud of. By doing that, you’re basically reminding your brain that you’re a winner (even if you’re not…), by focusing on the positive rather than the negative. It might sound very basic, but it works. Here is an illustrative example of achievements you could write down on paper:

  • Started boxing and won a fight against an opponent more experienced than me
  • Learned how to code on Python
  • Ran a semi-marathon
  • Launched a student investment club
  • Traveled in 6 countries  


You get the idea. It’s very important that you actually take the time to write down these achievements with the pain, as writing things has a stronger impact on the brain than just thinking about them.

Tip #6: Visualize yourself acing the interview, and walking from the room with an offer

It may also help to use visualization to make yourself more confident during the interview. 

Sit down and imagine yourself walking into the interview room with confidence and professionalism. You snake the hand of the recruiter, have a laugh with him for a moment, and when he asks you the first question: game is on. 

You’re on your best. Gold is flooding out of your mouth. Everything you said is absolutely spot on. The recruiter is so impressed that you receive a job offer straightaway. 

This is the kind of scenario that you can play in your head before an interview. I’m not saying that this is exactly what will happen if you visualize it (in reality, things are always different). 

But I personally noticed that when I was doing these positive visualization exercises, I was nearly always more confident during my interviews, and the outcomes were better too. So train yourself to visualize things in a positive way, for any challenge that you have to overcome.

Tip #7: Have a call with an hilarious friend

This one sounds weird but can work extremely well to hype up your confidence when you need it. Nothing is better than having uncontrollable, genuine laughter with friends to enhance your mood. 

If you have a friend that is naturally funny and never fails to make you laugh, call him or her on the day of the interview and have fun. This will help you get in a lighter, more relaxed mood.

Tip #8: Before the interview, do something that makes you feel good spiritually

Whether you’re a religious person or not, there are certain things we can do that make us feel grateful to be alive. The kind of experiences that remind you that whatever happens to you, you will be fine. 

I know many people who were going to the Church the day before an interview to feel as grounded and grateful as possible. When you feel good in our own skin and you genuinely believe that the universe is on your side, good things happen. 

These positive beliefs can really make a difference on how you behave during interviews, and therefore affect the outcomes of these interviews. 

Personally, I used to take long walks in nature while reflecting on all the things I’m grateful for in my life. After these walks, I would feel very calm, serene, grounded, and confident to tackle the challenges ahead, including my interviews. Again, everyone is different so you’ll have to find your own spiritual ritual.


A word about the author

Aurelian Tran is the founder of Alpha Lane and an ex-Goldman Sachs analyst who has spent 4+ years working in the investment banking industry.

He founded Alpha Lane to help students and young professionals achieve their highest professional ambitions, by securing offers at top-tier financial institutions.