Confidence – Own it!

August 13, 2010

I conducted quite an interesting mock interview a few days ago. This candidate has struggled in getting past the first round interview and came in for a mock interview to possibly identify where he needs the most improvement. So he comes in, sits down, looks very sharp and is very quiet and still, with no facial expression.  He waits for the first question…

  • Question: Tell me about your past experience. (For all of you job seekers, the truth behind this question is tell me about what experience you have that will benefit me/my company.) Answer: The candidate proceeds to list out his duties in great detail, and drones on and on.  So I try to dive in a little deeper to uncover how he has made an impact in his previous experience.
  • Counter Question:  What skills can you offer me?  Answer: Well, I have X years of experience, but I really have not done the abc which is listed in the job profile.  I have not had the opportunity to work with XYZ.  With my team, I have assisted with …etc. etc…
  • Follow-up Question: Can you give me some examples of your different leadership roles?  Answer: Well, I have not held any formal leadership roles. But I have led some teams in…
  • Question: If there were  a skill you could have continued to develop in your previous professional experience, what would it be?  Answer: Formal Leadership

The whole time during this interview I am thinking to myself…  “WHAT?  This guy doesn’t think he has anything to contribute.”  If he hasn’t done anything and has zero confidence in himself, then I surely am not going to take a chance on hiring him only to convince him that he is good enough for the job.  If you have been called in for an interview, it is apparent the company thinks you have the skills necessary to perform the duties of the assigned position.  Otherwise they would not waste their time and yours. Not to mention, if you actually look at this candidate on paper, he held numerous leadership roles, is incredibly involved, personable, and an active participant in literally everything in which he is involved.  But  here is the problem…he was too worried about over-inflating his answers that he ended up appearing  weak, incompetent, and lacking in self-confidence. With each question that was asked, he began with what he has not had the opportunity to do instead of focusing on what he has to offer.  He mentioned that he does not want to be perceived as being arrogant.  But in actuality, he was being too humble.

Advice:  Own it!  In the interview, you have to demonstrate what you have to offer, not from your team, from you.  If you don’t believe in yourself, I am not going to either. With each line on your resume, you are demonstrating a skill (if you have a good resume) and that is what you need to promote.  How did you make an impact with the skills you have?  How is that going to help me as the employer?  Does it relate to the position in which you are applying?

There are times to be humble but the interview is not one of those times.  Don’t get me wrong, it is also not a time to be arrogant.  You have to let the company know that you have what it takes to do the job, and if you can’t demonstrate that ability, then guess what.  I will go with the candidate who can.  Confidence is the key…the perfect combination of preparation and opportunity.

Own it!  Work it!  And don’t forget to smile.



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