Over the years I’ve seen a lot of very talented people make a multitude of interviewing mistakes on both ends of the spectrum … being over confident, or exhibiting a complete lack of confidence. Make no mistake about it, interviewing is an art and you need to strike the right balance. Do you lack humility and have a tendency to go overboard on self-promotion. Are you so afraid of appearing over confident that you don’t promote yourself at all? In either case, you’ll not have an easy time finding employment regardless of your skill set.
There’s nothing wrong with tooting your own horn and, in fact, you should. It’s important to discuss your exceptional skills and world-class education. But, there are ways to promote yourself without appearing arrogant or cocky! If you appear to have an over-inflated ego and unrealistic expectations, you will find yourself on the job market for a very long time.
There are a number of reasons why people don’t get offers of employment (besides lack of preparation). Here are a few….
- Nerves. Being nervous is normal, but you don’t want to over compensate by clamming up or by rambling.
- Being cocky. No one wants to be around someone that is full of themselves. Tone it down! There’s always someone better, and more humble!
- Shyness. Shyness can be interpreted as arrogance, or as a lack of interest or confidence. Step it up! What do you have to lose?
Being aware of how you are perceived is important. Let’s explore some of the small things you can do to come across as confident, yet humble.
- Promote your value by giving examples on how you can contribute … not just personal contributions, but contributions for the success of others and the organization. Using an occasional pronoun like “I,” is okay, but don’t overuse it. It can make you appear egotistical. Make reference to team accomplishments whenever possible by using the word “we.”
- Bank on the fact that you will be asked about your weaknesses. No one likes discussing their faults, but we are human and have them! Show some humility by being honest about things you’ve had to work on, but make sure to discuss what you’ve done to improve upon those things. Turn a “perceived” negative into a positive!
- Body language speaks VOLUMES! Have an open and welcoming posture, both standing and sitting. For example, don’t cross your arms as it sends a message that you’re closing yourself off. On the flip side, don’t sit with arms outstretched like you own the place … it screams arrogance! Don’t slouch as it can be interpreted as low self-esteem or a “couldn’t care less” attitude (way too casual). Stand / sit up straight and lean in slightly. It shows you’re paying attention and have a real interest in what the interviewer has to say.
- When shaking hands, don’t have a limp hand, but don’t bring people to their knees either. Offer a firm, comfortable handshake while looking your interviewer in the eye. Introduce yourself (if not already taken care of) and let your interviewer know you appreciate their time by thanking them for the opportunity and letting them know it’s nice to meet them.
- SMILE! Looking someone in the eye and gifting them with a smile is one of the most powerful things a person can do. Smiling engages people and pulls them in.
My final piece of advice in this blog is that you do your research prior to an interview. Learn as much as you can about the people with whom you’ll meet, the department you’ll potentially work in and the company as a whole. When I say know your audience, I mean know your WHOLE audience … company culture included!
HIRING MANAGERS: Many of these tips, if you apply them as well, will go a long way toward getting the most out of your interviews. If job seekers feel comfortable with you, you’ll potentially learn a lot more about them!
CONCLUSION: “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.” ~CF Lewis~
Don’t mistake humility for low self-esteem. Being humble means that you don’t put yourself front and center all the time and that you can show kindness and compassion with a strong sense of your own limits. Humility is not a weakness … it’s a notable strength of some of the most successful leaders! Now, this isn’t to say that some employers don’t love confidence that borders on arrogance. After all, flying under the radar and doing great work is definitely not enough. You DO need to get noticed! The bottom line is that success isn’t just about skills, success hinges on a balance of skills, confidence and humility … as well as knowing your audience. I’m not saying that you should change your personality. Never, ever change who you really are. Simply work on your delivery! It’s all in the packaging! Companies spend millions of dollars on packaging for a reason. Their product may often be the same or similar to their competitors’, but it’s the appeal that gets the sale!
Do you have career or life questions?
If so, comment below and I’ll be happy to respond!
Thanks for sharing your time with me and reading my BLOG!
Warm regards…. Debra
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