I recently sat in on an interview, as the person walked in the room he initially came across as confident, but soon it became clear he was very nervous. I quickly started to think, this person is too nervous. Sucks, right? I mean who isn’t nervous during an interview, but…. It was a bad sign...
Confidence is key, and not just the smoke and mirrors kind. True confidence that comes from your core is easily distinguishable from the kind that is frantically trying to hide the fear of not being good enough. The truth is, as the interview went on it was apparent this person was going a mile a minute, but the trouble was, were they sure of their own destination? When asked a question such as “what would your current boss say are your weaknesses?” he couldn’t come up with anything, and worse he would restate the question with surety, then give a brief anecdote, but never actually answer the question.
At the end of the interview I was asked by the department director and hiring managers what my opinion was of the prospect. I sat there and said, "well, I don’t doubt he could do the job, but he lacked self-awareness,” to which they all unanimously agreed.
These where the MAJOR MISTAKES:
1. He didn’t know himself well enough to understand his own weaknesses inhibiting him from answering questions specifically crafted to expose these, mistake number one.
2. His energy was too high, it came off as cocky instead of confident, which made it seem like he was overcompensating for qualities he was lacking, mistake number two.
3. He was so rehearsed in his response delivery he never actually listened, mistake number three.
4. Interviews are tricky, but use our cited friend to help you assess how to approach your next one.
Here are some tips to help you channel the RIGHT kind of CONFIDENCE at your next interview:
1. If you were called in for an interview, it’s because those who are considering you for the position, already know you can do the job, at this point they want to get a sense of who you are, and how you will fit in with their assembled team
2. If you are confused by a question and feel the nerves kicking into third gear pause, take a breath and ask for a moment to properly put your thoughts together. Interviewers will be more frustrated if you fail to answer the question all together versus asking for clarification.
3. Be honest, don’t feel like it’s the time to hide crucial information such as scheduling issues you might have with the role, etc. You don’t want to be offered the job on false pretenses and then look flighty when you have to make a ton of caveats that could have come to light in the first place.
4. You are also interviewing the company, it’s more of a two way street than you imagine. Don’t you want to be happy where you work? It’s just as important for you to be happy as it is to prove to yourself you can get any job ever. Come with questions that will help you understand work life balance, team dynamics, leadership styles, and succession management. You have a say on whether you work there or not too, don’t forget.