We are all plagued by self-doubt—anxiety over pursuing something new and fear of failure. Well—to be fair—this not necessarily all-inclusive; there are some people who are too stupid to be afraid and those who lie and pretend that they are always super-confident and self-assured.
When you are interviewing for a new job or trying to advance within your current company, having self-confidence is essentially important. The hiring manger and potential, future co-workers desire a person who they believe will get the job done and, ultimately, do it well. If the applicant comes across as indecisive, scared or wishy-washy (yes, that is a sophisticated recruiting term), the interviewers will assume that the candidate doesn’t possess the right skills, appropriate personality, lacks assertiveness and will pass on them. It is an unfortunate situation. Many times, the person who has all the right skills and experiences may not come across as confident in the interview as a smooth blowhard who knows all the right things to say, but really knows nothing.
There is also this weird fixation—especially in certain industries such as banking and finance— that hiring managers need to feel that the candidate is strong, aggressive, outgoing and bold. They misread a quiet confidence for weakness and I have been told on numerous occasions that they did not hire this soft-spoken person because they felt they would be “ripped apart and eaten alive by the business people.”
Here is a quick way to build your confidence.
- Before you go on an interview, assess all the skills, background and education that you have acquired over the years that are relevant to the job. You will quickly surprise yourself by how great and knowledgeable you are.
- Conduct in-depth homework on the company and the individuals you will be meeting with. You want to be an expert on the organization, its products and services, aware of its reputation within the industry and cognizant of any current issues or problems.
- Practice by role-playing the interview out loud. Go through all the possible questions that they may ask and carefully prepare and perfect your answers. Keep doing this until you are on autopilot. The fear diminishes as you realize that you are able to address almost anything they could possibly ask you. Without realizing it—over time, you will become super confident. The greater your knowledge the more powerful you will feel.
- In addition to the practical matters, you need to work on your mindset. We all have negative-feedback loops running all day long in our heads that remind us of our failures and shortcomings. It happens so much that we just get used to it. You need to stop the tape right now. Replace it with all the positive things that you have accomplished. When you feel the thoughts like “I don’t have enough experience for this job” or “Why would they want me when there are so many other great candidates?” immediately tune them out. Think back to all the attributes that you possess that are aligned with the job expectations. Then, roll that tape in your mind outlining why you are so awesomely perfect for the job.
Spending time researching, preparing, practicing and positively changing your mindset will imbue you with all the confidence needed to succeed in the interview.