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Confidence in the Job Interview

confidence in the job interview

look em straight in the eye and SMILE, SMILE, SMILE

Confidence in the Job Interview:

If you get nothing from this post, remember this when you interview:  SMILE, SMILE, SMILE!

Smile =  Confidence in the job interview

First impressions mean everything with a job interview and despite what you think, it is VERY easy to make a good impression. Based on my experience, a lot of candidates must feel that they are going to be hired based on their resume and qualifications and not on how they present themselves. I want to talk about how to send all the right signals and how to avoid sending yellow flags on this critical first impression. I think first impressions fall into two categories. The first impression that you give to the recruiter or hiring manager and the first impression you THINK you are portraying.

Let’s address the first impression you THINK you are portraying:

Some people are graced with good looks, the right height, and a dazzling smile. You are probably showing confidence in the job interview without trying.  If you are one of these people consider yourself lucky.  Some of us may be carrying a few extra pounds, feel we are a little short or have thinning hair. There may or may not be something you can do about the physical, but there is something you can do about your image. There is a difference between your physical look and the image you project.  Most people want to work with people who are comfortable with themselves, considerate of others and who want to work hard. Ask yourself about prior coworkers that you enjoyed working with and those that you didn’t.  I bet you are remembering people who were considerate, took initiative, helped you learn, responsible, and generally “positive people”. Physical looks probably didn’t even come up. If you were to ask 10 people what they look for in their coworkers, they aren’t going to mention looks. The flip side of that is when you ask people about who they didn’t like to work with, how they present themselves, how they feel about themselves, and the image they project does come up.

If you think you have any shortcoming, forget about it.  Fake it.  Confidence in the job interview can be faked.  You would be amazed how many people bring up their shortcomings in an interview and 99% of the time, these shortcomings have NOTHING TO DO WITH THE JOB.  Don’t bring up your shortcoming and don’t make excuses for it.  Don’t bring attention to your thinning hair, your height, or any other insecurity you may have.  Stand tall, speak clearly, smile, and look people in the eye. This is how to show confidence in the job interview.   These are all easy to do and WILL make a HUGE difference in the impression you leave. 

Put another way, if you are hunched over, fidgeting, don’t smile and are looking everywhere in the interview room except at the hiring manager the impression will be very different, and I don’t care if you could be a Calvin Klein model. If you casually mention that you are short, are losing your hair, are overweight or make ANY hints to your age, others in the room will take notice.

  • You can appear too short for the NBA (Spud Webb 5 foot 7 dunking over Manute Bol 7 foot 7 
  • You can be too big to be a running back in the NFL (William Perry Chicago Bears
  • You can even appear NOT smart enough from a first impression to work in the area of the Big Bang Theory like Stephen Hawkins.

I am a hard ass, and I have hired people in every protected class. I have offered positions to minorities where English was a second language, people over 40, over 50, handicapped, and individuals of different religions and sexual orientation. Don’t bring up your insecurity and, don’t bring attention to it.  I am not saying any of the above are “weaknesses”. I only use them as an example because I think that so many people in protected classes look at themselves this way.  Sometimes people perceive “being different” as a “weakness”. I personally fall into 2 of the above-mentioned categories and probably appear to fall into three. I am not going to bring up ANY self-perceived weakness in any conversation whether it is an interview or a personal conversation.

In every case, the candidates that were hired were competent in their fields, and during the interview conducted themselves in a professional manner. This translates to confidence in the job interview.  In most cases, I am sure that these candidates were very aware of their differences, but they didn’t let them get in the way. They didn’t overcompensate for the difference, and they didn’t under compensate for them. Differences were a “non-issue”.

A prior company I worked with had a saying on the business cards:  “looking for scary smart individuals who are also really cool”.  Some people looked at this motto and said this was being prejudiced.  That it would only appeal to people from a younger demographic.  I beg to differ. I know PLENTY of people over 40, 50 and 60 who fit this mantra. We hired them at this company. I know people in EVERY PROTECTED CLASS that fit this mantra. Being really cool in my opinion is about being comfortable with yourself. Folks who complain, make excuses, or whine about their situation are just “not cool”. Yes, we hired a lot of people over 40 and 50 who fit this mold. Confidence is sexy.

After talking with 1000’s of candidates, in my opinion, at the end of the day, if you are positive, confident about your “perceived” appearance and communicate in a confident manner, people will listen.   People who hold these qualities are often quick to smile.  When they talk, they are literally smiling.  Of course, you have to know what you are talking about, but if you don’t know the answer, don’t wing it and don’t lie about it.  Be honest.  Hopefully, people will listen to what you have to say and how you say it vs. what you look like, but what I am trying to do is improve the odds and talk about the “unsaid”.  Per my “about me” page, I see people hurting their chances at success and often times have they no idea about the damage they are doing.

See you at the after party,

HRNasty

nasty: an unreal maneuver of incredible technique, something that is ridiculously good, tricky and manipulative but with a result that can’t help but be admired, a phrase used to describe someone who is good at something. “He has a nasty forkball”.

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