Do you know someone who always lands a job, even when they don’t fully qualify? Or a coworker who excels but doesn’t have nearly the amount of skills or educational background that you do? Well, there’s a better skill, a magic bullet you might say, that each of them likely possess. Do you want to know what it is?
The real secret to success is CONFIDENCE.
Think of Chris Gardner, the man portrayed by actor Will Smith in the movie “Pursuit of Happyness”. Not only was he homeless when he landed an internship as a stockbroker, but he did so even though he lacked the educational background and employment history required. What he did possess, though, was an impressive amount of confidence as he interviewed in front of a panel of powerful, likely intimidating businessmen.
Why is confidence more important than skills?
Confidence will drive you to achieve whatever skills you are lacking.
Chris Gardner was hungry (no pun intended) for an opportunity. While I don’t personally know Mr. Gardner, I would imagine that he didn’t allow himself to nurture negative thoughts. Had he done so, doubts and insecurity would’ve emanated in his voice.
You must first believe that you can succeed at anything.
How to convey confidence when interviewing.
Let’s face it. Most of us aren’t jumping for joy at the thought of being interrogated by a stranger on who, what, why, and when? Even if we really want the position, there’s a level of anxiety we all experience. But, here are some ways to stand out from the rest and show your potential employer that YOU are the person for the job:
- The Handshake. While not too firm, your handshake should convey that you are confident and up for the challenge. Maintain eye contact as you introduce yourself. Bend the elbow and keep your hand steady. Avoid the double handed shake, as it is more casual and can be taken as presumptuous.
- Smiling is Contagious. Leave whatever negative mood you’re in outside. Once you enter the building, lights, camera, action, you’re on! A smile is not only friendly and inviting, but it will also put you at ease. So, it’s a win win.
- Look into my eyes, but don’t creep me out. Eye contact certainly conveys confidence. But, you don’t want to appear weird to the interviewer. To avoid seeming creepy, try an occasional tilt of the head (think, “that’s interesting”), nod, or laugh (if appropriate, of course).
- Assess your strengths and weaknesses (strengths to be honed). This is a tricky question. When discussing your strengths, you want to be speak confidently, yet not appear arrogant. And while employers want to hear that you acknowledge room for growth, when discussing your weaknesses, it’s not the time to whine and beat yourself up. Instead, work on mastering the art of what I like to call, “Twisting a Strength”. For example, stating that your weakness is that you tend to take on too much work is a roundabout way of showing the potential employer that you are a hard worker.
- Fact Dropping. Research the company profile in advance and take note of recent news, rankings and milestones. Avoid sounding like a Wikipedia page by strategically stating facts when answering questions. Or, put it in your arsenal of questions to ask at the end of the interview.
- Perfecting the Poise. Poise is almost as necessary as possessing the qualifications for the position. It conveys to the potential employer that you work well under pressure. So how do you cultivate poise? Practice, practice, practice. Having mock interview sessions will help you rehearse your answers. Ask a Mentor or someone you admire to assist you. The more you practice, the more prepared you will be for interviewing.
Poise is a result of being well-prepared.
Tip: Avoid slurs of speech (“umm”, “uh”, etc.) by:
- Taking a brief pause to gather your thoughts.
- Re-stating the question.
- Relaxing. Just be yourself.
So, how about setting a GOAL to cultivate CONFIDENCE in the workplace?
I’m confident that you can do it.
LaQuita S Davis