After more than two decades in the Executive Search
business, I have learned a lot about what goes into a
successful hire. I try to impart my knowledge to both hiring
managers and candidates. Nevertheless, at many job
interviews I find myself listening to questions that make me
cringe and answers that make me want to cry.
Now it's my turn to talk.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Confidence Game

“Confidence is going after Moby Dick in a rowboat and taking the tartar sauce with you.”
Zig Ziglar

You might be surprised at the number of intelligent, experienced, otherwise “perfect” candidates who could use a little dose of tartar sauce – aka confidence – as they engage in the job interview process.  As someone who prepares my recruited candidates for their interviews and generally attends their initial interviews with the client, I can assure you that it is a rare candidate who does not feel a bit insecure as the interview process begins.  This is probably because the stakes are always high and the occasions for practice rare.

Lack of confidence or the appearance of such can be a big problem in a job interview.  In fact, if I were to name an “X factor” when it comes to the odds of interview success, it would be the perceived confidence of the candidate.  The more advanced the role, the more important the confidence of the candidate becomes.  A hiring manager who may entrust the “keys to the company” to a new employee must be comfortable that that individual is comfortable driving the car.

Some words that communicate confidence in a job interview are “I can do that.”  An even better statement, in my opinion is, “I have done that.”  Not so high on the confidence list is “Well, I think  maybe…”

Confidence inspires confidence.  Consider how you might choose a doctor to treat a family member’s serious illness.  Would you want the MD who seems confident and sure as he communicates his recommendations for treatment or the one who seems just a little unsure about your future treatment and outcomes? 

I am not suggesting anyone should exhibit act false confidence.  In fact, another word for false confidence is obnoxiousness, which can be just as hazardous to a candidate’s interview chances.  But do try to be aware of opportunities during your interview where you can confidently and honestly proclaim, “I can do that” or “I have done that."

If you don't see yourself as a winner, then you cannot perform as a winner.
-Zig Ziglar

Zig Ziglar, who died last year, was an American author, salesman, and motivational speaker-and somewhat of an icon to many in sales related professions, myself included.  He was a motivational speaker who preached goals, confidence, and the power of a positive attitude, among other things.