Confidence is a deal breaker when it comes to getting hired. It is one of the only things that has the power to negate inexperience. As a young adult entering the workforce, you will have limited concrete evidence from past performances for an employer to evaluate. This is the time in your life when your presentation can have the biggest influence on the outcome of an interview.
Confidence is a thought in your mind that you choose to believe. The thought is some variation of, “I have the ability to succeed.” Confidence will drive you forward in the face of fear and temporary setbacks, because you are in touch with the feeling inside that you are capable. A lack of confidence manifests itself in insecurity, doubt, and hesitation.
In an economy where there are more job seekers than jobs available, one powerful way to stand out is with confidence. It is contagious. If you have faith that you can accomplish what you set your mind to, an employer will be more likely to share in that belief. This is why narcissists often ace interviews, their self-esteem and confidence is palpable.
You need to approach hiring mangers with unshakable confidence in your ability to provide value. Venkat Kolluri, successful entrepreneur and CEO of the ad network Chitika Inc, phrased it perfectly during a recent presentation for ENET. “You have to turn the tables. You have to have the guts, the confidence, and the downright arrogance to look at them and tell them, ‘You need me. I’m the exception. I’m so awesome that simply by being part of your ecosystem, you will stand to benefit.’” A hiring manger doesn’t want to hear about why their opening is a great opportunity for you. They want to know why they are lucky to have the chance to add you to their team.
Confidence is about more than what you say. It is also communicated through more subtle channels, such as body language and word choice. When seated in an interview, the more physical space your body takes up, the more confident you appear. This doesn’t mean to go eat 10 jelly donuts (unfortunately). It means the vibe you give off will be stronger if you sit with one leg propped up on the other, and one arm stretching across the back of the chair. Don Draper rocks this pose like a pro.
If you have low confidence, it is something you can actively work to improve. The term, “fake it till you make it,” is actually routed in the scientific principal of self-fulfilling prophecies. This is why affirmations actually work. Self-fulfilling prophecies are powerful and real, because when you believe something to be true, you subconsciously act in ways that support the outcome you are expecting. So fake it. If you intentionally act in a certain way, over time you will become that way.
Although it may seem like confidence is the Holy Grail to success, there is one critical caveat. Having too much confidence leads to arrogance. Displaying overt or even subtle arrogant tendencies in an interview is one of the fastest ways to turn someone off. The difference between arrogance and confidence is humility. Someone who is confident yet humble, will talk about their strengths and accomplishments, but will acknowledge the team that supported them, and admit they have more to learn.
Confidence can make or break you in your job search. If you have it, make sure your ego is in check. If you don’t, finding the time and effort to foster it will make all the difference.