One trend that I have noticed among candidates in the past few months is a tendency to be timid during interviews. While there has always been a certain percentage of job seekers exhibiting this behavior, I’ve noticed it more lately. It may be due to the large number of people in the job market or the fact that many have been safely ensconced in the same job for the last fifteen years and the layoff has caused them to question their qualifications.
Whatever the reason, being shy or diffident during interviews works against you. Interviewers smell the underlying fear and weed out the faint of heart.
When I coach clients to highlight their expertise in conversations with hiring managers, they sometimes express concern about being overconfident or appearing to have a big head. In my experience, those who worry the most about this are the least likely to demonstrate the behavior.
During interview conversations, your goal is to sell yourself at the right level. Don’t oversell but certainly don’t undersell yourself. Pretending to be less than who you are will result in missed opportunities and lower than market-rate compensation.
The first rule of thumb is to apply for jobs that are a good fit, and which force you to stretch a little. You don’t want a job that you are going to master in two months and then have to slog through for the next three years before you are eligible for a promotion.
Here are some tips for demonstrating confidence, competence and commitment during your next interview.
Be bold! The key to a successful interview is striking the right balance. It is possible to humbly tout your successes and enthusiastically express how your expertise will benefit the company. During interviews, share relevant examples of recent successes. That’s not bragging that’s showcasing value.
If you are uncomfortable interviewing on a video platform (and who isn’t), practice with a friend or hire a coach to put you through your paces. Don’t wait until the interview to discover that you are intimidated by the medium.
Research the company and interview team. The more you know about the organization and the people who work there the more easily you can find common ground. Candidates often underestimate the importance of connecting with the team. Make no mistake, you must be qualified, you must be interested, and yes, you must be likable. Technical competence is not enough.
Approach each interview with the goal of discovering if there is a potential fit. Prepare questions that help you understand the nature of the position, the level of expertise required, and commitment expected. I have been working with a candidate who is interviewing for a human resources director position that at times will require 24/7 availability. That is a big ask. Before he commits to that much responsibility, he needs answers to specific questions about the company’s operations, corporate structure and job expectations.
Finally, ask for the sale. Too many job seekers lose out because they are reluctant to follow up after an interview. Following up after the interview isn’t pushy, it demonstrates sound judgment.
©2020 Mary Jeanne Vincent. All rights reserved.