The MOST important trait that you can bring to the interview is Self-Confidence
How Do You Demonstrate Confidence?
As you read articles and books about interviewing you will notice that most of the information focuses on “being prepared.” When you look closely at the information provided by “experts,” you will notice that a great many of the tips given concern the external preparation. These are tips ranging from what to “wear to the interview,” to having the “correct body language,” or information on giving a “strong handshake,” and having a “script or stories” ready for the interview. There is much less emphasis or information found on internally preparing for the interview.
Internal preparations start with your feelings about yourself, as well as your feelings about going out to find a job and interviewing. If you have been having a difficult time finding a job or have been laid off, your self-confidence may be running a little low on fuel. Your feelings about yourself, and your self- esteem, or self-confidence is fragile and can change from situation to situation. Think about the following statement:
Are you prepared to go out and sell yourself, and feel good about what you are selling – YOU? If your answer was, “No,” there is some work to do on the inside before you can sell on the outside.
If you ask any sales person, he or she will tell you that it is much easier to sell a product that you believe in than it is to go through the motions of being passionate about something you really don’t think is a reputable product or can give good results. Individuals who do not believe in their own ability cannot possibly convince someone else on the idea that they are the “best” candidate for the job. Beginning by believing in yourself will help you have the confidence to influence someone else to “buy” what you are selling.
Poor Example: I think I am pretty good when it comes to helping people with problems. Good Example: My strengths are my customer service skills and my ability to get to the root of a problem to help customers.
When you use weak terms like, “pretty good,” you send the message that you are not strong, just ok. Which would you hire? Someone who is “pretty good” at helping people with problems, or, someone who says his strengths are customer service and problem solving? Not much room for doubt there.
But, how exactly do you develop self-confidence?
Only when you believe in yourself can you convince someone else that you are the best person for the job.
A good way to begin your internal preparation is with an inventory of your capabilities. That means getting in touch with your strengths as well as your areas of weakness. You will find it very empowering to know what you have to offer. It is also a good idea to know what your short and long term goals are. What do you want?
A simple exercise that will help you answer these questions will also help you take a look inside yourself and begin to think about what you want “more of,” and what you want “less of” in your next job. People usually perform at a higher level if they are satisfied with the work that they do and as a result are more motivated to give 100% plus.
Begin by making a list of the tasks at your last job. These would be the tasks that you were particularly proud of, or were energized by. In other words, when your job “turned you on.” Think about the last time you were so involved in a project or task that you woke up thinking about how you could improve the situation. Write those experiences down and try to determine what the factors were that were satisfying for you.
Let’s say you were a “Project Leader.” The tasks list would read something like: “Led a team; coordinated and monitored project progress; assured the flow and completion of work on schedule; monitored expenditures and budget.”
What were the stimulating tasks of this job? Was it the leadership aspect? Or, was it the challenge of coordinating the details and people? Was it completing the project on time or below budget? Were there customers involved (internal or external) and, if so, is that what you found most challenging? What didn’t you like, and hope that you will do less of in your next job?
After you have written this list for your current job, try doing the same thinking about previous jobs. If you recently graduated from college, use the classes that were most stimulating and interesting for you, or the projects you worked on with teams while in school.
By making lists of motivating experiences from your last two or three jobs, you will hopefully begin to see patterns of projects and tasks that stand out. Analyze what you did before. Do you want more of this type of responsibility in your next job? The answers to these questions will give you the answer to what you want and some possibilities for fulfillment in future jobs that have similar responsibilities. Knowing what you want will make you feel more confident about finding the right job.
Thinking about these and other questions about yourself will give you power and knowledge to be able to sell yourself. You will also discover what makes you unique and what differentiates you from the next candidate who walks through that door.