Monday, August 9, 2010

Convey Confidence, Not Arrogance, in the Interview

Your goal in a job interview is to sell yourself as the right candidate for the job. The challenge, though, is to do this confidently, not arrogantly. How others perceive you is subjective; what may seem like confidence to one hiring manager may be interpreted as arrogance by another.

Keep the following in mind to portray confidence in your interviews:

  • Be aware of your body language: A lot is communicated through body language. A firm handshake, direct eye contact, and good posture can all indicate confidence.
  • Be friendly: Smile and strike up small talk before the interview starts or after it closes. Be friendly to everyone you encounter at the company where you are interviewing.
  • Use examples: Giving concrete examples highlighting your qualifications and/or accomplishments will be better received and more powerful than providing a verbal laundry list.
  • Ask questions: Asking questions about the company or position indicates that you have a genuine interest in the job and that you are open to learning new things.
  • Acknowledge others: As you speak of your accomplishments, acknowledge when others have had a hand in helping you attain professional success. For example, you might mention you worked with a team to reach a particular goal. This sends the message that you can work collaboratively.
  • Accept accountability: Often an interviewer will ask you to share a time when a task and/or project did not go well. Be prepared to accept accountability for your role in a less-than-ideal task or project outcome and emphasize that it resulted in an excellent learning opportunity.
  • Share your knowledge: If you are a professional mentor, have spoken at conferences related to your profession, or you’ve been published (even if it’s your own blog), mention these examples of how you’re sharing knowledge with others.

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