The Importance of Confidence in Interviewing

The Successful Vagabond Technique

There is a very simple key for successful interviewing to be learned from a couple who successfully traveled around the world on a sailboat. While not requiring a great deal of money for their journey (most of their needs were supplied by the wind and the sea), they did occasionally have need for provisions. So when they made a stopover in the port of a distant country, they would often seek short-term work, usually just enough to replenish their supplies. To compound the difficulty of this task, they were always foreigners in a foreign land, seeking limited-term work, and asking at or above the local prevailing wage. Yet they were always successful in securing employment.

Their secret? Confidence. Simple confidence. Confidence in who they were. Confidence in what they could do. "I can do this job and do it well." They did not go begging for work. They would walk into a company with confidence that they would be able to make an immediate contribution. Confidence that they would be profitable employees. And their confidence came through loud and clear. They found work in every port, near and far, around the world.

Every company, whether in the United States or abroad, looks for confidence when hiring new employees. If you lack confidence, you will not be hired. If you exude confidence, it will cover a multitude of potential shortcomings in other areas. Lacking work experience? Confidence will overcome. Confidence is the great counterbalancing factor for entry level college grads.

When interviewing college students for entry level opportunities, one of the first things employers look for is confidence. The confidence factor is one of the most quickly recognized skills in the brief on-campus interview or job fair interview and one of the more reliable predictors of future performance.

So how do you gain this confidence? Through preparation. Knowing who you are and what you can do. And practicing. Over and over. Until you are both confident in yourself and able to project that confidence to others. Interviewers must also be confident in your ability to do the work. Then, and only then, will they be willing to invest in you.

Have you done your mock interview yet? Doing a mock interview is a great way to build your interview confidence.

The Articulation Factor

The ability to articulate your background is a combination of good preparation (over which you have full control) and vocabulary/enunciation (over which you have practiced control). Your smartness, sharpness, quickness, aggressiveness, and brightness are all attributes that are evaluated based upon your verbal articulation. Clear and comfortable articulation also exudes confidence. If you have "lazy lips" you may want to practice enunciating and forming your words more clearly. And whatever you do, don't continually reach for elusive words to perfectly portray your thoughts and feelings. Any practiced interviewer prefers an individual who is comfortable within their vocabulary level over one who is always searching to use obscure words at the level above.

In practicing your articulation, take careful note of the "quickie" words which we tend to develop in our everyday speech pattern. Words like "gonna" and "yeah" and "y'know" and "kinda" can have a negative interview impact. They can make you sound uneducated and coarse in your presentation style. And they have a habit of repeating. We have all probably had a parent (or sibling) point out the use of "y'know" in our speaking. In addition, you may have particular words or phrases you use for emphasis which can become particularly pronounced in the interview. These would include "to tell you the truth" and "truthfully" and "basically" and "OK, well" and "Like…"

Make sure you are fully prepared for the interview, reviewing both your own background (nothing will kill an interview quicker than a candidate who cannot recall their own personal details) and the background of the employer. Proper research will help you articulate your answers in a clear and succinct manner.

Being Sincerely Honest

If you have a tendency to use phrases such as "To be honest with you," "Just between you and me," and/or "Well, I'll be completely honest about this"— eliminate them from your vocabulary. A person who uses such qualifiers is implying that they typically are not being honest and they are now switching into honesty mode. If you are being honest all the time (which you should be), there is no need to use these kinds of qualifiers, which will detract from how you are viewed as a person.

An interviewer once counted the number of times a candidate said "to tell you the truth" after it became particularly repetitive. She said it over fifteen times. And he ironically (yet predictably) began to question her truthfulness.

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