This newsletter is about the flip side of a subject that gets a lot of attention when the subject of recruitment interviews is raised. i.e. how to overcome nerves, lack of confidence, presentation skills and so on. The flip-side is being over-confident.
It is our observation that a good many position opportunities are lost by candidates coming across as over-confident, even arrogant in their assumption that they are the best person for the role and that the application/interview process is somehow a mere formality.
This over-confidence comes across in many ways. Starting with lack of preparation – “I can wing it” – and continuing on to making assumptions about the role, the interviewer(s) and the company.
The trouble with over-confidence is that the impression taken from it can vary enormously. For example, not taking the trouble to do your homework on a company can be interpreted by the interviewer in a number of ways.
- Lazy. This candidate is just plain lazy because he/she hasn’t shown the courtesy of learning anything about the company.
- Stupidity. For overlooking the need to research.
- Arrogance. “I am so good that they will employ me regardless of the state of my ignorance”.
Over-confidence can also extend into your perceived attitude about the role – being over-confident may lead you down the route of appearing uninterested or diffident about the role. It can send all the wrong signals to the interviewer.
Employers are always on the look-out for people who are really keen to take on a role. Being keen, even anxious gives an edge to an interview that conveys this attitude. Whereas being over-confident or too relaxed robs you of this edge and can give the impression that you are not really interested.
Signs of over-confidence that are apparent to an interviewer include:
- Not asking any questions about the role.
- An aggressive or shambolic posture.
- Dressing inappropriately for the role sought.
- A demeanour that is too casual for the role sought
- Talking over the interviewer, not listening
- Self importance/overselling
- Not bothering to prepare a cover letter or getting by on an inadequate resume.
The reverse of the above points is the answer to the problem of over-confidence. You should always seek to:
- At the appropriate time politely ask questions about the role and the company.
- Sit upright with a posture that displays alert keenness.
- Dress to the standard of the interviewer.
- Never talk over the interviewer.
- Be humble rather than proud and don’t over sell yourself.
- Always send a cover letter that addresses the criteria of the role and make sure your resume is an up-to-date one.
Note: If there is a consultants name in the advertisement for the role, then make sure you use it in addressing the cover letter. Small courtesies can yield good results.