Too often, humility and lack of confidence can lead to downplaying your experience. Today we’ll look at why that happens, and what you can do instead to confidently present yourself as the best choice for your next role. Watch the video below or read the blog that follows to learn more.
I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day. She runs a marketing company and is hiring a project manager. She noticed a pattern with everyone she interviewed. She would go over what they were looking for in a project manager. Each candidate responded by pointing out the pieces they wouldn’t be able to do. Not a single candidate started with, “That sounds great. Here are the parts where my experience would be a great fit.” As a result, they all came across as unprepared and lacking confidence. She was really disappointed. She believed that any one of them could have been a good match for the role.
This is such a common problem. I hear about it not only in job interviews but also when people are trying to move up in their own companies.
I think there are 3 reasons people fall into this trap.
They don’t want to over-promise. Moving into a new role can be scary. There are always parts of it that will be new or unfamiliar. One of the ways to guard against failure is to set a relatively low bar. Telling the hiring manager what you’re not good at, or where you lack experience, is a way of managing their expectations. The problem is that focusing on what you can’t do underplays your value and makes you less attractive as a candidate for the role.
They actually do lack confidence. Job descriptions are written like wish lists. They include everything anyone could want from a candidate and more. As a result, they can be very intimidating. Seeing such an extensive list might keep you from applying for a job at all. If you do apply, you’ll carry some worry with you into the interview, thinking, “What if I don’t measure up? What if they see that I can’t really do these tasks?” Those thoughts then leak into the conversation.
The reality is that there is rarely a job description that’s a perfect match for any real person’s qualifications and skills. Even a job that’s a great match for you will include skills you still need to develop and others where you’re overqualified. In my career coaching, I work with clients to build what I call their “internal executive presence,” teaching specific tactics for moving out of self-doubt and into a more confident stance. We identify their skills, expertise, and strengths, so they can convey them effectively.
They feel they need to be humble. I think the third thing that gets in the way in interviews is a lifetime habit of feeling you need to be humble. This is especially true for people who’ve been raised in families or in cultures where bragging – or even talking about yourself and highlighting your accomplishments – is unacceptable. They need a strategy for talking about themselves that feels authentic and comfortable. We work on stories and examples as a way of illustrating why they’d be a good fit for the role, without bragging.
Any time you’re in an interview – whether that’s looking for a new job, or a conversation in your own company about your next steps – be sure to focus on what you DO have to offer before you jump into what’s missing. When you do that, you’ll come across with confidence and energy that is compelling. At the end of the day, managers know that there’s no perfect candidate. What they most want is to hire someone they feel they can trust. When you carry yourself with a solid executive presence, that will be you.
To learn more, watch my webinar, “5 Shifts Successful (But Dissatisfied) Professionals Make to Earn the Respect, Recognition and Pay Raises They Deserve.”
Or, if you’re ready to talk about how you can implement these 5 shifts in your own career, schedule a free career breakthrough call with me.