That’s not an easy combination of skills to find in one person, but we had narrowed our choices to two candidates based on strong resumes and an initial phone conversation.
When it came to the in-person interviews, the contrast was stark and the choice became obvious rather quickly.
Candidate A’s body posture and eye contact communicated a complete lack of self-confidence. He rarely looked at me when I spoke to him or asked a question, and his responses were vague and uncertain. He was so clearly uncomfortable that it was a relief for him and me when the interview ended.
I couldn't imagine him on the phone interacting with our customers, who are looking for someone to reassure them and take command of a problem when they call.
When Candidate B arrived later, I was impressed. He sat up in his chair, looked me straight in the eye, and was quite articulate in explaining why he’d be the ideal candidate for the job. He maintained his poise no matter what types of questions I threw his way. His references were stellar, and he gave several examples of solving customer problems in other jobs he’d held. We hired him because it was easy to picture him competently handling a variety of situations with our software users.
During the years that he worked for us, we consistently got rave reviews from customers about his attitude and skills. It was not uncommon for me to receive unsolicited emails and notes about the outstanding service he provided.
Whether or not you’re in an interview situation, people are assessing your levels of competence and confidence all the time. They do this by observing the way you speak and carry yourself.
What message do YOU send?
If you’re not conveying the strength and self-assurance that you'd like to, here are two ideas for boosting your confidence.
1. Start paying more attention to what you do well, not the mistakes you make or the skills you lack. We all have room for improvement, but you possess many abilities that can serve you and others well. Heed this advice from American educator Henry Van Dyke:
“Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best.”
2. Absorb, internalize and apply the wisdom from these champions in the world of sports, who understand at a deep level what it takes to build confidence.
Golf great Jack Nicklaus: “Confidence is the most important single factor in this game, and no matter how great your natural talent, there is only one way to obtain and sustain it: work.”
Arthur Ashe from the world of tennis: "One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation."
Pro football quarterback Roger Staubach: “Confidence is the result of hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication.”
Your level of confidence will affect everything you do and say in life. So if your lack of confidence is holding you back, commit today to do the necessary work to improve it, one step at a time.