We all know how important the interview is in the hiring process. Beyond your resume, cover letter, and phone screen is the interview. This is a major component in your quest to convince the Hiring Manager that you are the best person for the role and should be hired.
There are a number of critical aspects to an interview such as your timeliness, preparation, thoughtfulness of your answers, and your professional demeanor. Another area that is at the top of the list for importance is how confident you appear to be to the Hiring Manager.
While no Hiring Manager wants to interview someone displaying arrogance, it is very appealing to be discussing the position with someone who is confident about their ability and is determined to convey why they are the best person for the position.
There are a number of ways an individual can display confidence in their interview. You can “look the part” by wearing a professional outfit . Your opening greeting can make a confident first impression by welcoming the Hiring Manager warmly. Making eye contact and keeping a good posture during the discussion can also help you display the proper confidence. Finally, maintaining a fairly even tone with the proper pausing in your response can really impress and add gravity to whatever is being said.
What we say is also critical in the expression of confidence during an interview. There are definitely words or phrases that you should either stress or avoid during your discussion with the Hiring Manager. Let’s look at some examples of each.
• “Let Me Tell You About a Time”: This automatically tips off the Hiring Manager that you are going to say something that they will want to hear. It also lays strong groundwork that whatever is said will be positive towards your candidacy.
• “I am Glad You Asked”: Starting your answer with this type of phrase displays that you have a great response coming and that you were hoping that the interviewer would ask about it. This reinforces to the Hiring Manager that you prepared for the interview and the questions you may be asked.
• Keywords such as “saved”, “solved”, and “won”: These all express to the Hiring Manager that you did something that was integral to the success of a project or the company as a whole.
• If given a scenario to respond to, please answer definitively with “I would” or “I believe” rather than a weaker response, such as “I think” or “In my opinion”. You want the listener to know that you are sure of your answer, perhaps because you have been down that road before in your career.
• “Does That Make Sense?”: It is great to check for understanding, but this phrase assumes that you probably did not do a respectable job of being clear, or that you are not sure of the thought yourself. I would assume that the Hiring Manager is following and understands, unless they ask a question or display in some way that they are confused.
• “I tried…”: The Hiring Manager does not want to hear about when you tried something. The focus should always be on things you (and a team if applicable) accomplished. “I tried” leads the listener in the direction that whatever is said will be underwhelming and, perhaps, not of significant importance.
• Any term that makes what you are going to say seem less important. Opening your answer with a “Needless to Say” or “It Goes Without Saying” just makes the Hiring Manager question whatever is said next. Even worse, they might have their attention wane as they think about the next question to ask (since the upcoming answer can’t be that important).
• Using the word “sorry” when you have not explicitly done something wrong, can make you seem “weak” and subservient. Don’t apologize for your answers and (even more importantly) for the questions that you plan to ask. When it is your time to question the Hiring Manager, that is “your time” and does not need to be prefaced with any type of apology first.
When the candidates for a position have similar educational and work backgrounds, it is often the intangibles that determine who receive the position offer. A candidate who consistently displays confidence during the hiring process will most certainly “catch the eye” of the Hiring Manager and receive extra consideration for the role.
As always, best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of RochesterJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
WNY Human Resources Professional
Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: