You’re staring at your computer sending out the next batch of resumes and slightly tweaked cover letters (let’s admit it, we rarely rewrite cover letters!). When you check your inbox some time later, you notice that none of the jobs have responded to you. You wait a bit longer, then, luckily, one response comes back that you received an invitation for an interview.
While you’re preparing for that interview, a lot of nerves creep up. Is this the right story to be telling this person? What if they ask me about why my time at the position was so short?
Before you know it, confidence sabotage sets in.
As much as we try to hide it, we all question ourselves when we are applying and interviewing for jobs. What we may not recognize, however, is that this same line of questioning and challenge could be costing you job offers.
Confidence is an elusive feeling for many of us - we have times when we feel totally comfortable in our skin, and then plenty of other times when something new sets us off into a tizzy. Very naturally, new experiences, problems and challenges test our self-confidence. The problem in our society is that job hunting is predominantly a solo activity. This means rather than airing frustrations and building our story with other people who can provide objective feedback, we turn inwards. This is when self-confidence likens itself to quick-sand. We value complacency. That’s just a human fact, it makes us feel safe and doesn’t turn on our survival mechanism. After all, we used to fend for food and ward off predators. These days we are warding off different predators in order to feel accepted by society- those predators are the unknown risks that remove the feeling of security and control in our lives.
So if we aren’t warding off predators, and still seeking complacency…. then innovating and aligning ourselves to something brand new when there’s an unknown factor doesn’t always come naturally.
So take a deep breath. It’s ok that this all feels uncomfortable at times. You aren’t the only one who second guesses their salary and qualifications. It’s not natural to ask for these things - and yet we are missing out tremendously on new opportunities.
Employers are looking for someone who shows competency and an ability to take on the role. Whether or not you have all of the desired qualifications (oftentimes it’s just a wish list), what they are really hiring you for is how well you believe in what you can do.
In order to show this to a potential employer, you first need to prove it to yourself. Here are the top mistakes that people make during the interview that costs them the job.
Showing low trust in our ability to judge a situation: There’s no way we have experienced EVERYTHING a potential job will throw at us. The biggest mistake that people make is that they get uncomfortable talking about something if they have not yet directly done it. Instead of getting uncomfortable, practice answering without missing a beat - make sure your interviewer sees you answering the question without hesitation even if you are thinking on your feet. Talking through a problem or situation that they are asking about is fine - be sure to show that you trust yourself to solve the problem and save the day (per se)
Lack of motivation to grow personally: Allowing the world to dictate what you do, how you do it, and by when is extremely dangerous for your confidence. If you don’t pursue new skills outside of your current job, you run a HUGE risk of becoming irrelevant in the job market. Don’t let complacency get in the way of growth. Showing that you’re motivated to learn, grow, solve problems and work as a team starts with action. Take it, and build your confidence both on and off your resume with experience that you can share with the interviewer.
Not focusing on our self-values and worth: When we don’t stand up for something, it shows in our performance. Integrity is a huge behavioral trait that potential employers are looking for. Don’t underestimate how easy it is to spot this. If you’re asked about a situation involving ethics, integrity or situational judgment, be prepared to offer solutions. Lacking solutions is the quickest way to lose the interviewer’s attention.Also, if you are scared to ask for more money, check yourself. You aren’t helping anyone by taking less money for the job. The more money you make at your job, the more people you can help (perhaps donating it to a special cause!).
What you chose to limit yourself to: Finding a job that allow ou to grow is much easier when you have a strong sense of belief. If you don’t truly believe that you have the ability to grow in the role, you are going to get stuck in lower level jobs that won’t place high value on you either. Identify a few beliefs that are holding you back right now at this moment. Pick a few skills you feel you can never learn, and go get introduced to it. The more you lean into what makes you uncomfortable, the more confident you are to take on these projects, the more employers want to pay you to help them deal with theirs.
Draining yourself by comparison: When we compare our journey with someone else it’s never going to end well. Everyone starts off with a different set of circumstances, beliefs, and values. When you align yourself with what truly matters to you, what everyone else does looks different to you. Rather than competing, you start to see that people are living their lives according to their set values and beliefs. Believe in your choice to focus on yourself, and don’t allow your confidence to get trampled by someone who doesn’t have anything to do with your story.
Not fully aware of what makes you tick: Getting familiar in a skill set or area that you’re not comfortable in is one thing, but understanding your true strengths is another. Aside from being a well-rounded professional, consider getting immensely good at something you really enjoy. Confidence enjoys more confidence, so if you can spend time growing your own strengths alongside areas that you feel less confident about, the cup is more likely to overflow.
Letting your confidence building go stale: These practices are not to be done once and then left to dry in the sun. Your confidence requires you to constantly find the next challenge grow yourself. It may seem overwhelming at first, but working with someone else to put together a foundation and plan can help to alleviate this stress. Consider working with a coach to help identify those values, and come up with an action plan that’s concrete and automated. If you’d like to talk more about your job search and how this plan can help you, schedule a free call right here.
To your job success!
(Photo Credit: JRH Graphics)