Interview Tip: Confidence

By Megan Kuethen

It’s standard practice for us to talk with our candidates right after an interview because, the truth is, as recruiters we’re just as excited about it as you are! Since we have the misfortune of not being invited along most of the time, we can’t wait for you to call and tell us what questions the interviewer asked, how long it took, and whether or not you think you’re a fit for the job.

And that’s important. We always ask, “Do you feel you could do this job?” and, “At this stage, if you were offered the position, would you accept it?” So much of the time, we hear candidates say “yes” to both questions.

 Which is all fine and well, really, if that’s what you believe. But probably two thirds of the time, when I call the hiring manager to discuss the interview, they say, “Yeah, it went well. Jane can do this and that, and her views on company culture really line up. But when we asked her to tell us about her experience manufacturing widgets, she said, ‘Well, I’m not sure that my experience is strong enough for you.’ If she doesn’t think she’s strong enough, we certainly don’t either. So I’m sorry to say that Jane will not be moving on to the next round of interviews.”

 Basically, candidates are eliminating themselves in interviews by saying that they aren’t qualified, don’t have enough experience, or don’t have the right experience. The WORST thing about this, in my opinion, is that the hiring manager or interviewer NEVER asked these candidates their opinion of whether or not they could do the job. They asked, “What is your experience with underwater basket weaving?” and the candidates said, “Well, I only have some experience in that, so I’m not sure I’m the right person for the position.”

Don’t be that candidate! If you’re not sure about your ability to do the job, just remember that there’s a reason you got an interview in the first place. Here are some things you should know about the process of finding candidates to interview:

1. We go through a very thorough screening process of all our candidates. Very thorough. By the time we send your resume to the client, it has passed through at least three staffing professionals here. Even if you aren’t going through a staffing firm, the hiring manager for this position has looked at your resume, and something on it caught his eye. There’s no way he’d waste his time with a candidate he felt iffy about.

2. If we didn’t believe that you were a good candidate, we wouldn’t have submitted you. And if we learned something along the way that made us think you weren’t right for this job, I can guarantee you that we’d pull you out of the running. Seriously. We do this all the time when candidates do stupid things to let us know that they aren’t serious. (It’s Tuesday, and I’ve already done this twice this week.) Your performance reflects on us, and we want our clients to think of us as the best. Ergo, you won’t make it to an interview if we don’t think you should be there.

Remember to answer the question you’re asked. If a hiring manager directly asks you if you believe you are fit for the job, answer honestly. We definitely positively absolutely advocate for total truthfulness in the hiring process. But few hiring managers ask this question, or another like it, and they know 100 times better than you do what they’re looking for. These interviewers have no problem eliminating candidates from the process, so make sure that you leave that up to them. Answer the question. Tell them about your experience manufacturing widgets, even if it was in Mexico and you think they might do things differently, or the eight months you spent underwater basket weaving. YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOUR EXPERIENCE IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY’RE LOOKING FOR!!!

Have confidence in yourself during an interview. You’re there for a reason!

Megan Kuethen ©  2010.

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