Is your overconfidence costing you the job?

Confidence matters when you’re interviewing for a job. Not only for yourself – employers love to see it, too.

But when it comes to confidence, how much is too much?

Balancing your confidence with humility is key, says recruitment expert Andrew Morris. Showing some humility or modesty can help you demonstrate to employers that you’re self-aware and ready for the role.

Here’s how you can get the balance right.

4 signs of overconfidence to avoid in an interview

  1. A know-it-all attitude. An interview is all about showing that you have the right skills and knowledge. But it’s also important to show that you’re willing to continue to learn and grow. Make it clear that you’re open to rounding out your experience, expanding your knowledge or taking on new challenges.
  2. Talking non-stop about yourself. Nerves can be hard to handle in an interview, and that’s one reason many of us might waffle in an interview. But talking over the top of the interviewer, or not listening, means your interviewer might perceive you as arrogant or not open to their opinion. If your nerves are getting the better of you, take a deep breath. It’s ok to pause for a few seconds before you answer. You might say ‘that’s a great question’ once in the interview to give yourself a few seconds to think.
  3. Using a ‘hard sell’. If you’ve worked in a sales role before it can be tempting to use classic selling techniques on your interviewer to get the job. But interviewers don’t like feeling forced to make a decision until they’re ready. Remember that rather than being a pitch, the interview is a two-way conversation. So keep that conversation open – ask questions and show your curiosity as well. Ultimately your skills, experience and attitude will help you sell yourself more than a hard sell technique.
  4. Boasting. Employers want to know about skills and achievements you can bring to the role – so don’t be afraid to tell them. But rather than just listing off the skills you have, give examples of how you’ve used those skills in previous roles to benefit the team or business. Or you might talk about an achievement in a way that you can show your gratitude for it.

4 great ways to express your confidence in an interview

Try these tips to show employers that you’re confident in yourself and your skills.

  • Give direct answers. This shows that you know your stuff and don’t need to embellish it.
  • Think about body language. Consider how you can show your confidence through your posture or eye contact. Nodding and smiling can help you show that you understand and reassures your interviewer that they’re being listened to. Being comfortable matters, so wear something that you feel good in, and make sure you have what you need with you – whether it’s a bottle of water or a pen.
  • Show that you’re a team player. Make sure you take credit for your individual achievements – don’t say ‘we’ when you mean ‘I’. But give your interviewer a sense of how you work with others, too. They’ll want to know how you can collaborate with colleagues and work towards shared goals. Be ready to share examples of times you’ve worked well in a team.
  • Ask questions. At some point in your interview, you’ll get a chance to ask your own questions . This is a great opportunity to express your confidence as it shows that you’ve done your research, but that you’re interested in the role and company, too.

Finally, one of the best ways to work out how you’ll express your confidence is by practicing. Try our practice interview builder on your own. Or, see if you can run through a mock interview with a friend or perhaps a professional coach.

Many of us undersell ourselves in interviews, so don’t be afraid to show the skills and experience that you can bring to a role. Try these tips for expressing your confidence the right way, and you’ll be on track to making a positive impression to employers.

Originally published on

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