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What Does True Confidence Look Like?

By March 14, 2014 No Comments

cat with lion shadowIf you’ve found yourself drawn to a less-than-qualified candidate or put off by one who seems to match your needs perfectly, you may have been influenced by the applicant’s confidence.  No doubt many of us have been taken in at one point or another by a candidate who was faking it, putting on a pretty convincing show to demonstrate that he or she fit the bill.  Also, it’s not uncommon that recruiters misread cues, interpreting a candidate’s modesty as a lack of confidence or arrogance as a full measure of the person’s assurance in their abilities.

Confidence is awfully attractive in prospective hires, but it comes in many forms.  Can you detect over-confidence or decipher false confidence from the real deal?  Take, for instance:

Moral confidence: Presenting as the candidate’s certainty of the correctness of his actions and ethics.

Social confidence: A candidate who’s very outgoing may be perfect for the job.  An affable personality and a strong moral compass aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive concepts, but depending on the position, you may want to make sure the candidate has both social and morale confidence.

Confidence in skills and talent: Not a great predictor of performance, so don’t rely too heavily on the candidate’s belief in whether he or she can do the job well.  Generally speaking, applicants are more likely to over-estimate their capabilities.  And individuals with an inflated sense of their own talent probably will not recognize when they are doing poorly.

Strategic and tactical confidence: Meaning confidence in one’s ability to wisely choose one’s battles and overcome challenges, with insight enough to know which obstacles are too great and which risks are potentially too costly.

Boundless confidence: In direct opposition to the previous item, this is the notion that no challenge is too great.  Individuals with this “Superman” confidence can be overzealous and even reckless.

Full-faculty confidence: The author suggests this is confidence in one’s cognitive, emotional, volitional, perceptual, valuational and situational faculties.

Unfounded confidence: Be wary of this variety, based in superstition or “feel good” philosophies, such as the notion that positive thoughts alone will yield positive results.  Feelings of invincibility and of certainty that everything will turn out alright are, let’s admit it, a bit delusional.