Showing confidence (even when you’re not feeling it)


The job search is a daunting task — mostly because it pushes us out of our comfort zone. It’s hard to get motivated to do activities that we’re not particularly skilled at and uncertain of the results. In order to be successful you have to have a strong desire and understand your why. If a new job leads to growth opportunities, better cultural fit and greater financial rewards — then it becomes a worthwhile venture.

Just like learning a new skill, the more progress you make, the more confident you feel. And even when you don’t feel it, there are simple ways to act confidently and increase your chances of success. 

Here are a few best practices, which may feel counterintuitive and uncomfortable, but I promise, they’ll serve you well. 

  • Turn down opportunities. If you’ve set the criteria that’s most important to you, then you’ll be able to evaluate roles more effectively. If you’re unsure, you can approach the first screen as a discovery call to learn more about the company and role. If it becomes clear that it’s not the right fit, then you can ask questions to understand how the company is organized, what other groups are relevant and how to pursue a role there.

If you get an invitation to a full interview loop and know it’s not the right fit, be confident and brave enough to gracefully bow out. Let them know you’re grateful for the opportunity, but are focusing on roles that give you the opportunity to do X. This saves both of you significant time and energy — and leaves you in good standing. 

  • Ask for help. The people who typically have the most straightforward job search are the ones who ask for help. They strategically network and make specific requests — asking for intel, referrals and introductions to hiring managers and recruiters. They also ask for advice and support on navigating the hiring process. Having an internal advocate is worth their weight in gold.


  • Give yourself enough time to prepare. Even when they say they’re in a hurry to hire, it still takes weeks (if not months). Be strategic when scheduling your interviews. Give yourself plenty of time to do research, craft the best answers and practice. By the way, it’s rarely an advantage to interview early — they often calibrate their criteria and questions after talking to the first few candidates. So if they ask for your availability over the next 2 weeks, aim for the second week. 

For the interview loop, ask the recruiter for a prep session. Have them walk through the list of people you’ll meet. Find out if they’ll ask behavioral or hypothetical questions and get their advice on what to focus on. 

  • Interview them. Prepare a list of thoughtful questions to get a feel for the role, the team and the company culture. Ask questions like: “What do you enjoy most about working here and what you find most challenging?”What’s the one thing most people don’t know about your company?” “What makes a person successful here?” Also ask what they think the biggest opportunities are for the role. Their answers will hopefully provide deeper insight on who they are and what it’s really like to work there.
  • Ask for your market value. Do research (check out PayScale and Glassdoor) to understand the range of base pay and overall comp given your level of experience, expertise and skills. Practice saying your number, especially when you’re below the market. When you’re comfortable with your number, they’ll feel comfortable too. And if they ask where you’re currently at, answer with “I’m looking for X amount” or “My salary requirements are Y.”

By taking these steps, you’ll present yourself in a confident way and make a great impression. 

Are you looking to uplevel your career and get a job where you’ll feel fulfilled, realize your potential and get the salary you deserve?

If so, then watch our video and book a session with one of our job strategists. We’re excited to talk to you!