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Can overconfidence kill your job interview?

Can overconfidence kill your job interview?

In my experience as a recruiter, I have found that a lack of confidence can be an issue for many of my candidates during job interviews. As a consequence, some show signs of nervousness such as fiddling, twitching, stuttering and over thinking their answers. However, on occasion I come across a candidate who is the complete opposite; overflowing with confidence and assurance in their abilities. The question is; can a candidate be too confident during an interview? The answer is…yes. Here's why.

Popular culture reflects that super confident people are successful. We are blazoned with images of overconfident celebrities flaunting their attitude and opinions whether they are deservedly talented or not. The problem is, unless you are applying for a job as a performer, reality TV star or magician, this sort of behaviour isn’t appropriate for a job interview in a corporate environment.

These are some of the behaviours an overconfident person may display during an interview:

  • Talking over the top of the interviewer
  • Not listening to the interviewer properly
  • Skipping over questions or giving answers that indicate they feel that the question
    is beneath them 
  • Excessive name dropping
  • Acting like they know more about the subject than the interviewer

Overconfidence can come across as indifference or arrogance and neither of these are appealing traits to employers. Here’s what overconfident behaviour can lead to in the workplace:

  • Complacency
  • Criticism of other peoples abilities
  • A poor understanding one’s skill level and a belief those skills to be greater
    than they are
  • An assumption that there is no one else with a comparable skillset or skill level
  • An over commitment of duties
  • An inability to learn from one’s mistakes

David BrentTo be clear, confidence is an attractive trait to employers. People who display confidence are more likely to possess good communication skills, get along with colleagues, be persuasive in their arguments and show competence in their job. 

However, a smart job hunter knows confidence requires context and knows when and where to use it. Be confident, just don’t overdo it!' Take the character David Brent from UK TV show ''The Office'' as a great example of where overconfidence will get you.


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