We’ve all heard it time and time again – when the conversation of employability arises, or perhaps the topic of stepping into an interview room, maybe even your first day at work: the word ‘confidence’ is thrown around a lot.

It seems to be something that those who have it, take for granted, and those without, need to settle for less. However, here at Hunterskill Recruitment we truly believe that opportunities are not defined by the ‘have’ and ‘have-nots’, and we can promise that self-confidence in job seeking, and in the workplace, is something we can all improve on and cultivate within ourselves!

Self-confidence permeates into almost every facet of our lives, and it has been on the minds of leading psychological researchers and scientists for many years, and multiple avenues of research have led to some fascinating discoveries, some of which we would like to share with you! It is important to remember throughout our advice that everybody (that’s right, everybody) has struggled with confidence issues at one point or another – some more than others, some less. What we are trying to say is this: to improve ourselves (and in turn your effectiveness in working life), we must always be looking forward, and at ourselves. We cannot change past mistakes, but we can learn from them, and if it is the confidence we are focusing on, this sentiment cannot be stretched far enough.

First and foremost, it’s very important to lay some groundwork for self-confidence. What exactly are we referring to when talking about ‘confidence’? What should confidence feel like? Can we have too much confidence in ourselves or others? Let’s jump into some basics before we give you some helpful strategies to improve!

What is Confidence?

When trying to improve anything, we must first understand what it is we are trying to improve, and sometimes when learning, we must learn what something is not.

Confidence is not an inherited trait or a learned process – confidence is a state of mind. It is the clarity in the mind when an action, or set of actions, seem to be the appropriate measures to take in the situation.

Knowing that self-confidence is the clarity and confidence that arises from our own actions. Confidence and self-confidence are not concrete measures, and our ability to be confident can be affected by multiple different variables. Those who appear the most confident, may in reality not be confident at all, and we may simply feel under-confident due to poor sleeping habits for example. Our own self-confidence is considered to be a mixture of how we have been raised and taught by others at a young age, but also what we have taught ourselves.

More or Less? Which is worse?

It is very difficult to hang ‘better or worse’ labels on things like confidence – a lack of confidence does not make you a worse person, nor does having an overabundance make you better. Although, we have to recognise that an excess (overconfidence), or deficiency (under-confidence) may have more negative effects on those around us.   

Overconfidence – With all good things, we must maintain a healthy dose, and not allow ourselves to overindulge. If confidence allows us to be clear-headed and prepared to make judged decisions, then overconfidence clouds our minds with the illusion of good judgment. You may have met similar people in the past – people who we consider ‘cocky’ or ‘arrogant’ are usually those who allow themselves just a bit too healthy a dose of self-confidence. When attempting to improve our own self-esteem and confidence, we must try to find the line where overconfidence begins – egotistical and arrogant traits are severely looked down upon in the workplace, not only by employers but by co-workers as well.

Under-confidence – Unlike overconfidence, under-confident behaviours are difficult to spot, both in others and in ourselves. Under-confidence is very closely tied to our self-esteem or the way we feel about ourselves. Lacking confidence can be a detriment to our successes, and a dangerous one at that. The signs of low self-esteem can be difficult to spot, and in many cases, it is difficult to attribute these behaviours to confidence based deficiencies. 

Confident Behaviours vs Non-Confident Behaviours

As discussed earlier, it is a general rule of thumb that overconfidence is easier to spot than low-confident behaviours, and in many ways, if arrogance is an issue, the solutions are tailored differently. At least for now, let us focus on a few examples of under-confident behaviours compared to confident ones:

Confident Behaviour | A  

Making decisions you believe to be right, and sticking by them. These may be moral issues based on principle or problem-solving issues based on evidence or intuition. Others may even criticize your decision, yet you stay by it. 

Under-Confident Behaviour | A

Your decisions are very much influenced by those around you, and you find often your actions are dictated by those of others, regardless of principle or evidence.

Confident Behaviour | B  

You are able to admit and own up to your own mistakes, accept the consequences of your actions and learn from them effectively.

Under-Confident Behaviour | B

Instead of learning from mistakes, you relocate your working energy into trying to cover up your tracks and prevent people from noticing.  

Confident Behaviour | C  

You are appreciative of your own abilities, whilst accepting you can always improve regardless of failure, and also appreciate compliments by superiors and co-workers as they justify your hard work.

Under-Confident Behaviour | C

You settle in your comfort zone because putting yourself out there may result in failure – if you are complimented on work, you are overly avoidant, and you feel it is not justified.

In Conclusion (for now…)

While these are only a few comparisons of different types of behaviours, and of course everybody’s experiences of these will differ between individuals, it is very important to start to recognise some tell-tale signs of lacking confidence. The fear of failure. Uncomfortableness in the spotlight. Your ability to be an individual thinker, and accept leadership positions. Poor time management etc. 

The list goes on, and it will change depending on who you are. We hope this brief introduction will serve as a great foundation for our helpful techniques to help you become a better candidate or employee! Visit our blog next month to find our specially tailored techniques, and also to browse some of our advice to help you make confident choices as and when you need to!

And as always, good luck!