We’ve talked a lot here on HR Bartender about the challenges in today’s recruiting market – competition for talent, increased time to hire, skills gaps, etc. But there’s one aspect that I want to mention – the confident candidate. William Tincup brought it up in a post titled, “7 Ways Recruiters Will Be Blindsided in 2016.” It’s a good read, be sure to check it out.
Item numero uno on the list was “candidate ego is out of control.” I agree with this…to a point.
Yes, the job market has shifted in the candidate’s favor. Yes, top talent knows they are top talent – they always have. Organizations need to understand that, if they want rock stars, they will have to pay for rock stars.
But I also believe there’s a fine line between confidence and cockiness. Confidence is a feeling of self-assurance in one’s abilities. Cockiness is showing confidence in a way that’s annoying to other people. Cockiness implies the person is egocentric rather than a team player. Their focus is often on their own success rather than that of the company. Organizations should hire people who are confident, not cocky. Candidates should convey to employers they are confident, not cocky.
Whether you’re a candidate or a company, there are a few ways to convey confidence:
- Learn to listen well. Confidence isn’t about talking all the time. Confidence is about listening and responding in a thoughtful and genuine way. Both candidates and companies need to be able to listen.
- Consider practicing mindfulness. It’s the practice of focusing on self-awareness. Confidence is about being self-aware and self-managing. Companies and candidates show self-awareness in their brand.
- Understand both your strengths and weaknesses. Yes, it’s true in an interview situation, we try to steer the conversation toward our strengths. But it’s okay to talk about areas we want to improve.
- Be prepared to talk about work successes and failures. Never before in business has failing at something been so acceptable. Candidates and companies should be open and transparent about their mistakes and achievements.
This conversation reminds me of the employees who are considered top performers but leave body bags all along the way. I’m not so naïve to think that there won’t be candidates who let their ego get out of control. But unless they are worth the collateral damage, then organizations will have to learn how to say no.
Companies might not be faced with this situation right now, but I can see this issue coming up at some point this year. The question is what would you do? And is it possible to avoid candidate egos with replacement planning, talent pools, or training programs? Instead of hiring confidence from the outside the organization, grow employee confidence from within.
Image courtesy of Sharlyn Lauby