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How to look more confident

Anonymous A asked on Jun 12, 2019 - 4 answers

I interviewed both BCG and McKinsey, and passed to the next round. I got the feedback that the only thing that I need to improve is to be more confident about myself. I do feel confident, but I am more humble than proud as a person. Do I need to act a bit in the next round? If so, how?

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Francesco
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replied on Jun 13, 2019
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Hi Anonymous,

this is really difficult to answer without seeing you “in action” in an interview, since there are multiple reasons why you may not be perceived as confident.

The main elements that could influence your confidence perception are:

  1. Sound of your voice. Monotone voice is one of the major elements of poor communication. Speaking fast is also another element that can give an impression of lack of confidence. If you notice you have issues on this area I would suggest to listen to podcasts with great speakers for 30min – 1h per day with headphones. After some days you will start to speak in a similar way, as you will absorb their communication style.
  2. Smile. Smiling can be a powerful element to show you enjoy the interview (and interviewer) and are not afraid. You can force smiles (obviously not too much) in case you get the feedback you are not doing that.
  3. Eye contact. You should not necessarily always look the interviewer in the eyes, but you should not look away when he/she asks you something (in particular in case you get questions such as “Why should I hire you”)
  4. Ability to break the ice. Confident people are not afraid to start small talks with interviewers from the beginning. Keeping silence create less connection and may be considered a sign of lack of confidence
  5. Posture. A major sign of lack of confidence is leaning too much towards the interviewer. You should try to keep straight in the chair most of the time.

For the majority of these elements, you need to get feedback from the people you are practicing with, as they are very difficult to identify alone.

Hope this helps,

Francesco

Anonymous replied on Jun 14, 2019

Hi Anonymous,

I love all the previous answers but will just add a couple additional points:

  • Stand in front of the bathroom mirrow and power pose for 3 minutes (stand tall, head straight, hands on hips, elbows out) and just get in the mood (this sounds cheesy but it's been proven to positively prime your brain) - just don't let anyone catch you doing this ;)
  • Show Interest - It's hard to use "physical" tips for looking confident without appearing cocky, arrogant, or fake. It's a fine line! Instead, showing genuine interest in the topic and engaging in this way in-of-itself shows confidence!
Vlad
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replied on Jun 12, 2019
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Hi,

Several simple rules:

  • Open pose
  • Eye contact
  • Smile
  • Don't perceive interviewers as enemies - perceive them as friends with whom you are having a nice conversation. Enjoy the interview
  • Feel gratitude for what you achieved and why you are there
  • Loud voice - don't rumble
  • Remember that you are having fun. Detach yourself from the results and don't build any expectations.

Best

Vasilis
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replied on Jun 12, 2019
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This is a complicated question, but I'll do my best to tackle it. Confidence comes in many shapes and forms, and it does not necessarily have to translate into pride. As a rule of thumb, I try to inspire confidence in my interactions with others, while simultaneously being humble towards the person I am facing.

One strategy I use to manage and achieve this balance is visualizations. The easiest way to do this is to close your eyes a couple of hours before an interview and imagine yourself going through the actual interview. What would you say at a difficult question? What would your posture and reaction look like? Great, now visualize it in as much detail as you can. What about a question about your accomplishments? If you do this thoroughly and visualize what your ideal response and reaction would be, then I can attest that the actual interview will come pretty close to that.