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Confidence vs. Arrogance: How to Strike the Right Balance

Confidence vs. Arrogance: How to Strike the Right Balance
Credit: Arrogant woman image via Shutterstock

Though job seekers should portray a sense of confidence when looking for work, it's critical they don't become too arrogant, experts say.

Heather Huhman, a career and workplace expert for the online career site Glassdoor, said that even if job candidates have strong technical skills and experience; a great network and personal brand; and colleagues willing to write glowing letters of recommendation, they shouldn't let their ego get in the way of the job-search process.

Although confidence is a good quality to have, it's important to not be overconfidentas a job seeker, she said. "It's definitely good to walk into any interview with an 'I've got this' mentality," Huhman wrote in a recent blog post. "However, you need to keep yourself in check." [10 Personality Types Most Likely to Get Hired]

Huhman offered four signs that you might be too confident in your job search:

  • You don't seek advice from mentors. One of the biggest mistakes that can be made during a job search is to not have a mentor. Nearly three-quarters of hiring managers say job seekers should have a mentor or seek advice from a career counselor during their job search. This advice is crucial for their success because they'll be able to better match their skills and experience with the qualifications for the jobs they want.
  • You rely solely on experience and skills. Many job seekers depend on their prior experience and technical skills when filling out job applications. While experience and skills serve as a good starting point, there are other factors that need to be considered. Hiring managers look for not only an experienced candidate, but also the person who would be the best fit for the position. Hiring managers want to hire candidates who have the best personality, attitude and soft skills needed to fit their culture. Job seekers who overlook these attributes when writing their résumé and cover letter could be missing out on the key qualifications employers seek.
  • Your attitude is setting you up for failure. Sometimes, overconfident job seekers can become angry during their job search when they aren't getting the results they anticipated. Job candidates who are landing interviews but not receiving offers could end up feeling blindsided by their confidence. When this happens, it's tempting to blame the interviewer for not seeing you as a desirable candidate. Instead of blaming things outside your control, hold yourself accountable for your attitude, and remember that there will be more opportunities better suited for your expertise.
  • You're not willing to learn or adapt. One of the biggest challenges in a job search is learning to expand knowledge and use it to adapt to new situations. If you think you have all the skills needed to be successful, change your mind-set now. Throughout your career, you build upon your skills and experience. This is the only way you'll gain a competitive advantage during your search and impress hiring managers with your hunger for knowledge.

The only way to find out if your ego's interfering with your job search is to take a step back and look at your strategy for applying for jobs, to find out what's working and what's not, Huhman said.

"Once you figure out what's holding you back in your search, see if it's related to your overconfidence," she wrote. "It's easy to think any employer would be lucky to have us, but you have to be realistic and keep the employer's needs in mind first."

Chad Brooks

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based writer with more than 20 years of media experience. A graduate of Indiana University, Chad began his career with Business News Daily in 2011 as a freelance writer. In 2014, he joined the staff as a senior writer. Currently, Chad covers a wide range of B2B products and services, including business phone systems, time and attendance systems, payroll services, and conference call services. Before joining Business News Daily and business.com, Chad spent nearly a decade as a staff reporter for the Daily Herald in suburban Chicago. Chad's first book, "How to Start a Home-Based App Development Business," was published in 2014. He lives with his wife and daughter in the Chicago suburbs.