Imagine you’re a hot shot professional ready to advance your career. You’ve won awards for your competence. You’ve been promoted and received bonuses for your extraordinary work. But as you work to climb the ladder, you discover that despite your success, you don’t feel confident in the interview process. Competent, yes. Confident, no.
A Hewlett Packard internal report, which has been widely quoted, states that men will apply for a job if they have 60% of the qualifications for the position. Women only apply if they meet 100%. This block is holding back half the workforce. It’s also preventing women from applying for leadership roles.
This hesitancy in women affects the bottom line, too. Several studies report that businesses with a diverse workforce have significantly higher profits. And, according to a 2015 study by MSCI, Inc., companies with diversity in senior leadership and on the Board outperform those that don’t by 36%.
So, what’s happening? Are men more confident than women in the hiring process? Or, are women misjudging what actually happens in the hiring process?
I recently coached Chantelle, a corporate attorney who wants to move up. She told me, “I know I’m competent, but my confidence gets shaken in interviews. It’s frustrating because I’ve had a lot of success. In fact, I just finished a project that was such a game-changer that my boss gave me a big, out-of-cycle bonus. But, when I interview for higher positions, I lose my confidence. My arm pits get sweaty, I talk too fast, and I forget my successes. It’s painful because I can’t seem to promote myself.”
Are you losing confidence when you need it most?
This commonly happens to people who have lost weight and are struggling to shed the last 10 or 15 pounds. In the battle to reach their end goal, they forget how much they’ve already accomplished and how good they look and feel now. Everybody who’s gotten healthy & fit needs to remind themselves how they got there in the first place. It wasn’t an accident. They earned it by managing their meals and killin’ it in spin class.
Kathryn, a successful fundraiser for arts and education gives this advice: “Years ago, I wrote down my “Top 10 Career Wins” and put the list in my desk drawer. I add to it all the time, and when my confidence gets rattled, I read those “wins.” It’s powerful to see my accomplishments on paper. I’ve raised millions of dollars for important causes.”
This month, Chantelle is applying for a new job in her company. I coached her with Kathryn’s “Top 10 Wins” strategy by asking, “Off the top of your head, tell me five of your big wins.” She paused for a second, then she was off to the races!
- I paid for two of my siblings to go to college
- I was inducted into my college’s Athletic Hall of Fame
- I was voted Young Criminal Attorney of the Year
- I’ve been nominated for several leadership programs by my company’s VP’s
- I created my company’s “Diversity Conversation Toolkit”
What a Powerhouse! Later, Chantelle told me, “After writing down all my wins, I wrote the top 50 reasons why I deserve this job opportunity. That boosted my confidence even more.”
For the next 30-days — Write down your “wins” — Print them — Keep a copy in your wallet — in your car — in your laptop case — You can even use a dry erase marker to write your “wins” on your bathroom mirror.
Confidence impacts everything, and sometimes we don’t realize when it’s gotten derailed or disappeared. In order to interview for that job or land that key client, trust in yourself that you are confident to do that.
Awareness is the first step. Check-in to see if your confidence is still intact. If not, whip out your “wins” and remind yourself of the astounding triumphs you’ve already achieved.
No one can promote YOU better than you!