Confidence vs competence: what to look for in an interview

How often have you given someone the job only for them to not match up to what was promised in their interview? But they seemed so confident!

We are naturally drawn to confident people, but sadly confidence and competence are not always correlated. This is why interviews are not actually the best way of selecting the candidate who would perform best…but we never get any feedback to correct our errors because we never hire “the other one.” We have a terrible blind spot for confidence, and if we don’t get feedback we can’t learn, so perhaps you are over confident in your hiring skills?

The majority of time you hear the term “imposter syndrome” it is matched with “no, you are enough!” I disagree. You are never good enough. We all should be constant learners, yet perhaps current you is the best available now so your mistakes today will make you more competent in the future. If those mistakes are made honestly AND with the best advice available AND with feedback so you can learn then that is ok. The “perfect” person doesn’t exist.

The people I worry about the most are the ones that never worry about whether they know enough. The ones with a faith-based religion that their way is the correct one.  Even worse is the type of person that knows very well that they are useless at their job but are expert at saying the right things “to the boss” whilst allowing others to pick up the pieces.

When hiring, especially for leadership position, I am obviously looking at whether someone has the skills for the job but I am also carefully listening to the language they use to describe those they work with. Do they see themselves as a hero, to save the day, or as someone who enables heroes?

Always choose to work with a hero maker! It’s more fun and you are less likely to hire the confident type that wants to win no matter who she, or he, has to step on.

During my masters I came across the report “no more hero leaders” by the kings fund. Well worth a read.

Which hero makers have you worked with and which self declared hero have you regretted working with?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *