Employers see confidence as a positive attribute in employees. Confident employees make decisions without having their hands held. They’re not scared of change and innovation. They don’t involve themselves in petty workplace gossip–they don’t need to–they have enough confidence that putting others down just doesn’t do it for them. But what some employees don’t understand is that confident is different, entirely different, from egotistical.
Some examples of the difference have been buzzing around the blogosphere lately. This one is too priceless not to mention. The following question was posed to J.T. & Dale, of “J.T. & Dale Talk Jobs“:
I have been actively searching for a job for five months now, and can’t figure out why I get interviews but no offers. I have even contemplated the idea that I can’t get hired because I happen to be a very attractive, younger-looking 32-year-old. Am I crazy for even thinking that?
Umm, wow. Ok, before I comment, here is Dale’s response:
A day or two before you go into a company for a job interview, park outside the office at lunchtime or after work and see how people dress and act. You aren’t dressing to look your best, you’re dressing to make potential co-workers comfortable around you.
I think this is great advice, especially the second sentence. But I think that there is another lesson to be learned for employers, as well. This is an excellent example of the “It Can’t Be Me” response to rejection. When a job candidate is not selected for the position, the automatic response is not,
“Well, there must have been another, more qualified, or better connected, or more educated candidate than me.”
Oh no, that would be totally unnatural.
Instead, what they think is,
“What happened? I was perfect for that job. They really screwed this up. They must have based their hiring decision on a clearly irrelevant factor such as [race/age/gender/religion/national origin/beauty].”
And, clients and colleagues, thus begins a failure-to-hire lawsuit.
Now, let’s say that it was a man who interviewed her and, let’s just say that, during the interview, he commended her for being so “put together” and noted the difficulties that women face in balancing home and work responsibilities. If this young woman could conclude that she wasn’t hired because of her extraordinary beauty, you can imagine how easy it would be for her to conclude that she wasn’t hired because of her gender. Again, thus begins a failure-to-hire lawsuit.
Source: Am I Too Good Looking to Get Hired? at J.T. & Dale Talk Jobs. (Who score extra credit for not laughing hysterically at this question.)