How to Interview like you already have the job

(a 3-part series on making your next interview your best interview)

The Genesis of this 3-Part Series

So there I was, on a phone call with a former colleague, discussing the realities of displaying both confidence and humility during an interview.

As a senior executive, she had a few interview experiences that appeared to favor one over the other.  And, after a delightful catch-up call, we were no further along to resolving the question except to agree that it was like walking a tightrope because demonstrating both these characteristics, which seem to oppose each other,  in an interview was important, even required.

We easily agreed that companies want to hire the best and the brightest.

We discussed that it was important to be confident, but not overly confident and tip into arrogance.

We also agreed that companies want leaders who will walk their talk when it comes to the company’s values.

In reality, most companies are on the path somewhere between their current culture and an aspirational culture when it comes to employees living out the company’s values.

What you should know about that conversation is that it got me thinking – as a great conversation will often do.

Side note:

If you check out my About section on LinkedIn you will read one of my core beliefs: Conversations change lives.

From this core belief, I prioritize my time, talent and energy because I know that the more my actions are aligned with my beliefs, the more satisfaction I feel from a work day.

Back to the main point.

Walking the line between confidence and humility is not a new idea.

Adam Grant defines it as confident humility and he puts it this way:

Confident humility is being secure enough in your expertise and strengths to admit your ignorance and weaknesses. In Think Again, I highlighted evidence that confidence without humility breeds blind arrogance, and humility without confidence yields debilitating doubt. Confident humility allows you to believe in yourself while questioning your strategies.

Before we really begin exploring this idea, let’s do some defining.

First, Let’s Define a Couple of Words:

I’m a big fan of words.  They are the building blocks of relationships.  If you have a great relationship, personal or professional, there is no doubt that you spent time exchanging words to cultivate that relationship. When the exchange breaks down or stops, the breakdown of that relationship is inevitable.

According to Webster’s dictionary, humility is the freedom from pride or arrogance.

When I looked online it said things like, admit your mistakes, give away credit and be open to other people’s opinions.

Interestingly, humility as a personal characteristic has shown up in job postings and I have seen it in the value statements at fast-growing companies.

Webster’s dictionary defines confidence as the state of being certain or consciousness of one’s powers

My definition of confidence may surprise you and I’ll share that with you in a minute.

Now that we’re talking the same language, let’s dig in.

What is a Confidently Humble Leader?

I have been in work environments where the culture was to catch someone else doing something wrong so that you can look better.  It bred animosity and “gotcha” behaviors in leaders.

There were very few confidently humble leaders to be found.

To show up in your next interview as confidently humble, you must ALREADY be a confidently humble leader.


You can’t show up with something you don’t already have.

Let’s zero in on this differentiating characteristic for your next interview.

My Definitions of Humility & Confidence

Humility is the ability to see when you are wrong and the willingness to right it.

Confidence is determination in the face of the unknown.

As a confidently humble leader, you show up ready to demonstrate your controlled response to uncomfortable situations.

How Does a Confidently Humble Leader Act?

You probably already know that your beliefs determine your actions, but people can’t see your beliefs, only the fruit of them.

A confidently humble leader acts differently.  I’ve listed several actions I’ve seen confidently humble leaders take.  You may recognize yourself in several of these.

·       You are open to new opportunities

·       You transfer responsibility for important matters to others

·       You remain grounded and others’ focused when accolades abound

·       You pull others up

·       You stretch yourself for the sake of others

·       You remain steadfast when there’s trouble

·       You play big

·       You fend off anxiety through trusted counsel

·       You keep the faith

·       You behave in alignment with your values

·       You believe in the best for others and do something about it when you are able

·       You fight for those who are unable to fight for themselves and alongside those who can

·       You continue on

That’s what a confident leader does. Did you see yourself in them? I bet you did.

Here’s what others see:

·       People are drawn to your leadership

·       Individuals speak well of you when you aren’t in the room

·       Other leaders learn from you

·       You deposit faith in others so they believe that they can do something new

·       Your professional and personal growth is non-negotiable

The impact of a confidently humble leader will be seen and felt by those you lead and influence.

Before your next interview, revisit the times that you were a confidently humble leader, play out those scenarios again.


when you have the belief and the actions that create an environment/relationships/opportunities that leverage the best in yourself and others for the sake of doing good, you will show up in your next interview as the confidently humble leader you are.

Show up as the confidently humble leader you are in order to make your next interview your best interview.

Get out there.

You got this.

P.S. Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss part 2!