Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Show confidence without being arrogant

I was motivated to write this post from reading an article on Monster about Ten Tech Interview Errors. Specifically, I noticed the following passage from the article:

Too many techies come across as arrogant in interviews, says Sean Chou, CTO of Fieldglass, a software technology company. "A lot of techies are very talented, but what comes out is arrogance," he says.

Confidence is desirable, not arrogance. Arrogance suggests "they can't be a team player," Chou notes.
So I posed the following question on Twitter earlier:
What ways can you show confidence without it coming across as arrogance?
I could have clarified that I was looking with respect to an interview situation, but I preferred asking an open-ended question (i.e., without context), just to see what the responses would have been. Here are some of the responses so far, again to my open-ended question:
  • matthewebel Not breaking into a cold sweat when some director asks you to make a pass at iJustine.
  • mindofandre I always like to attribute my knowledge due to the fact that others have helped me learn. You haven't come this far without others.
  • TheSatch I think a key for me is being willing to point to and discuss my own flaws, sometimes seriously and sometimes with humor.
  • CollinDouma Best way to show confidence over arrgnc. Listen first, ask 3 questions for each of theirs + Hold your cool when "they" are proved wrong.
  • jasonalba research the word "assertive" ... that might have what you are looking for. very powerful.
  • tonysteward 1. Never offer criticism without a prepared solution 2. Arrogance makes someone unreasonable - be reasonable. 3. Confidence doesn't need everyone to agree - arrogance demands it or villianizes.
  • fairminder state your opinion as fact and support it with an example from your experience. Quote other experts - birds of a feather...
  • steveames One way is to be quiet - in other words, don't try to show confidence. Just exude it...
  • markbaars You need to KNOW that you're confident, that people like you and that you can do whatever you want + KNOW that you're NICE
  • Sourcerer be the one to greet and make others comfortable at meeting/event, also witty self-deprecation goes a long way
  • RichBecker Relevant stories play better than laundry lists.

What do you think? What are some ways to show confidence, or as Jason Alba put it, assertiveness, without it being perceived as arrogance?

Check out my other blogs:
Daniel Johnson, Jr.
Journey Inside My Mind Blog
Journey Inside My Mind Podcast

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