The Voice That Whispers, “I’m Not Qualified”

Just as I arrived at work this morning around 7:30 a.m. I took a call from one of the people I’m working with to gain employment. It was good news. She has a second interview today for a job she applied to last week, and in that same last week had her first interview which she obviously passed.

What I found interesting is that she feels very insecure going into the second interview. Instead of feeling assertive and one step closer to a job she really believes she can do, she said she doesn’t know why she was invited back to a second interview because she feels under-qualified.

Let me give you a brief overview of the job and her qualifications. She is an experienced commercial Flight Attendant, and this job is actually for a Corporate Flight Attendant. To those not in the industry, you might be excused for not knowing the difference. On a corporate plane, the meals for one are prepared on flight, cooked by the Flight Attendant and served. Commercial lines have food often cooked on the ground, transported on board, and warmed up and served – and there is not much selection. Corporate fliers get a broader range of foods.

And this is primarily why she said she wondered aloud why she was granted the second interview after telling them she was inexperienced in this area. My advice to her was simple: they obviously liked what they saw and heard from her in the first interview, and that was good enough to be invited back. If they know her shortcomings and are still interviewing her, they feel she can be trained on the technical stuff, but her attitude, personality and other experience are what they are impressed with. And it can’t be understated that the interview itself is great experience. And if offered and accepting the job, it will either turn out to be a job she comes to love and do well at, or she’ll find it isn’t what she wants and she’ll keep applying for other jobs while she keeps this one.

You see there are a number of employers who are focused on finding the right people. And who are the right people? These are the people who get that enthusiasm, passion, understanding customer service, a solid work ethic, a winning smile and a positive attitude go a long way. Technical skills can often be picked up by people both through training and on the job experience. On the other hand, some people have all the required technical skills, but they have poor interpersonal skills, don’t extend themselves to please customers, do only exactly what the job description says they have to, and go about their work without a smile because it’s not in their job description after all.

Have you yourself ever had a looming interview and wondered in the dark recesses of your mind if you are really qualified for the job or may possibly be exposed as lacking the necessary qualifications? This is actually more common than you might think. After all, you’re out of work and your overall confidence is being tested daily. Without a job, you get concerned that skills you once honed are becoming rusty or out-dated, and perhaps that lack of recent experience or education has started to erode your own assertions that you’re the right person for the job.

Important to remember is that only you know what’s going on between your ears. If you truly believe that you have everything the employer is wanting it gets easier to convince others. But when you’re unsure, it takes some doing to not only convince yourself but to mask any insecurities and look confident. If you stood in front of a mirror and gave your answer out loud to the question, “What qualifications make you the right person for this job with our company?”, would your voice and facial expression support your words or betray the doubt you feel?

Or on another line of thought entirely, how risky would it be to put all your cards on the table? You know, share your own reservations where you would need training to be at your very best, knowing you would now either be hired with the employer’s full knowledge of your insecurities and weak areas, or you would be passed over and not offered the job at all. This is a good strategy for many because even if you bluff your way through an interview, you have to eventually demonstrate your abilities on your first day on the job. When the boss says, “You told me you could do this job”, what could you possibly do at that point if in fact you can’t without significant training?

But what I really like about this person and our call this morning is her pluck, her honesty and her willingness to go into a second interview despite her own reservations about her qualifications. I think the person who interviewed her saw things they believe they can work with. That says a lot about her ability to sell herself in the interview. By noon the 2nd interview will be over and I’ll find out later today how it went. My fingers are crossed in the meantime.

If you have a voice whispering that you aren’t really qualified, and it’s undermining your confidence, remind yourself of all the skills and attributes that you do have…which I imagine are quite a few!

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