What is self-confidence and why is it important to have?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 1 December 2021

Self-confidence promotes more successful interviews and ensures that you perform better in your job position. Developing your self-confidence requires some self-reflection and knowledge of what causes you to feel less confident. By identifying this, you can experience more success in your personal and professional life. In this article, we discuss why confidence in yourself is important, provide a guide to help you build confidence and discuss how you can be more confident in job interviews.

Why is self-confidence important?

If you have a job interview coming up or experience high levels of stress at work, you may wonder why self-confidence is important in these situations. When you have confidence in both your skills and personality, you can focus more on your responsibilities rather than compare yourself to others. During interviews, confidence allows you to ask questions of supervisors and hiring managers. This confidence also encourages you to accomplish tasks and achieve goals with more ease. Here are some other benefits of having confidence in yourself:

  • Communication: Confidence promotes communication between you, colleagues and supervisors.

  • Solutions: When you have confidence, you can rely on your own knowledge to develop solutions for complex issues and obstacles.

  • Performance: Those with confidence experience improvements in performance and productivity because they feel comfortable sharing their opinions and developing solutions.

How to build your confidence

Here's a guide to help you build your confidence:

1. Focus on yourself

If you want to build your confidence, focus on your own qualities, experiences and accomplishments. While you may compete against other candidates for job titles and projects, your supervisors evaluate your individual skill set and experience when assigning tasks. If you want to focus on yourself, you may want to compile a list of your positive qualities and valuable skills.

When you recognise your uniqueness, you may also consider the advantages of your experience and opinions. Consider also identifying your future goals and how you can accomplish them. This provides you with a foundation of knowledge for when you prepare answers and questions during interviews or when you want to establish new goals.

Related: How to build confidence at work

2. Consider your accomplishments

When developing your confidence, you may want to consider your accomplishments and how you previously achieved them. This improves your confidence because it reminds you that you have the ability to accomplish your goals. When considering long-term goals, list the steps you've already completed towards achieving them. This reminds you of your hard work and may motivate you to continue.

3. Consider your self-image

Developing a more positive self-image builds your confidence by adjusting your mindset and limiting the extent to which you compare yourself to those around you. Construct a more positive self-image by thinking about the goals you want to achieve and who you want to be in the future. For example, you can visualise yourself in the job position you want or with a certain skill set.

Once you craft a positive image of yourself, consider engaging in self-affirmation activities. Self-affirmation involves saying positive and uplifting statements to yourself to challenge negative thoughts and negative self-image. For example, if you're nervous about an interview, remind yourself of the skills and accomplishments you already have. In the workplace, if you take on a new project or apply for a promotion, you might use self-affirming statements like 'I am qualified' or 'I am a successful person'.

4. Confront potential fears

Face your fears by reflecting on what might discourage you from reaching your potential. For example, if you're concerned about being able to answer all of the interviewer's questions, practice answering questions with a friend or family member. If you're nervous about meeting new people in your workplace, make an extra effort to proactively introduce yourself to people you don't know.

5. Prioritise self-care

Make a habit of exercising, eating a healthy and balanced diet and getting plenty of sleep. Take time to do something you enjoy every day, like taking up an old hobby or starting a new one. Consider also finding ways to practise self-care while at work by stretching at your desk and taking brief breaks throughout the day.

In addition to maintaining strong mental and physical health, it's also important to prioritise your social health. Spending an evening with good friends or going out to dinner with family can strengthen interpersonal skills that could help you work better with colleagues. You can also make an effort to invite colleagues out for social gatherings to improve your work relationships.

6. Rethink rejection

Rejection is sometimes part of the interview process, but adjusting your view of rejection can help you maintain confidence as you approach future interviews. If you're not offered one job, try to focus on the ways in which you excelled in the interview for it. Perhaps you had a confident posture and answered a tough question thoughtfully. You can also view this rejection as a learning opportunity to better understand how you can improve your interviewing skills.

Consider reaching out to the hiring manager to thank them for their time and consideration and to ask for constructive feedback. Also, keep in mind that rejection isn't usually personal within a workplace setting. Sometimes, you don't get the job because the hired candidate has more relevant experience or skills.

7. Surround yourself with positivity

Part of building and maintaining a high level of confidence is changing your mindset. By focusing on positive things, from self-care to past accomplishments, you're re-framing how you perceive yourself. Another important element in this change of perspective is surrounding yourself with positive messaging and people who encourage and support you.

For instance, if you have a colleague who is always willing to offer advice or help out with difficult projects, this type of positive attitude can reassure you that you're not facing your challenges alone. Having someone in your life who offers words of encouragement and reminds you of how much you have already accomplished can be the inspiration you require to keep moving forward with confidence. It's important to avoid people who display behaviours or treat you in a way that diminishes your confidence, as they may negatively impact all aspects of your life.

How to appear confident in job interviews

Here's a guide to help you demonstrate confidence in job interviews:

1. Maintain natural eye contact

If you want to show confidence in job interviews, maintain eye contact with the interviewer or hiring manager. Consider how you can share natural eye contact rather than maintaining it for extended periods of time. It's crucial to find the balance between this natural eye contact and forced eye contact, which some hiring managers may find awkward or off-putting.

Related: 15 tips on how to interview successfully

2. Maintain good posture

You can show strong posture in job interviews by sitting straight in your chair. When doing so, you may want to keep your hands unfolded to show open and friendly body language. When you stand, consider doing so with your feet positioned shoulder-width apart and keeping both your chest and chin high. This demonstrates confidence and promotes a calmer environment.

3. Practice your breathing

You can improve your confidence by practising calming techniques. This slows the speed of your speech when communicating with others and allows you to think about your answers before communicating them. To practise your breathing, take a deep breath through your nose, pause and slowly exhale. This acts as a form of meditation and calms you during your interview. This shows the interviewer that you have confidence in your qualifications.

4. Prevent fidgeting

To show confidence, consider how you can prevent fidgeting, which typically displays nervousness. If you experience difficulty with this, you may want to keep your hands in your lap or on a table. If you often shake your leg, placing your hands in your lap allows you to maintain focus and reduces this fidgeting habit.

5. Dress with confidence

Consider choosing an outfit that gives you confidence. Review your wardrobe the night before the interview to find outfits that both follow the company's dress code and show your personality. For example, you can choose a pair of slacks and a button-up shirt that has designs or a colour that provides you with additional confidence.

Related: How to give interview feedback (with simple steps and tips)

6. Practice your handshake

You can also practise your handshake to ensure that it displays confidence. You use this handshake when greeting other professionals and when saying goodbye. When shaking hands with others, consider letting the interviewer initiate your handshake. You may also want to maintain eye contact with the interviewer, greet them with their name and preferred salutation and maintain a firm handshake. Try to leave your other hand unclenched.