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Q&A: “How do I interview without boasting? "

Q: “Somer, How do I interview without boasting? Nothing I’ve done is a one man thing.” ~ tech exec

A: Here's the good news. The fact that you’re asking means you likely don’t need to worry about it. You’re already self-aware and will come across as genuine. You don’t want to over-index and lose all the “I”s and only talk in “we.”

I’ve had recent feedback from a hiring manager that a C-level candidate of mine simply oversaw the team and didn’t do any of the work. "I have no idea what he actually did" was the feedback I received. This is all in how you tell your story and examples.

It’s a balance.

My recommendation is to say just what you said to me. Take some credit, but give some too. Give a quick high level overview and ask the interviewer if they’d like more detail. That’s when you can shine. Tell them who you influenced, what roadblocks you faced, what your team looked like at the start and what it looks like today, why you structured it that way. Talk about the impact of the transformation.

Check in and make sure you’re letting the interviewer lead.

The main way people come across as boasting and lacking self-awareness is when they soapbox. You know the type. You interview them and they say, “Well, what you need to do is…” and then they shower you with their opinion for thirty minutes. The interviewer leaves the conversation thinking “we talked a lot but I have no idea what this person has done.”

Hope this helps! Would love to hear your thoughts too. More interview tips in my book, Search in Plain Sight,


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