In a Job Search, Personality Is Key
Yesterday, my applicant called me after her interview. She told me, “I was really nervous, but they were nice and I answered all of their questions. I really think I did a good job!”
Ugh! I cringed. I was really rooting for her! She had the perfect resume, the perfect experience, and came from one of their top competitors. But I knew from what she had just told me, she was not going to get that job.
I was right. My other applicant was given the job offer. She had had only about 70% of the job skills needed and did not come from a direct competitor. But, she was more confident, had a dynamic personality, and convinced that employer she was the better overall fit.
About a year ago, I had the exact opposite happen. I had an applicant that was perfect for one of my jobs, but he knew it! He went in to the interview very conceited, name dropped some people that they might know, and basically, acted like a pompous ass.
He called me after the interview. He told me that he knew he landed the job because he had all the experience, knew people that had been in executive roles at the firm, and could “show them some things”. Well, he didn’t get the job. I wasn’t surprised.
Employers are PEOPLE, hiring PEOPLE. They need the right experience. But, they are also going to be spending 40-60 hours a week working with the person they hire. That is more time than they spend with their families!
On every interview, you must portray your experience while bonding with the person interviewing you. You want that person to think of you as a valuable, flexible, contributing member of their team. If you are too nervous, it can come across as being insecure. Employers don’t have the time to coax people and give them confidence to do a job. They need people to come in, take the bull by the horns, and quickly learn it.
If you come across too conceited or aggressive, they aren’t going to see you fitting in with their team. They won’t see you taking criticism easily or being flexible to learn new things.
To put it very simply, you need to be the baby bear in the story of the three bears. You can’t be too hard, or too soft.
To bring down your nerves before an interview, do your homework. The more prepared you feel, the less nervous you will be. Research the company. Go to their website. Understand their mission statement, know what year they were founded, and read their press releases. Know the job description. Don’t just read it, know it and truly understand it. Write down some of your accomplishments that relate to the job description and bring them up during the interview. Write down some questions about the job and the company. This way, when they ask you if you have any questions, you are sitting their, bug eyed, not sure what to say. Spend a few hours on preparation and your nerves will ease. But, it never hurts to listen to some hard rock on the way to bring out some of the “I can do anything” mentality!
Now, if you find yourself too conceited before an interview, get over yourself. If you knew it all, you would run the world. And, you don’t. You are interviewing. Pet some bunnies, listen to some Kenny G, and talk about your experience and how much you would like to be a part of the team and learn their way. I know – it’s humbling! But they are the one paying, right?
Good luck and make a friend!
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