A conversation with a consultant after a successful interview reminded me of a coaching session I gave years ago with a young business school graduate who was having trouble getting hired for her first job.
The student had graduated #1 in her class from an elite business school and kept striking out on interviews. I sat with her for about 10 or 15 minutes and taught her a simple technique to counter what had plagued this consultant for so many years.
The consultant told me that for much of her early career was told that she was so pretty that getting a job would be easy for her. It angered her so she set out to make sure that she was hired for her ability and not her looks.
And that leads to today’s lesson:
Stop being so professional!
As I have written many times, people are not hired purely because of skills competency but because someone likes them. You create trust in their mind as someone who can solve their problem and they are willing to choose you.
The notion of being “professional” (I hope you detect oozing sarcasm) is artificial and eliminates any human qualities from an interview that would cause someone to like you and trust you. Given that skills competency is only one small measure of why someone is hired (See my article, What Every Employer Assesses For When They Hire), eliminating the personal connection from you interview technique, makes it much harder to be hired.
The B-school student went on to 10 job offers and a successful career. The consultant remarked after a Thursday interview where she spent three hours, met three people she truly liked and was accepted for a long term assignment that could go on for years, “I have spent so much time fighting to be hired based upon what I knew and not based upon my looks, that here, I went in and was myself and was hired based upon what I knew.”
That is a lesson for us all.
© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC 2007, 2009, 2016
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The skills needed to find a job are different yet complement the skills needed to do a job.
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter has been a career coach and recruiter for what seems like one hundred years.
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