When I met with John, he had already been on 14 interviews without receiving a job offer. He was a senior professional with a consulting firm, and I knew he had been involved with hiring many people in his career. After all, he had hired quite a few from me when I’d worked in the space.
As he sat down with me, I listened to him share his woes for a few minutes before beginning a mock interview. I asked him whether many of the interviews he had been on started with the classic question, “Tell me about yourself.” When he answered yes, I invited him to answer it as though he were in a real interview. I listened.
After about a minute, I stopped him. “I have a hunch about what is happening,” I began. “Would you like to hear my evaluation?”
“I care enough to tell you bluntly because I think it will help you the most. You’re boring. You’re bored with answering the question, and it comes through. To me, it’s a turnoff, and I suspect it’s turning off others.”
When you go to a Broadway show and see the cast perform the play, you don’t care that they perform eight shows in six days every week, do you? What matters is that they put on a great performance for you. After all, you’ve paid good money to see the play, and you want to see the actors give you a great performance — and rightfully so.
When you’re being interviewed, you may be asked a question for the 15th time, but the interviewer is just like an audience member: They’re listening to your answer for the first time. They don’t care that you’re bored from performing the same lines over and over again. They are judging your performance based on what you do on stage for them.
Recently, I was reminded of my session with John as I spoke with someone else whose answers seemed flat and “businesslike.”
“Let me ask you something,” I inquired. “You live in a city where there are a lot of people who do what you do. Why should they hire you?”
Suddenly, he came to life as he spoke about his successes and how he had challenged the status quo he inherited, inspired his team and led them to make “magic” for their organization. He was so much more alive than he was just a few minutes ago.
This attitude and flair are what will get you hired. Being bored won’t.
Since the time you were little until now, schools, colleges, and businesses have conditioned you to be quiet and do what you’re told. “Regurgitate a bunch of things when we tell you to, or else.” Or else you won’t get a good grade. Or else you won’t get into a good school and get a good job. All these years of conditioning have sucked the life out of you.
But if you can remember that when companies try to hire someone, they want someone who inspires confidence and gives them that excited feeling that you have the knowledge and experience to solve their problem, you will be hired.
© The Big Game Hunter, Inc. Asheville, NC 2018, 2021
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1500 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. JobSearchTV.com was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.
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