Sunday, January 20, 2013

Job Tip: Believe in Yourself

I once blew a job I really wanted because I became convinced on the way to the interview that I was just filler in a field of heavy hitter applicants. In at least one way, I deserved to lose that offer because I had no right to think they would waste their time and mine if I were not a very serious candidate. Nevertheless, all the way to the interview, I could not shake the thought that I was up against people with whom I could never compete.

You might think I choked and wilted during the interview, but I did something completely different. I spent the entire day-long interview trying to convince everyone that I was a heavy hitter, that I was every bit as good as whoever was already in their back pocket.

I told them everything I had ever accomplished and everything I had ever thought of accomplishing. I assured them I would accomplish all those new things and probably much more. I was there to help them change the world, and I would give all that I had to be a key player in that mission.

I wore them out. By the end of the day, they thought I was a self-important blowhard that could not listen, cared nothing for others' interests, and thought I was God's gift to their organization and the profession.

I found out later that I had been the top candidate until that interview. The job had been mine to lose, and I had lost it with a vengeance.

Had I actually ignored my fears and believed I would be a good fit, I might have landed that job. It may be that I would have lost out to someone better anyway, but at least it would have been the real me losing out instead of the lunatic they met.

Identify your strengths and be able to talk about them realistically. Have some faith in those strengths, however, and do not work too hard to show them off to everyone. Give the organization a little credit and assume they are not in the habit of interviewing people they are not serious about. They have seen something in you. Be yourself, and that something might just come out naturally.

Dan Weddle

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