It is my opinion that we live in an era of generic, bland-vanilla sameness -- especially in the business world. Most people talk a good game but when it becomes their moment they are deathly afraid of raising their head above the herd, much less to be a black sheep. This is ironic at a moment when innovators and new ideas are most needed.
Yet, at both administrative and management levels, virtually every process that revolves around interview and hiring is standardized, generalized and homogenized in such a way that they will rarely meet those they need the most.
Let’s consider the interview process. Most everyone’s goal is to get through it without making a mistake; so worried about it that many people who are more dynamic in other situations are lackluster when it is their turn. Many people strive in fact to be less remarkable.
When you interview you want to be remarkable, memorable and dynamic. As long as you behave in a professional manner and exercise professional courtesies, relax and be yourself. Stand out, be different than everyone else.
Consider this: has there ever been an occasion when there was a job you wanted very much, you interviewed for it and tried so hard and what happened – nothing. Then on another occasion, there was an opportunity for an interview or a meeting; this time you just weren’t very excited about it, but you went anyway. When you arrived, you were professional and did your best but – for whatever reason you just didn’t really care if you gained their approval or not. And then wouldn’t you know it, the times when you were not as heartsick, pining away for an opportunity the hiring managers reacted to you differently, more positively. How can this be?
I have witnessed it many times – it’s happened to me and others I know. The difference is clear to me; in the examples when the interviewee displayed more confidence without much concern about how they would be perceived either consciously or sub-consciously, it doesn’t matter which, it made a difference.
When you interview don’t be afraid to display your more bold side, put it out there and let them meet the real you - hiring managers long to see standout individuals. What’s the worst that can happen, they don’t call you back? Chances are that’s possibly already happening, anyway.
Another piece of advice: regardless of how well qualified you are the worst thing you can do is place yourself in subservience, as if your interview is more an interrogation than a business discussion and exchange of ideas between professionals – which is exactly the way you should view it because that is what the interview represents. By trying too hard to gain their favor at your own expense, you are diminishing yourself – you are putting yourself at a bigger disadvantage, reducing your own value as an individual.
Have you ever heard someone use the phrase, “they put on their pants one leg at a time, just like you”? Begin small if you must, but pledge to yourself to be bolder and I am not suggesting that you be arrogant or in-their-face. Rather, express why you are the best choice and be prepared to back up any of your claims with facts and/or anecdotal evidence when challenged. If as a result you are going to be damned, be damned for being who you are. Hold your head up high and move on. I’ll wager that you will have different and markedly better results in your job search and interview efforts.