There are many stories of a talented applicant choosing to display a self-centered and arrogant image during the traditional job search. A few minutes ago I viewed a CBS 20/20 broadcast where an unemployed job applicant said, “I have a college degree and have had success in business, so I am not applying for lower level work.” Any person choosing to help that person get a job risks having their judgment questioned when the attitude comes out. When a jobseeker behaves this badly on TV, all we can do is scratch our head and wonder, “Don’t they get how they come across?”
Before we review mistakes your competitors make every day, let’s look at something I’m sure you are doing right. Little kids learn, “Mind Your Manners for Your Whole Life!. However, your competition doesn’t always remember the rule like you do. What should the Hiring Manager think, If an applicant’s body language communicates they’re unhappy or aggravated with things like: having to go through a fourth round of interviews; having to reschedule their doctor appointment to meet for a follow-up interview, and being asked if they could stay overnight out of town to work on some project. Always using good manners puts you far ahead of any candidate unable to totally control their emotions.
Let’s go over five specific behavior no-no’s that can blow up when building relationships with opportunity gatekeepers and Hiring Managers (“HM”).
1. Not understanding the HM’s needs in the process – Your competition is focusing on the needs of a position and how, by filling that need, they will make the HM happy. However, filling a currently defined need within the organization is always a risk to the HM because hiring the wrong person makes their judgment look bad and damages their long term respect within the entire organization. Your competition doesn’t realize they must quickly and clearly show the HM the benefits they can deliver, specifically how those benefits help the HM personally, and how committed they are to delivering those benefits over the next 90 days. Lucky for you the competition is focused on the wrong thing!
2. Believing it’s all about you – Your competitors go into an interview with a mindset of, “I have to get them to like me – love me – hire me” so I have to impress with my accomplishments. The organization won’t be impressed with what you did for someone else, using different systems, to achieve different goals, in a different environment………….you get the point. This attitude often goes hand-in-hand with the previous mistake. After you are hired, in response to a new business development, they may ask you to do something that was not even part of the hiring decision. Lucky for you, the competition is focused on discussing, “What will I be doing in this position, rather than how can I best help you achieve today’s most important goal?”
3. Assuming other employees want to help you achieve your personal goals – Other employees are all CEO’s of their own business – Me, Inc. and work hard every day on improving their own future. Your competitors are wondering how those employees can be used to help with the hiring/advancement process. Lucky for you the other employees hate your competitors who use, rather than help them.
4. Expecting responses on your timetable – Your competition focuses on how miserable they are feeling when they are waiting for news of the next step. They totally forget that the HM is only interviewing because they don’t have enough resources to get their existing work done. Hiring someone is an additional work load that creates a “BE CAREFUL!” environment (see #1). Other applicants will call attention to your patient and professional approach by their calling, emailing, and “in the neighborhood and stopped by” actions that project a lack of self-confidence and desperation. Lucky for you they believe when it comes to follow-up, more is better.
5. Applying for a “job” – If you’re looking for the landmine that most often blows up destroying any chance of your competition getting in ahead of you, you just found it. Those four innocent looking little words – “Applying for a job” – have sunk so many opportunity ships while the applicants were standing on the dock waiting for their ship to come in. The Traditional Hiring System demands that a written legal description of the tasks being discussed with the applicant be prepared. Your competitors want to match up each of the tasks with a previous accomplishment to show a “good fit”. They completely miss that the HM may know the needed work activity does not match the task list, as often happens when there isn’t time to update an out-of-date job description. Most importantly, the competition shouts to the HM, “I don’t care if you have plans or dreams that are bigger than the job I am applying for, even though I am a resource that would make that dream possible. Lucky for you!
Your job search journey will be impacted by many outside forces. You choose to self confidently project a quality resource that any organization would be proud to have. Some are a better fit than others, but you are valuable to them all.
Thank you for sharing this post with someone who would benefit from this job search info. I’m sure they would appreciate it!
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