I know I’m not the only one who dreads hearing the same old acceptance speeches. “I want to thank my agent, my mom, my third-grade teacher, my limo driver ... and so on ... and so on …” Let’s get real: "I busted my butt for years and sacrificed everything to get here and I appreciate the fact that I’m finally getting the recognition I deserve. Thank you.”
OK, my suggestion is a little over the top, but does the audience really care? We don’t recognize half the names of the people who supported them. Wouldn’t it be better if they made a personal phone call tomorrow morning to thank those who made a difference in their lives? (And oh, please don’t tweet them a thank you message!)
I’ve got an idea. Let’s start to include a thank you list as part of the job interview process. Your goal is to convince the interviewer that you are the best person for the job. Have you ever considered giving credit to those who helped you get to where you are today? One of your objectives is to convince the interviewer that you’re a great collaborator and team player, so why not start with a list of the people who supported you?
People continually ask me how they can convince the interviewer that they have a wonderful attitude and will be a great addition to the team. A strong place to start is to tell them how you became such a valued employee. Where did you develop those important character traits such as patience and perseverance? Describe someone you admire and what you learned from that person. Don’t just tell them what they taught you, the employer wants to hear about real life experiences of when you actually applied the important lessons you’ve learned from others.
I’m a strong believer that the most effective job interviews are those that get beyond the standard job questions like, “Tell me about yourself.” The best interviews feel like personal conversations that disclose the candidate’s true character. Interviewers can tell when job candidates answer questions with well-rehearsed answers. A good resume tells the interviewer what you’ve done, but they want to know who you are. Your technical skills may open the door, but it’s your attitude and character traits that will close the deal and get you a job offer.
Before your next job interview make a list of the people you’ve helped become successful. Effective teams create a culture of helping each other. They aren’t pointing fingers and placing blame. Every team has a weakest link and the best teams don’t leave that person behind, they make adjustments in an effort to help that person improve. Have you been a mentor for someone who needed help? This is your opportunity to share that story and show them who you really are.
There’s a good chance you’ve heard this job interview question: “Describe your greatest weakness, or a time that you failed.” Come prepared with an example of when you reached out for help. It’s nice to hear you believe in collaboration, but can you share a specific example of when it really worked? Collaborators welcome feedback. Can you describe instances when you benefited from the input from co-workers? Better yet, describe a time when you should have reached out for feedback and you didn’t. What was the result?
Almost every Oscar winner will say, “I didn’t do this alone.” It’s the same way in our personal and professional lives. Organizations are looking for people who bring a positive attitude to the team. Your individual skills are important, but your ability to share those skills and talents with the entire team is just as important. Reflect on how often you say “we” and not “I." This could be the one change that will help you get that job.