Um, Who?

When interviewing someone, one of the main things I look for is whether or not the person gets it. Now, what is “it?” In a nutshell, the person needs to show me they have a clue of what it takes to successfully navigate the job. Their words and actions must convey they are engaged in the task of delivering quality work versus simply going through the motions or telling me what I want to hear.

To help make my point, I’m going to toss in a quick story. Jake, not his real name, applied to be a recruiter on my team several years ago. He patted himself on the back for his ability to build connections. Connections are the name of the game in recruiting. Jake pulled out a stack of business cards approximately 2 inches thick and set them on my desk. “These are the connections I’ve made just in the past few weeks,” he bragged. The stack looked impressive. I picked up the stack, selected a card from the middle, showed him the card and asked him to tell me about that person. Jake’s response was to tell me the person’s name, title and company. Great, he can read a business card. I wanted more. “Tell me about the person, Jake. In connecting with this person, what did you come to learn about him and his company?” Jake’s eyeballs rolled up in his brain to look for a good answer. There wasn’t one to be had.

Jake found himself in the unfortunate category of those who don’t get it. His mind told him having a person’s business card equaled having a relationship. Not so. Jake lacked the basic understanding of what it took to be successful in the job he was convinced was a fit. When I pointed out Jake didn’t really have relationships with these individuals, he became defensive. Clearly I didn’t appreciate his abilities. He was no longer interested in working for me. In his mind, I didn’t get it. Me, the one with “President’s Club” and “Million Dollar Producer” stamped on my business card.

So, what to do with this tidbit? Honestly, I don’t know. It’s hard to be aware of when you may not “get it” at times. You can reduce your chances of falling into this category by truly considering what it would take to be successful with every job you apply for. Be honest with yourself about where your talents truly lie. When interviewers hint you may be coming up short in some way, give the points consideration before becoming defensive. Not getting it doesn’t have to be a permanent condition.

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