You have the education, flawless resume, and well-pressed suit. You know your accomplishments frontwards and backwards. Think you are ready to interview? Not so fast my friend! Let’s make one more check. How is your attitude?
By the time you reach the interview stage, you probably are not much more qualified than the other candidates. Want an advantage going in? Differentiate yourself with a good attitude. A positive, upbeat, and enthusiastic demeanor will increase your chances of advancing to the next round of interviews. Believe me when I tell you, a hiring manager with 600 resumes has options.
I coach job seekers whose attitudes keep them from landing new positions. By now, I am able to identify which ones will quickly land jobs and which ones will struggle just based on their outlook! Everyone can suffer from negativity. Some are so far into their bad attitudes that they don’t even recognize it. Call them to the carpet and they can’t believe what they are hearing. Your outlook and attitude can significantly influence your prospects. Didn’t George Carlin say the guy driving faster than you is a maniac and the guy driving slower than you is an idiot? A bad attitude detracts from the skills you bring to an employer. The key to differentiating yourself is POSITIVE ATTITUDE.
Hopelessness. I don’t know why I’m even bothering! I give up! There is no way they will hire me! I say you reap what you sow. The more negative you are about finding a new job, the more difficult it becomes. The hopeless job seeker rejects success stories. Ignore dramatic accounts of highly educated individuals working as waiters or driving taxis. Here is the real information. The reality of another person is not your reality. You can’t say what your results will be in ANYTHING based on someone else’s experience. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t underestimate your ability. Choose your path. Get your own results.
Don’t make excuses for not applying to jobs either: I don’t have the experience, the job is too far away, or I don’t know if I can do that. Sounds very familiar! Don’t spend hours in the job listings then end the day before making a call or sending a resume.
Resentment. A good number of workers come to me after being reorganized or terminated. They believed their hard work had gotten them nowhere and feel strong resentment. Staying angry at a former employer can surface and negatively impact your interview performance. Negativity is a sly foe. You may criticize your former company, wallow in self-pity, or overly focus on what the prospective employer can do for you. Losing your job can be a cruel blow, but no matter how justified you are in your feelings, it’s best to surrender to them and accept what happened before beginning your search. Better yet. Figure it is the company’s loss and an opportunity to pour your skills into a new cup. Yes, a fresh application for the sum of your skills and experience. With the right attitude, it will change for the better. Dust yourself off! Chin up! Move on!
Arrogance. One client had a list of credentials and qualifications coupled with a horribly self-righteous attitude. He was demanding, pushy, and simply assumed he would be handed a job because he was so talented. During our meeting, he was defensive, behaved like a spoiled child, and deflected every point I made. When I told him he needed to change his attitude, he became angry. As we talked more, he began to understand how he came across, and he thanked me for being so honest before he left.
Improving your candidacy by improving your demeanor is a matter of self-awareness and discipline. Let’s make a positive attitude a key feature of your candidacy. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good outlook. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t underestimate your ability.
Douglas Pilarski is President of Sawyer TMS, a retained executive search firm. Get his tweets at @SawyerTMS or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.