Posted: February 01, 2010
On Management: Job interviews picking up? Part II
Attitude could be the reason you get a better job either in your present company or for a new one.Pat Wiesner
What makes a boss say, "I really like this person, I want him/her working here," after just 20 minutes or so? What makes an interviewer who has prepared a list of 15 questions for you forget those questions and begin to tell you how much you are going to like working at this company? What characteristic is perhaps more meaningful when it comes to getting a job than any skill you might have?
A positive "I like life" can-do, team-player attitude that rings true and leaves no doubt about work ethic is hard to find. When a boss searching for just the right person to add to his or her team comes across one, it's hard to pass up.
We won't have nearly the success just sitting there properly and answering questions. We have to grab on and live up to our responsibility as half of the interview. There are a couple of things you can try hard to communicate about yourself in a job interview: the effort you are capable of and your sense of team.
One of the most memorable lessons I ever got came at an airfield in Kansas many years ago. I had gone to an air show, which I often did in those days, and I remember being totally absorbed in the incredible flying the pilot was demonstrating in a small single-engine plane. His entire routine was outstanding, and his maneuvers were as good as could be done. It was the first time I had seen a stunt pilot do such a magnificent job of "hanging" on the prop and seemingly flying the airplane sideways down the flight line. He was clearly very skilled and very practiced.
When he was back on the ground with his plane parked, I saw him cleaning some windows on his bird and I went up to him.
"Congratulations on a great show," I said. "Just a super example of skill and a fine machine coming together. How do you get that good?"
I'll never forget his answer. "Sir, I can't do it any better. Every day I leave it all out there. I do my very best every day, each time."
We talked for a while but my thoughts were about this man's approach to life ... his attitude. I had a small company at the time and would have hired him on the spot just to be around him, but he was a pilot and I was a publisher.
But I never forgot his attitude and ever since I have looked for people with this type of attitude to be around.
When we are being interviewed we should remember that when answering questions and telling the interviewer about ourselves we should be telling about our attitude, our work ethic and how much of ourselves we will put into our new job. We need to put into true words just who we are and what our values are so that our prospective new employer can judge just how we will fit into his/her needs. Ask questions about how effort is important in this company and what kind of effort it takes to advance.
A good boss will have a strong sense of team. Again, we must find our own words to communicate our sense of team and just how important it is to us. Ask questions about teamwork. Make sure this is an environment you would feel good about being a part of. Then if you like it, tell the potential new boss how you feel and how and why you like his ideas and his sense of team. If you can have this kind of discussion, you both will have a better chance of having a good connection. And strangely, it is more up to the person being interviewed to make it happen.
To be genuinely excited, positive, can-do, etc., we have to find out enough about the way things work in the company we are interviewing to naturally get that way. The best advice is ask enough questions to understand the company, and if you like it, tell 'em about it, and let your natural best self show.
Pat Wiesner is the retired CEO of WiesnerMedia, publisher of ColoradoBiz. He still leads sales training for the company. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.