It’s Not What You Know, But WHO YOU ARE

How many times have you heard, “It’s not what you know, but who you know”? I’d like another statement to become just as popular: “It’s not what you know, but WHO YOU ARE.”

As someone who has literally interviewed hundreds of job candidates over the course of my career, I can’t stress enough that simply having the technical capabilities down pat is the price of admission.  Though technical prowess may get you in the door, your charisma, your character, your personality, your sincerity – all those things will secure you a second interview and maybe even the job.

I have a friend in the process of interviewing for an exec position who embodies that genuine, engaging “people person.” Though it can be unnerving to interject your humor and authenticity into an interview, my friend reminded me of the power of letting your genuine self shine through. Those positive personal qualities that make him a good friend and a stellar leader really resonated with the interviewee. She “got” him.

It’s risky, perhaps. But then again, so is a positional or cultural mismatch.

You’re not a robot. It’s not enough to go into an interview with all the technical boxes checked. At best, simply being “capable” of fulfilling the responsibilities of the job is 20 percent of what your prospect boss is looking for. The other 80 percent is “Do you fit – with your would-be colleagues? Your supervisors? The organization? The culture? Can they see themselves working with you | collaborating with you | socializing with you | connecting with you?

Likewise, just because you didn’t get the job at Company “A” doesn’t mean you won’t get the job at Company “B.” A rejection letter doesn’t equate to your not being viable in said position you’re applying for – you just may not be a “fit” for that particular organization.

Remember: It’s not a one-way street here.  The hiring manager isn’t the only one on the search. You, too, are searching for the perfect fit, and shoehorning yourself into an organization that only matches your technical prowess (not your personality or attitude) isn’t good for employer or employee.




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