Monthly Archives: May 2012


Jonah Lehrer’s book Imagine addresses how creativity works… excellent book …it comes to a number of conclusions about the fact that creativity is really not as much a gift as it  is a developed trait..

Psychologists, in recent years he claims, have studied the relationship between persistence and creative achievement and have cited the fact that most creative people have a phenomenal ability to stick with their work in spite of all the difficulties and challenges they’re faced with… technical term he uses for this trait is grit..

It made me realize that one of the reasons we have so many people in America who actually just give up looking for a job when they need one is that they lack grit

Many of these people who give up looking for a job just plain don’t know what to do… after talking to a few friends and family they resort to hitting the send button with their resume thinking that is the work of “looking for a job.”  Grit in looking for a job has to do with developing a job search strategy and executing on that strategy no matter how hard or difficult it may be… putting up with the ups and downs of the job search… the rejection, the refusal, the  not getting called back, being told you’re the “best candidate” and then never hearing from the folks who told you that… grit is what it takes to keep on keeping on in spite of setbacks…

Grit is focusing on the process and not worrying about the results even when it’s emotionally difficult…

Got grit?

…appearing desperate or intense

Often, when I’m coaching candidates to be very aggressive and ask the kind of questions I wrote about last week, they say things to me like, “well, Tony, I don’t want to appear desperate and coming on that strong makes me look like I am.”

This couldn’t be further from the truth. It all depends on the attitude you take in asking the questions… if you ask the questions in a nervous, desperate, fearful manner, you will appear desperate.

The way to keep from appearing desperate and still  be intense comes along with the idea of focusing on the process and not the result. If as a matter of the interviewing process, you get in the habit of asking everybody you interview with, “are you going to hire me?” or “are you going to recommend that I be hired?”and you practice these questions so well they simply become a part of your natural interaction with an interviewing or hiring authority (i.e. part of your process), then they will come across as confident with no fear of the answer.

If you focus on the process and even get a “no” for an answer, you’ll simply move on to the next opportunity. If you get a “yes,” you will simply move on to the next step in the process.

That’s the difference between being desperate and intense… focusing on the process and not worrying about the result.

… getting courage

It happens at least three times a week… I coach and teach my candidates that they need to ask three questions at the end of every interview:

“How do I stack up with the other candidates you’ve been speaking with?”

“Do you have any concerns about my ability to do your job?”

“What do I need to do to get the job?”

If they are speaking to someone other than the hiring authority that may be a screening interview or or an interview beyond the hiring authority:

“Are you going to recommend that I be hired for this position?”

I can’t tell you the number of times I ask candidates if they asked these questions… even after I told them… they say something like “Well… it just didn’t seem appropriate… we were running out of time… it just didn’t like the right thing to ask… blah, blah, blah.” In other words what they’re saying is, “I just didn’t have the guts to ask the cold hard question of  ‘are you going to hire me’… I just couldn’t bring myself to get the courage to run the risk of being told ‘no’… I just couldn’t do it.”

Last week, I sent five candidates to one of my clients. I instructed them all to do the same thing and sent all of them to which teaches in absolute detail exactly how to ask these questions. Only one… I repeat, only one had the courage to ask these questions.

My client said, “It was kind of amazing that only one of the five actually asked for the job. Tony, I thought you said these guys are really solid professionals. Only one had the courage and guts to ask if I was going to hire. I want that guy to come back.”

I know this takes practice and I know it takes courage, if you really want to set yourself apart from all your competitors you absolutely have to ask these cold, hard questions in an interviewing situation. You need to know if you’re a candidate or you’re not and you need to know what you need to do to get the job.

I can’t make it any more clear than that!

….poor poor pitiful me

Poor poor pitiful me
Poor poor pitiful me
Lord have mercy on me
Woe Woe is me
—-Linda Ronstadt, 1973

This happens often with candidates who have been “done wrong” by everybody from their present boss, passed bosses, present company, past company, parents, ex-spouses, present spouses, teenage kids etc., etc., etc….and they let it all hang out in the interview.

Everybody has wronged them… they had a miserable life… they can’t get a break… they blame everyone… and they try to get sympathy on the part of the hiring or interviewing authority by sharing their woes…

STOP! you can never go into the interview singing “poor pitiful me”… I don’t care how hard life has been, how lousy you’ve been treated, how unfair life is, how you can’t get a break… you just can’t come across as pitiful.

At least three times a week, we have to warn  candidates to stop complaining … employers and hiring authorities DO NOT WANT TO HIRE PITIFUL PEOPLE… they’ve got enough problems and don’t need anymore pitiful people in their organization…

Sometime back, we had a candidate who was going through a rather hateful divorce… unfortunately, she shared her plight with the female hiring authority… when we told her that it was a bad idea to do that, she told us it didn’t turn out to be such a bad idea because the hiring authority had just gone through a terrible divorce and they spent at least half of the interview sharing their terrible situations…

Unfortunately, the hiring authority thought the candidate’s skills were good but refused to hire her because, ” — she’s going through a terrible divorce like I did and I was so pitiful for so long I couldn’t function, I just couldn’t hire anybody knowing what bad shape they would be in when they tried to work.”

So, please share your “pitiful me” stories with your therapist, priest, rabbi, counselor… anyone but a hiring authority…