…ego and blind spots…the job seeker

Listening to a really great book by Ray Dalio, Principles: Life and Work. One of the many, many principles that he advises is for all of us to beware of our ego and our blind spots. His advice is to be so aware of your own ego and your blind spots that you counterbalance whatever tendencies that are a result of these two factors by, first of all, recognizing them, and then seeking the opinions of others, especially those who do not have the same blind spots. Most of us, (98% of all drivers), for instance, feel like we are more competent than 50% of all the drivers on the road. Our ego and the blind spots we have in our ability to be a competent driver override our true and realistic ability. The vast majority of us are rather poor drivers. Ask our insurance companies.

Ego and blind spots are particular hindrances when it comes to seeking a job as well as hiring. This session is devoted to the job seeker.

Since 1973, next to discovering great career and job opportunities and  recruiting quality candidates, much of my time is devoted to helping most of those candidates overcome their egotistical “I can do anything…just get me in front of them” …”I don’t need any coaching”..  attitude. Along with this attitude comes a healthy ignoring of the “blind spots” they have about their experience, mistakes in their career and interviewing faux pas.

Just this past week, I interviewed a pretty solid VP who, egotiscally, thought that his following a previous manager to three places was a high compliment to his management ability. His blind spot was that he followed this guy three times in three years. While he was bragging about his being ‘sought after’ because he was so good, it simply didn’t dawn on him that anyone who might think of hiring him was going to wonder, “So, if I hire this guy, how long will it be before his ex-boss calls him to hire him away….can’t run that risk.”

There is a difference between a “big” ego and a “healthy” ego. A big ego ignores or overlooks their blind spots. A healthy ego recognizes they have blind spots and even asks others to help them out in recognizing their blind spots. And, after acknowledging them, figures out how to address them, no matter how uncomfortable it is.

Dealing with being uncomfortable in interviews takes lots of practice. Most egos won’t readily admit that and, therefore, screw up lots of interviews until they learn to address their blind spots.

Most ego mistakes are defensive mechanisms, especially in interviewing situations. We instruct candidates to ‘sell themselves,’ but that doesn’t mean to lead with the ego. Most candidates aren’t anywhere near as aware as theny should be of how tough their competition is. Most see their attributes through their own eyes, or believe their spouses, peers, and rsometimes bosses who tell them how wonderful they are. But hiring authorities have lots of ‘wonderful’ candidates to choose from. Simply gracing a company with your willingness to interview won’t cut it. A candidate needs to be able to clearly and concisely articulate the four or five features, advantages and benefits complete with numerous performance examples as to why they should be hired over other candidates. Remember, stories sell, numbers tell.

Ego and blind spots can kill your job search.




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