I am a believer that America is one of the greatest countries in the world. From a hiring standpoint though, American values get in the way of successful hires.
America Hires Backwards
The majority of the world begins an interview with the idea that a candidate is 0% qualified for the job when he or she walks in the door. During the interview the candidate earns points towards being qualified with her or his answers, essentially moving closer to being 100% qualified for the job.
America is very different. Because we expect the best right away, a candidate walks in with the expectation of being 100% qualified for the job and loses points during the interview, moving in a negative direction.
A 70% fit for a job is very different in the US vs. the rest of the world…
Americans want the biggest and the best, immediately. We expect things to be top quality, all things. From the television we buy, to the way the dry cleaners treat our clothes to just about everything else…if it isn’t the best Americans feel like we have a right to demand the best. That translates to the hiring process as well.
Because of the American value of the “best should be put forth first,” employers want only the best. Most employers want to hire someone who can “hit the ground running” and become an organizational contributor right away. The idea of developing talent, finding people who are close to a great fit, means risk and dollars invested in the person while he or she comes up to speed.
What Does This Mean to a Job Seeker?
A job seeker must understand the expectation of the interviewer to be successful in “selling” him or herself. Knowing that the expectations of interviewers is very high, it become imperative that job seekers be as polished as possible. Polished means:
- Looking good on paper (i.e. your resume) communicating value and an ability to accomplish tasks
- Looking good on the internet or social media, meaning content about a job seeker on the internet should echo the resume and avoid polarizing topics that could alienate an interviewer
- Providing good answers to interview questions, which means job seekers should think about answers and how to relay experiences effectively and then practice that answer so that it comes out naturally during an interview
- Present a professional image meaning that personal grooming and clothing is neat, clean and neutral during interviews
Being polished comes through preparation. Professional athletes, military and emergency personnel, entertainers and most professionals practice their profession in order to execute at a high level when it matters the most. The same can be said for the job seeker. Prepare in advance through research, strategic thinking, working with others to refine your message and practicing your answers to job search questions.
Become a “professional” job seeker until you close that job.