Welcome to Part 3 of my 3 Part series about how you can learn from my mistakes and not allow your ego to sabotage your job search.
Part 1 and 2 discussed how I sabotaged my job search by letting my ego influence who I thought I was and how I should or should not network.
This week in Part 3 we conclude with how my ego sabotaged my interviewing, and how I came to overcome the devil inside.
Part 3: Sabotaging my Interviewing
Where I was:
- Felt superior to others since I was a high earner for many years
- Felt angry at Credit Suisse for laying me off
- Felt confused about how I should network
I would say that it is almost a golden rule that whatever you are feeling in your “gut” will come out during an interview. I have rarely met a person who can hide their inner-self and “fake it”.
Problem 1: Me
When I started to interview again, I spent way too much time talking about why I lost my job at Credit Suisse. I felt that I needed to prove Credit Suisse wrong and me right.
The problem with this line of dialogue was I started it. It’s one thing to respond to a tough question, “Why did you leave your former employer”; it’s another to volunteer bad information.
Why not just go on first date and brag you are the world’s greatest nose picker?
Problem 2: I didn’t know the market
I also expected that whatever position I was interviewing for would be commensurate with my title and compensation at Credit Suisse.
Hello? Talk about living in the past and not understanding current market conditions. Like trying on my suites from my 30’s wondering why they didn’t fit. They must have shrunk in my closet.
Ignorance to the extreme:
- I had no idea what I was “worth” to the market, or what title I could command
- When asked “tell me about yourself”, I discussed what I did over the past 3 years, instead of lifetime skills I developed that an employer needed now
- I didn’t even realize the magnitude of change in the workplace
New job titles, new companies, new business models, but old me. As Joe Walsh sang in Life’s Been Good, “everybody’s so different, I haven’t changed”.
Please understand I didn’t set out to sabotage myself (or maybe I did? Topic for another blog). I took a healthy river flowing with job opportunity and polluted it with my concept of who I am in the “eyes of me”.
How I turned it around
With the help of my brother, the best career coach, salesman, brother, bar none, he taught me to “wake up”.
My brother took me through the greatest job search self-help exercise: think of yourself as starting to date again
“Date?” I had been faithfully married for 10 years. As I remember I didn’t exactly succeed in that department prior to getting married given my low volume of “activity” if you know what I mean.
If my dating success back then was measured in terabytes, I batted less than a kilobyte.
My brother then conceptually slapped me in the face and said, “Did you find a wife, get married and have two beautiful children?”
Ah, so I did succeed in dating; it wasn’t about quantity, it was about quality. Light bulb started to flicker “on”. So, I only really needed one woman back then, and hence one job now?
Interesting. We continued…
First date rules that most of us know or should know:
- Be yourself, but a version of yourself that is positive and upbeat which although may be hidden before the date, is still there-IT NEVER GOES AWAY!
- Hold aside your baggage for now; your date has theirs, and there is plenty of time after you get to know each other to take trips
- Talk about what you love to do on weekends and what makes you unique
- “Read” your date to modify your behavior; if you start talking about ice skating and they aren’t into it, switch topics
My brother and I started to role play. Easy for me, harder for him as he was a grown-up dude playing a woman on a first date. Hey, does that mean the interviewer might be nervous also?
Over and over and over, I got better. We videotaped my answers, examining hand gestures, eye contact and body language. I sought advice from others I knew.
Eventually our work paid off as, after 40 first round interviews, I landed a job at IMS ExpertServices as a recruiter, a forerunner to my work now as a career coach. Thanks Bill and Mike Wein (RIP) for giving me a chance!
Sign up for a 30 Minute Complimentary Consultation