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Rights paid to Istockphoto, a Getty company

I recently spoke with a software company’s top HR guy. He related the story of a candidate who, because of his own actions, precluded himself from being considered for any future jobs with the company. This is a story of what not to do.

As with most jobs today, hundreds of candidates applied for a particular HR role. The candidate with the best qualifications (skills + experience) was offered the role and accepted. The remaining candidates were sent a “thanks for your interest; this position has been filled” communication.

Upon receiving notice that he was not selected for the role, one candidate made a career limiting move. He sent a reply to the head of HR saying “totally your loss” along with further colorful comments suggesting the company was stupid to have passed up the opportunity to hire him.


Rights paid to Istockphoto, a Getty company

Au contraire. In fact, the rejected candidate’s comments validated the company’s selection methodology. HR roles require individuals with the utmost composure, the maximum ability to remain cool throughout heated conversations and a commitment to smoothing out conflict in order to end discussions with a perceived win-win. HR team members must act with the mindset of an owner, serving selflessly as the face of the business and not succumbing to the natural instinct to protect or boost their own egos. Bridges are to be maintained in HR-to-business discussions, not broken.

This candidate’s irate bridge-breaking ego-puffing behavior aligned perfectly with the type of candidate the company would never want on its HR team. He would drag HR and the business into a cesspool of distraction, finger-pointing, weak relationships and legal risks. While the candidate was not selected for that role, he may have been considered for future roles in that location or other locations around the globe. However, his unprofessional response was logged…it is part of the interview process…and that response is likely to preclude him from ever being considered for a job with that company again.

Candidates: remember that the only thing your employer owes you is a paycheck. In exchange for the paycheck, you must shed the part of human nature that considers “me” and “self” first. Check your ego at the door and focus on returning real value.

The company’s goal is to solve urgent, business-critical problems. If you demonstrate that you place interests of the company and the longevity of its brand far ahead of your own gains, the company will eagerly pull you close and give you greater and greater responsibility. Careers are made by earning the trust that wins you growing responsibility. Careers are not built on neediness and ‘me’ mindsets.

Today’s successful businesses cannot hear at the frequency of “me” or “I.” They are attuned to the frequencies of “shareholder approval” and “returning customers.” In any interview, remain focused on identifying how your skills will deliver value and help solve the company’s current problems. Demonstrate that you operate with the mindset of an owner. Share real examples of times that you proactively identified solutions that hurdled barriers, and if you have no such examples, start building them today. Show that you only communicate problems when you have thought out a list of solutions. Help the employer understand that you are eager to be a humble team player focused on cooperating with others to move the company forward toward success. If you are the real solution to their problems, you will get the job.

Your comments – better than reality TV: Your comments are valued because every day the realities within business are unfolding and you are experiencing them. I think I’ve seen it all until someone like you shares just one more great example of the things happening today. I’ve never had to watch a reality t.v. show because I’ve always had big business to keep me entertained, and feverishly taking notes…


Job seekers: Treat rejection as part of the interview5 Comments

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