Archive for September, 2008

Don’t fight to stay average

September 24, 2008

Many times, job hunting is about beating the numbers. When you
send in a resume with hundreds of other candidates, or are one of
a dozen interviews, the numbers are against you.
It’s your job to stand out from the rest of the crowd, to
make it simple for the hiring manager say “This guy’s the one we
want, no contest.”

That’s why I was discouraged, although not shocked, to see some
blog comments recently where the posters seemed to be endorsing
mediocrity, making excuses for being an average, me-too candidate.

The first comment, over at Evil HR Lady,
lambasted the interview question “Why do you want to work here?”

dumbest.
question.
ever.

i never ask that question since i’m not interested in azz-kissers.

as though 99% applicants aren’t just trying to find a decent job with a decent company in their field. please!

if someone is interested enough to go through the hiring process, i don’t expect them to have breathlessly anticipated employment with my company since they were just ‘yay-high’.

let’s get real, people.

Anonymous is saying “Candidates don’t need to show passion and
excitement for the job, because 99% of everyone is trying to get
by.” In fact, that’s exactly why you should show how you’re
excited about the job, because it sets you apart from the rest of
the crowd. Instead, Anonymous chooses to fight to maintain the
middle ground, to firmly stay average and uninteresting. Chances
are, he’ll wind up with an average and uninteresting job working
for an average and uninteresting boss, too.

The second, posted here on TWG by Andres Kievsky
in response to
What you say vs. what others hear,
takes issue with my comments. I said that it was rude to send
thank-you notes from your Blackberry minutes after the interview
has ended. I think it tells the recipient that you’re just cranking
through job prospects hoping to find something that happens to fit.

Kievsky disagrees, saying that that’s the way Generation Y does
things and management better get used to it:

Understanding generational divides is something difficult, but a very important skill for any manager nowadays.

There are myriad differences in attitude and communication style between Generation Ys and older people. I suggest reading up on the subject before dismissing anyone.

Kievsky isn’t wrong that the Millenials in the workforce are going
to be a challenge

to a business world that isn’t used to these newcomers that have
always had cell phones, always had the Internet. However, those
Millenials are also going to be up against the wall if they don’t
understand the culture they’re entering, and refuse to play by its
rules. Maybe it’s “normal” or “standard” for Millenials to send a
thank-you SMS message, but that’s a poor justification for alienating
someone in a process that is all about human interaction.

Being the same as everyone else is cold comfort when you don’t get
the job, beaten out by someone who is willing to transcend the group
she’s lumped in with. As with Anonymous, rather than using the
averageness of the masses to justify poor business sense, Kievsky
and Anonymous would better serve readers by encouraging them to
elevate from the norm.