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3 Creative Steps To Get The “Real You” Noticed

Today’s interview process is fundamentally broken. I don’t know the “real you.”

I used to be a professional recruiter. Now I run my own business. In both scenarios…efficiency is critical and to me, knowing who you are and how you may “fit” in our culture is the most important hiring factor.

When you go to an interview, what do you do? You print out a Paleolithic paper resume and cover letter (maybe) and then sit down with the interviewer. You discuss your skills. You show where you’ve worked. You highlight what you’ve done then proudly spread your certifications out for inspection. You tell them the answers you think they want to hear and they brag about how great their company is.

Bottom line…They need employees and want to hire someone and you need a job and want to be that someone. You’ll feel each other out to a degree, but at the end of the day, its qualifications that get the job. You’re happy if you’re the one chosen.

Rinse and Repeat. Sound familiar?

But how happy is this marriage six months down the road? Not very. Ouch! You’re tired of being micromanaged by your boss, your co-workers are loud and distracting, and nobody refills the coffee pot when it’s empty. Your boss is equally frustrated that you don’t seem like a “team player.” Your co-workers think you’re standoffish. After 1-4 years, you leave, just like the majority of US workers.

Now, let’s pause the narrative. What went wrong? It’s simple: Another case of “Hired for Skill, Quit for Fit”(…or worse…fired for fit!)

Nobody had even the most cursory discussion about who you really are or how you may fit. Conversely, you didn’t take the time to dive into the company’s culture, your potential team’s sub-cultures or even request to hang out for a half day. You both didn’t learn a single thing about whether you would work well together and instead you let that whopping 90% of the iceberg turn into a several yearlong discovery process. During that time everybody was frustrated at the lack of fit and in the end, it was a costly endeavor for both parties.

Here are just some of the facts:

  • It takes 18 months’ worth of salary[1] to train a replacement.
  • Most unemployed job-seekers spend 3 months looking for work[2]

Both employers and employees are hemorrhaging hard-earned money trying to find the elusive “right fit,” over and over.

Now, let’s return to examine your co-workers: Your boss is a type-A personality that prefers over-communication. We could have known that up-front. Your co-workers are primarily extroverts who prioritize instant gratification. And you? You haven’t even done the work to know who you are in the office environment!

All of this conspires to create the US labor force we have today where 68% of people are disengaged in their work[3]. This catastrophic blindness to the soft-skills and workplace aptitudes that make up 90% of our career success leads to hiring results that are worse than random. Employers might have more success flipping a coin rather than relying on their intuition.

The process is simply stuck in the stone age: we’re making massive assumptions based on limited information and praying for success.

Let’s start being more transparent.

By discussing who you are and how you work best, candidly up-front, you save yourself years of headache…(And my time too!) All those nuanced personal preferences can help you avoid workplace dissatisfaction. You never have to wonder, “is it me?” and you never again have to experience “Monday-dread” or “Sunday Night Blues.”

Recruiters and hiring managers know that “fit” is extremely important. But finding it in a pile of resumes can be tough. Here’s a reminder from a previous post how you can put their best “fit” forward:

1. Be socially transparent  – expressing your interests, core values, and culture over social media is a great way to show future employers that you are right for the job – be sure to stay active and include links to your Twitter, LinkedIn, and others on your resume.

2. Network, network, network – great people know great people. Engage with your network by attending meetups in person or online, and tell people you’re looking for a new opportunity (be specific). This will not only get the word out, but extend your network, putting you in contact with many people who know of opportunities that might not even be listed.

3. Illuminate yourself
– to stand out today you need to take a proactive approach and express yourself in a unique way. uses your answers from a short survey to create an infographic with your core values, work styles, and desired company culture. This will catch a recruiter’s attention and provide a personality to go with the experience listed on your resume.

Why can’t a successful interview process feel like you’ve found a soul mate? Two parties, mutually agreeing that they WANT to be together for an equally equitable relationship? It’s about open and honest candor so that the next time you sign an offer letter, you can feel the stress melt away in knowing that it’s going to be the right-fit.


[1] Forbes – “What Was Management Thinking? The High Cost of Employee Turnover”

[2] The Atlantic – “What 27 Weeks Does to the American Worker”

[3] Gallup

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