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Looking in the Mirror

I mean, in the eye of the beholder.

So you want to talk about “looking in the mirror”, but you aren’t sure how that affects your career?  Let me help.  Let’s reflect on professional interviews.
JANINA:  I need your help.
ME:  Sure.  How can I help?
JANINA:  I need to find another job.
ME:  Why?
JANINA:  Because they won’t promote me at the job I’m at now.
ME:  Why?
JANINA:  I don’t know.
ME:  Did you ask?
ME:  What did they say?
JANINA:  Nothing.
ME:  So they just sat in silence?
JANINA:  Not really. 
ME:  I want to be the first to give you feedback that you actually listen to.  Let me start by saying you are not the right person for that job and you won’t go anywhere until you examine feedback, find where you’d add value and promote your strength.
JANINA:  But…shoot.
This is an example of a session I had with someone who was determined to believe she was not hired for a promotion for the wrong reasons.  I’m sure you’ve had those interviews too where YOU knew you were the right person for every job you interviewed for, but interviewers refused to hire you for their own unfair, blind reasons-or so you thought.  My ask of you is to take a look in the mirror.  Better yet, take a look at you through the eyes of the interviewer.  See what they saw.  Did you tell the interview how great you are?  Did you give personal, specific and related examples that related to what you read in the role announcement?  Did you get feedback after the interview?  Were you open to hearing what they had say?  Did you begin to build yourself based on what you heard?


LISTEN:  Before and after your interview, get feedback.  If you know someone who works there, find out what they know before the interview.  Ask them to tell you about their typical work day.  Read the description of the open position.  Soak in all of the details and the words that pinpoint what the interviewers are looking for and, though not mentioned, what they need.  After the interview, get feedback too.  Don’t just check this step off of your list, really grab hold to what they said.  If feedback isn’t proactively offered to you, ask for it.
REFLECT:  Now reflect.  Look objectively at yourself with a “how can I be better” mindset.  Let me start by saying you shouldn’t act on every piece of feedback given to you.  Simply take an objective view of what they told you, then move the best way you believe is possible.  Sometimes that will mean you should read more, talk more or even talk less.  Sometimes that even means you should really consider if this career is even the right one for you.  If you’re not clear, ask, in an objective way, a friend, colleague or professional coach to help with interpreting your interviewer’s feedback as well as the expectations for the role.  For visual people like me, picture on a piece of paper all that you were told and all that you read about regarding their description of the perfect candidate.  Now, right next to that, add what you TOLD them (NOT what you think they should already know) about you.  See how the pieces fit together.  You’ll see how important it is to not take employee knowledge and the description of the open position for granted.
4c9b3f_8c9b280c2b2a449bb15b81e63fa4fab6.jpg_srz_p_202_324_75_22_0.50_1.20_0BUILD:  You heard and accepted the feedback.  Now you know your opportunity and your strengths.  (If you’re not clear on your strengths, watch out for my new book, RUSH.  This is a bold, but inspiring book that helps support you in finding your gifted purpose.)  Now, you are clearer on your next steps.  For example, you may find you need to open yourself up to telling your story with specific examples during the interview.  You may be aware you need to sell yourself more.  You may see that you need to accept that you have indeed held leadership roles in so many ways.  You may be reminded to tell them you’re not just a quick learner, but you read the book and passed the test in 2 days.  Then again, you may find this really wasn’t the environment you wanted to be in any way.  You may find you get the career role you’re looking for and you’re glad you asked about for feedback and compared your strengths, because now you see what you’re stepping into wasn’t a part of the job description, but you’re ready anyway.
Tomorrow night, I challenge you to commit 1 hour to sit down and look at the description of what you want.  Maybe description is in the newspaper, maybe it’s hanging up in the hall way at work, may be finding the description is a Google assignment.  Now write down your strengths and needs next to the printed description.  Look in the eyes of your potential interviewer OR potential client.  What do you see?  Build yourself by using your resources to prepare.  Now get ready to tell them how great you are, so when the doors open, you can say, “I am…and you should be confident, I am more than ready.”
Find out more about how I can help you by contacting me at
Published inBalance | BlogsThe Mirror Series

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