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Positively Passionate

Sometimes, the simple things make you stand out on interviews!

One of my favorite things about working in recruiting and coaching is that I learn something new just about every day. A longtime client taught me to look beyond the raw skills and experience in a candidate and focus on their passion, their desire to do well and their love of their chosen field. He also validated something I always knew but cannot hurt to have reinforced, interviews need to remain positive at all times.

Let's start with passion. Three candidates interviewed with this hiring manager for an engineering position. All were reasonably similar in their educational background, types of companies they had previously worked for, years of related experience, certifications and software packages, etc. Salary expectations were about the same as well. Two of them were very efficient and competent on their interviews and highly professional. The third was all of the above but shared success stories from their past as well as how much they love their work and how they are constantly researching ways to improve how they perform on the job. At the end of the interview, this person was the only one who asked for the job and ultimately did get hired.

Positive interviews are very critical to getting a new job. No one wants to hear that you despised your prior manager, hated your co-workers, disliked the old fashioned furniture in your office, felt your company did not spend enough money on computer upgrades, etc. What they prefer to hear is what you accomplished at the old job, how you coped with the limitations thrown your direction, and how you made the best of what you had to work for. Even when times were better and their was a shortage of available candidates, employers hesitated to hire people who came across in a negative way.

Everything I have written today might seem obvious to you but I assure you hiring managers will scrutinize you closely. Remain "Positively Passionate" at all times and you will improve your chances exponentially. Good luck!

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Robert J. Martorana, CFA March 26, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Harold, I agree completely. I am now hiring investment associates, and passion is the key. I can teach anything, except attitude. Rob
Harold Levin March 26, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Rob, I totally agree. Skills can be sharpened and fine tuned on the job but passion and attitude must be part of the candidate's makeup.
Laura Madsen March 26, 2012 at 07:34 PM
A positive attitude is 50% of the equation in almost every situation.
Harold Levin March 26, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Laura, I totally agree! Hiring someone who is already negative is a recipe for failure!
Steve March 26, 2012 at 09:16 PM
Harold, good advice for interviewing. I also use this approach in life, like when looking to hire someone to do a job at your house. If one contractor goes out of their way to talk negative about another that you may be considering that sets up a red flag for me.
Harold Levin March 26, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Steve, Maybe we could get politicians to follow the same process during campaigns!
BDVideo March 31, 2012 at 03:07 AM
It has to be genuine, as well. Show your passion, but be aware that if you're forcing it just to get a job, maybe it's time for a career change. A good sign is when you can smile and see the silver lining even when you're having a relatively bad day. I'd hire someone who can do that.
Harold Levin March 31, 2012 at 11:24 AM
BD, Very true! A good interviewer should be able to pick out someone selling them a bill of goods but there are candidates who are pretty good at deception. I have been fooled a few times but usually sincerity and passion are easy to identify.

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