Guest blog post by Kirk Kuhn, author of Time On Target--Launch Your Life Like a Titan II ICBM and STEADCONSULTANTS CEO.
© 2017 by Kirk Kuhn. Written exclusively for Career Action Resources Blog.
We’re in the fat times now for the job seeker. The current labor market is starving for employees, and some companies will hire anything that breathes. It might take a minute, but it won’t last, because I promise you lean times follow fat times, and the economy will tank.
So as a seasoned and ruthless job interviewer, I want to lay out some thoughts for you. A well-known fact of job search is it’s an art and a science. What isn’t so well known is it’s show business. When you get to a job interview, it’s show time, and you’re the show. It’s you acting and you putting on the play. You’re the director, script writer, creative designer. You arrange the stage. When you get an interview, you’re forced to get on that stage, step into your spotlight, and do a song and dance about yourself on key and on time.
Most job seekers fail to understand this complicated fact. They don’t understand it’s their play and their dialogue, and they have to learn their lines and dance moves. Your show has to be an award winner or else you get poor reviews, and you don’t get the job offer. I find it absolutely amazing how many people think their next job is going to last, and they disregard the critical need to learn how to be self-directed job seekers who understand they will be looking for jobs for the rest of their working lives. There is a new order in the labor market. Those who are skilled actors in the art and science of job search and interviewing will have an immensely easier time navigating the 21st century labor market.
Job search is a comedy drama. In my 30 years in the field of human resources and workforce development, I have seen some seriously funny and unfunny stuff when it comes to my fellow humans when I’m the interviewer. It’s like watching people drive a car with a 5-speed for the first time. It’s funny stuff until they plow into a barn or strip out the clutch, and that’s how people act when in a job interview. Over the years, I’ve interviewed a slew of job seekers and booed 9 out of 10 of them because their act wasn’t together. As an interviewer, I’m the audience, the critic, the guy who boos and brings down the curtain on your hopes. When you do it right and you’re the 1 out of 10, it’s because I love your show, and I’m standing and applauding you because I’m offering you the job. You’re the act I’ve been looking for, and I want to see a lot more of it.
Interviewers don’t have a lot of patience though and are natural critics. That’s what they get paid to do. They get paid to judge your performance and make critical decisions about your life because if you don’t get a job offer, that’s a serious impact on you. Interviewers seem nice, and as people they probably are, but as interviewers they’re meat eaters, and they’ll have you for lunch. So if you’re not prepared to give it your all when you get up on that stage, be prepared to have your lunch eaten.