“What would you say are some of your best qualities?” I’ve answered that question a lot in the last 2 years. So have many of you I suspect. We all have several responses that are highly interview-appropriate and will hopefully inspire the interviewer to leap across the desk, shake your hand and shout “I MUST hire you!” Yeah, that doesn’t usually happen. Your best hope is that at your resume will land in the pile of “maybes” instead of the “nots”, so you conduct yourself the best you can and walk home wondering what you should have said that would be better.
The other day I had an interview and did just that. But instead of rehashing every question, what popped into my head were things I wouldn’t and likely shouldn’t say. The ‘leftovers’ that are key to the YOU in you, but no one really wants to know and it’s best not to share, at least not on a job interview. For instance, when asked what I’m good at, I could respond, “I’m really GREAT at handling disappointment!” While I am, it’s not exactly what an organization is looking for in an employee. “We try harder”, yes. “We don’t go postal when we lose”, not so much (although that quality would be good to know, if ever…). I don’t know, maybe we should let those leftover qualities, the ones your friends love you for, out. They could come in handy.
For instance, I’m highly skilled at sarcasm and excel at snarky repartee. Face it, you love to work with someone like that. Certainly makes those monthly staff meeting more fun. How about the skills, focus and courage to be the fashion police and actually say instead of just think, “yes, that dress does make your ass look like a canal barge”. I’d want that kind of honesty and frankness on my team. Of course, I’m also kind and diplomatic (since I too have worn something that in wide hindsight probably should have stayed on the hanger.) I know exactly when to let loose with one, and when to just roll my eyes or subtly shake my head. And I know how to break the tension when needed. But that never goes on a resume. How about restraint? I’m GREAT at restraint! I illustrate it by NOT rolling my eyes when asked, “What is one of your greatest strengths” for the 100th time, nor adding in “sweetie, did you get dressed in the dark this morning?”Continued on the next page