Are You Killing Your Personal Brand and Hurting Your Interview?

Project Your Personal Brand in Your Interview

There are lots of behaviors that hurt personal brands, many of which are obvious. Lying, cheating, stealing, spreading rumors, shirking work, and having a sloppy appearance are only a few of the obvious ones. There are other brand killers that are less obvious and committed by even accomplished people. These include:

Not stopping to think
Instead of pausing to think in a rational manner, this is when you let emotions hasten decisions. Many of us think we are good intuitive decision makers, but in highly emotional situations, emotions may overtake even good intuition.

Failing to see what your are doing as others see it
You might be convinced of the correctness of what you are doing, and you might actually be correct; however if others are not in agreement, you are hurting your brand. Are you sure other people view your behaviors as you mean them to be seen? For example, a manager might reduce consultants’ time to save money and avoid staff layoffs, but the staff that has to work more hours may see the boss as saving money to increase profits and get a bigger bonus.

Being often wrong but never in doubt
Human brains are wired to build a sense of certainty, and this certainty is often expressed as fact rather than as opinion. Ask yourself whether this is verifiable fact or just your thinking or opinion. If it is your thinking or opinion, present it as such: “This is my thinking/opinion, and I may be wrong, but.…”

Failing to see others’ perspectives
This is getting caught up in your own point of view at the expense of ignoring others’ opinions. I wish I had a dollar for every time I said, “This is a no-brainer,” only to learn that others’ brains didn’t see it the same way. For example, in my mind an interview presentation is a no-brainer- but is it in your brain?

Jumping to conclusions
Human brains learn patterns that work well most of the time, and it automates them, which promotes efficiency. This has become more prevalent as the world has become more complex and we are confronted with many more choices and decisions. However, automatic responses also encourage us to jump to conclusions that may be wrong. Once you start jumping to conclusions, you may then commit the brand killer of being often wrong but never in doubt.

Missing the bigger picture
This is when you’re narrowly focused on the immediate moment or on your role and you miss the bigger picture. You may succeed yourself, but at the cost of your team or the company. Saying, “I got my section done on time, and it was accurate” for a proposal that didn’t win the business is an example of missing the big picture. Your brand is connected more to winning the business than to getting your section done. What did you do to help other team members succeed?

Doing the right things for the wrong reasons.
I once had a boss who announced in a meeting that he had gotten tickets for everyone to attend a Phillies game. We were all pleased and grateful until he said, “Yeah, I was at a fundraising auction, and I wasn’t going to let this arrogant SOB show me up by outbidding me.” The tickets were nice, but they were tainted by the wrong motivation for getting them, and it hurt his brand, which was not strong to start with. It was no surprise that most of the staff was busy the evening of the game and unable to attend. Doing the right thing for the wrong reason causes confusion and ambivalence in the minds of others and is often worse than not doing the thing at all.

Many of these brand-hurting behaviors will undermine your interview performance as well. You can easily imagine how not stopping to think, jumping to conclusions, failing to see others’ perspectives, and missing the big picture will hurt you in interviews.

Active Interviewing

Active Interviewing protects your brand


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