Following Through: My Unsexy Strength

Interview QuestionI started interviewing last month. It’s why I didn’t publish a blog post for the last 2 weeks. Sorry to all 5 of you who may have noticed. Thanks for not saying anything that would make me feel guilty. Because I do feel guilty about missing blog posts. I’m committed to this blog and I take it seriously.

Getting back to interviewing, it’s not like riding a bike. It takes regular practice to be good at answering many of the questions an interviewer will throw at you. A common interview question is “What is your greatest strength?”

First of all, I hate this question. It’s a generic question that usually elicits a BS response that has more to do with what the interviewee thinks the interviewer wants to hear rather than what is actually true. I mean seriously, I can’t say my greatest strength is my encyclopedic knowledge of all things Seinfeld.

The first relevant answer that jumps to mind is commitment. If I say I will do something it will get done. My family, friends, and former coworkers agree. I know because I asked them. My sister Mary specifically said:

You are 100% committed to whatever it is that you are doing. You follow through on what you say…I can always count on you.

George InterivewThis interview question is still tough to answer even though I know the answer. Trust is earned over time. It isn’t given, much less sold (which is basically what the interviewer is asking me to do). Being reliable just isn’t sexy for an interview and as another friend, Rob, told me:

Among other things, I think you are really good at: 

Time management

Goal setting

Attention to detail

Maybe not the sexiest superpowers, but critical skills that I think you excel at.

Establishing credibility to claim that I’m extremely reliable is difficult to do (assuming that trait could be sexy, which I still think it is impossible). Anyone could say he’s reliable with a single example. It doesn’t make it true. There is no single perfect example that can be given in 90 seconds or less and that’s kind of the point.

I also worry that I’m setting myself up for future failure if I claim I’m so reliable. Everyone makes a mistake eventually, but I’m saying that doesn’t happen with me (at least not very often). What happens if I don’t deliver on something big?

A good example of this is trying to write a book. This has turned out to be a massive commitment (go figure). I’m stretching the limits of my reliability while simultaneously managing a career search. I mentioned before that the book would be published in June, what I failed to include was the year. Sorry to disappoint if you were expecting it to be 2016 because that’s not going to happen. It may be 2017 or 2018. I can’t say exactly when it will be finished but it definitely will be finished…eventually. I know that because I’m committed to doing it.

Anyway, this is a longwinded way to give you a sheepish update on the status of the book and to apologize for not being perfectly reliable about publishing a weekly blog post.

Thanks for reading.



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