R C
March 18, 2015 3:50 pm

Is there anything more stressful than a job interview? Whether you’re going for your very first part-time job at the mall or an internship that could literally change your career future, the pressure to be the best you ever is intense. And sometimes, it feels like the pressure to have everything go perfectly almost sets you up for failure. At my last big job interview, for example, I forgot to turn off my Waze app and it announced that I had “arrived at my destination” in the middle of the interview. I tried to play it off with a terrible joke about how my phone thought that place was where I should work, but the embarrassment level was high. And this isn’t my only example of interviews gone awry. There was the time I left my résumé in the car, but offered the interviewer my business card as a consolation prize. And it’s not even always the interviewee’s fault. One of my interviews morphed into a venting session because my prospective boss was super stressed… it was unprofessional and totally derailed my game plan for the interview.

The point is: Interviews are hard and stressful and everyone is looking for the secret key to success. The crazy thing is, I’ve had dozens of perfectly pleasant interviews where I did not get the job, but all three of the aforementioned nightmare interviews DID end in me getting a job offer. I was obviously beyond thrilled that they graciously looked passed my kerfuffles and hired me anyway, but in the back of my mind, I always wondered, “Why would a company hire someone who wasn’t perfect in the interview?” Now, I finally have an answer, thanks to a guy who seems to have the whole successful career thing pretty much figured out: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.

This week, Zuckerberg shared his biggest hiring secret with Business Insider: “I will only hire someone to work directly for me if I would work for that person.” Now, before you cross “work for Zuckerberg” off your 5-year-plan (because who among us has business skills so advanced that we could teach Mr. Facebook a thing or two?), let’s stop and think about what Zuckerberg is really saying here. He’s not looking for a specific set of skills, he’s looking for character. He’s the CEO of a $35 billion company, and he isn’t forgetting where he came from. He started Facebook when he was just 19, and he values determination, vision, and passion over what is on a resume.

Of course, we all should continue develop our skills, gain experience, and build connections.  But, perhaps those nightmare interviews that I mentioned,  weren’t nightmares at all. Maybe they were lucky opportunities to show how I manage myself when things don’t go perfectly. So, if you have an interview coming up, be yourself and show your interviewer the cool, creative boss you would be if you were the one hiring them!

Advertisement