A Tale of Three Applicants

By Kim Monaghan

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Once upon a time there were three applicants up for a procurement position. The first applicant possessed all the competencies required, but lacked personality. She offended two panel members with her apparent lack of team engagement and even provoked one of them into an argument.

The second candidate was short on experience but made up for it in charm. He wooed the panel with his friendly disposition and perfect responses, despite his inability to back up his claims with concrete experiential statements.

The third applicant came up short in both experience and education but possessed drive, acumen and the willingness to learn. Despite his shortcomings, he provided the panel with strategic growth suggestions and outlined examples of similar successful approaches in his professional past.

Upon completion of the three lengthy interviews, an argument and schism ensued. One panel member suggested consulting their leader, who agreed and met with each candidate. His decision was immediate and final. He chose the third candidate.

When asked what compelled his decision, he replied: “It’s simple. I don’t need a fight, I don’t need a friend. I need a future.”*

As this story illustrates, the future of a successful applicant lies in their vision. Do they have the ability to forecast success, plan and set goals that others will follow, and are also ready and willing to hit the ground running? Recently, a human resources director told me her decision was swayed by the applicant’s plan for their first 30 days. It not only included getting to know each team member and their expectations, but to ensure marked progress was simultaneously made. “We don’t need someone to ask us what they should do next. We need someone to show us.”

It’s the ideal applicant trait—the ability to be a strong team member and visionary leader. This competency is commonplace, but not often demonstrated during the interview. Organizations need people who are willing to nurture and leverage this blended competency without being told to do so. And it should begin before the interview. If you can successfully demonstrate how you’ve employ growth-drivers while working collaboratively with others, then your future (and that of the organization) is secure.

*Author’s Note: Based on a true story.


Image credit: Pinstamatic


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