The Internet is full of misleading job interview advice.
If you read enough of it, you might be left with the impression that to nail an important interview and get a job offer in a cool job at a company like Google, you just need to memorise:
This approach to interviewing makes me think of a teenager who just somehow scored a date with Angelina Jolie.
He thinks that to "do well" he needs to memorise a ton of lines, body language tips and interesting life stories. He spends days preparing for the big date by reading about what women want and what women don't want. He browses women's magazines to find out what topics women are interested in.
He Is Missing The Point.
There's a reason why she chose Brad Pitt - and it goes deeper than looks and money.
Brad Pitt would be Brad Pitt without Angelina.
He's a man with a clear purpose and passion. He lives his life on his terms and he doesn't make movies just because he thinks that Angelina might like him more for it.
When Brad Pitt walks into a meeting with directors and someone asks him why he made World War Z, for example, he doesn't start wondering what the "right" answer might be.
He searches deep for his own reasons for making his choices and he shares them openly. If the directors don't like it, he is respectful yet unapologetic. He understands that he can't please everyone and he needs to find people who can help him fulfil his purpose.
"But I'm not Brad Pitt", I hear you say. He is an A-list movie star, so he doesn't have to pretend to be someone he's not.
Let me ask you this - have you considered that at least in part, he is an A-list movie star BECAUSE he does not pretend to be someone he's not?
Let's leave the world of Hollywood celebrity analogies and talk about you.
Amazing companies like Google are not looking for chameleons to fill their ranks.
They're looking for you. But they want you to have a clear sense of self. They want you to come with a yearning to contribute your skills to a mission which you deeply care about.
Most importantly, they want you to be the kind of person who would continue your mission, regardless of whether they take you, or not.
I'm not saying that interview preparation is not necessary. Of course, it's important to consider possible interviewer's questions and your answers.
But there's a difference between preparing yourself and trying to fabricate a whole new identity. Unfortunately most interview advice is of the latter type.
Most interviews are lost long before the interview takes place.
They're lost when you choose a job which you think will get you approval, but you don't like.
They're lost when you only do work when someone is watching.
They're lost when you don't chase your dreams because you're too afraid of what others will think of you.
They're lost when you allow an opportunity pass you by because it's easier than slicking your neck out.
They're lost when you gossip about your colleagues to make yourself feel good.
They're lost when some alpha male jerk in the office puts you down and you don't stand up for yourself.
This equation goes the other way - you begin by living an amazing life, which allows you the freedom to be yourself, which leads to opportunities to interview for positions at amazing companies and gives you confidence to nail them.
Disclaimer: The author gives no guarantees, implied or stated, about your increased powers to win over Angelina Jolie.
Irene Kotov helps senior executives get jobs in exciting companies. Through her resume writing services, social profile campaigns and interview coaching she helps people stand head and shoulders above their competition. You can catch up with her on Google+
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