I find myself yelling at the television when they are interviewed or participate in debates. Just once I would like to see a news reporter hound a politician until he/she actually answers the question that was originally asked.
Can you imagine a job candidate dodging answers to questions the way politicians do? What are the chances this type of candidate would ever get a job offer?
It’s clear to me that, if a politician were placed in a typical interview situation, they would really suck at it – and here is why:
They “dis” Their Competition
Isn’t this one of the first things we are told NOT to do in an interview? Don’t blame others, talk bad about your former boss or co-workers. The interviewer will wonder just how long it will take you to start “dising” him/her as well. So, lay off the negatives if you want to be considered for a job.
They Don’t Have a Plan to Solve Problems
When asked why he/she is the best candidate, politicians never describe how they plan to solve problems, save money and make this a better country. Instead, they dodge the question and target what their competition isn’t doing well.
Just once, I would love to hear a dynamite answer such as “In my first 30 days of office, I plan to do the following… In my next 30 days, I will do this… and in the next 30, this… So, bring it!” Now, that is a great answer. Hello! Politicians! Using the “my competition isn’t doing this or that technique” doesn’t impress interviewers. All it does is tell them that you don’t know squat.
They Don’t Play Well with Others
Watch any debate and this statement is self explanatory. It amazes me how politicians get so cut throat- even with those who are on “their side”! Just think about the amount of work that could get done if they knocked off the bickering, decided to work as a team and focused their efforts on getting the job done. So, if you truly want a job, don’t mess around with teamwork.
They Resist Negotiating
Think about it. Would you hire someone who refused to admit he/she was ever wrong? I doubt it! That’s the problem with politicians. They get stubborn, reject and refuse to consider others’ opinions, ideas and plans. All this technique does is increase resentment, kills enthusiasm and keeps teams from being productive. Don’t be the weakest link! Learn how to negotiate!
They Don’t Collaborate Well
Take a look at what’s going on in congress as I type. Once you are on the job, you better know how to collaborate, appreciate and identify the strengths of your team. If you don’t take advantage of the talents of others, your job is going to be very difficult and your goals, ideas and projects will suffer immensely. Let an interviewer know how and why you see collaboration as important. And, demonstrate your ability to collaborate!
They Deny Their Mistakes, Failures and Poor Choices
This has to be my greatest pet peeve about politicians. I guess we are supposed to believe they are perfect and have never done a single thing wrong. Not only is this dishonest, it’s boring! Plus, denial always comes back to haunt you. Haven’t we seen this lately?
Just once I would love to hear a politician admit to his/her failures, come clean and say something like this: “Yes. I screwed up. I made an ass of myself. I was stupid and here is what I learned about making poor choices.” “Don’t make the bad choices that I did. I was wrong and now, with all of you as my witnesses, I’m going to start righting my wrongs. Who’s with me? Let’s do this thing!”
Wow! I would definitely respect someone like this! And, this is the person most likely to get hired!
They Don’t “Wear Their Calling”
Martin Luther King wore his calling. Mahatma Ghandi wore his calling. Veronica Guerin wore her calling. These are individuals whose passion and purpose drove them to do incredible things. They radiated passion, enthusiasm and determination in their work. They truly “Wore their Calling”. I have yet to see a politician display or express this type of passion and drive. Instead, they wear arrogance, stubbornness and obtuseness. If you want a job, wear your calling!
They Don’t Appreciate Diversity
This is the year 2011 and politicians still resist diversifying their teams through ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc… How unacceptable is this? At a time when we could really benefit from new ideas, new perspectives and new ways of looking at our problems, politicians are just not getting it. If you can’t diversify, you die. In other words, you won’t get a job offer.
So, what do you think? If we placed a politician into a traditional interview situation, would he/she be crossed off the candidate list? My guess is, a big fat YES! They would be dropped faster than former Congressman Weiner could…well, you get my point. Feel free to add more “reasons” to my list. Bring it!
About the Author: Elizabeth Dexter-Wilson, aka “Dr. Eliz”, is the Coordinator of Career Services at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Alabama. We’re also thrilled to acknowledge Elizabeth’s passionate and innovative support for her students, and for many others through social media. You can reach Dr. Eliz via Twitter at: @ResumeDrEliz.