Lessons from Shrek: Why Job Seekers Should Act Like Ogres

The employer of your dreams has responded to your carefully crafted application…

The position is a perfect fit with your experience – and a representative from HR wants to schedule a preliminary phone interview with you.


Of course you’d like to schedule a call… but before you pick up the phone, stop to think about how much information you want to share with the recruiter. To get in the right mindset, think like an ogre. Think, like Shrek.

Like onions and ogres, job seekers are complex – there’s more to them than what we see on the surface.

When prepping for an interview, consider revealing more layers – more about your experiences and viewpoints – as you progress through each phase of the selection process.

The Outer Layer: Phone Interview

For example, phone interviews are primarily meant to clarify your qualifications, measure culture fit and confirm that you’re not… “unusual”. Instead of trying to be a rock star during a phone screen, be polite and answer the questions with some passion and energy. Don’t give away too much!

Middle Layers: First Interview

The proof the phone interview was successful comes at the end of the call… when you’re invited into the office for an in-person interview.

When the day of your face-to-face meeting arrives and you (hopefully dressed better than Shrek) are sitting across the table from the interviewer, it’s time to peel back a few more layers. Be prepared to share tales of past successes and relate what you know about the company. Your goal: provide the recruiter with a clear understanding of who you are, what you’re about – and demonstrate that you’ve done your homework.

Don’t give away too much, however… remember, you’re an ogre, with many layers. Besides, your goal isn’t to get the job today, but to make it to the next round of interviews.

Inner Layers: Subsequent Interviews (and Happily Ever After)

In today’s job market, with so many people applying to every vacancy, it’s wise to plan for multiple rounds of interviews.

You’ll want to save some of your best layers for these later stages of the interview process. Not fairy tales… but quantified statements of success, tales of your leadership and examples of team accomplishments. Try to reveal something deeper and more impressive to each successive person you meet during the interview process. The more each of them know about you, the more they’ll focus on what’s inside – and the unique value proposition you offer.

Unleash your inner ogre! Take this layered approach to your next job interview – and see if Shrek’s philosophy helps you scare up an offer.


About the Author: Seth Carr has more than a decade of professional writing experience. He’s held positions in both the corporate and non-profit worlds (LexisNexis, District of Columbia Bar, Research Foundation for SUNY, Cengage Learning), crafting succinct messages for the legal, academic and research communities. An alum from the University of Maryland at College Park with a degree in communications, Seth lives with his wife and daughter in Albany, NY. Connect with Seth on Twitter for guidance on your college to career transition.



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