“Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job” – Applying lessons from recent political gaffes at your next job interview

January 2nd, 2010 by lewis

History repeats itself. Here’s an excerpt from the recent Christmas Day terrorist plot:

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano brushed off the glaring mistakes that allowed a Nigerian bomber onto a U.S.-bound plane, stressing Sunday that everything worked “like clockwork” – after passengers foiled his plot.
“Once the incident occurred, the system worked,” she stunningly told ABC’s “This Week.”
The traveling public is very, very safe,” she assured CNN.
Was Napolitano’s ‘The system worked’ this administration’s ‘Heckuva job, Brownie’?
Unfortunately, I see interview candidates make this mistake all the time. They make unsubstantiated statements. What makes it worse is that the unverified statement doesn’t have reasonable credibility. “Traveling public is very, very safe?” Increased security measures likely means traveling is not safe.
How to avoid a self-promotion gaffe at the job interview? Here are a few things to keep in mind:
  • Avoid superlatives. Don’t call yourself an “accomplished writer” or “very successful entrepreneur.”
  • Use indisputable facts. Instead of “accomplished writer,” use “Business Week columnist.” Instead of “very successful entrepreneur,” use “founder of five startups, most recently a social network that helps new college grads.”

Resist the temptation to shove your own conclusions down the listener’s throat. Facts don’t lie. The listener will fill in the blanks and realize that you’re amazing, accomplished, and successful — on their own.

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