Honesty is the best policy in job interviews

I’m in the midst of writing what I hope will be my second book. This one will focus on job loss and gain, and borrows "best practices" from the worlds of psychology and public relations to help jobseekers get over job loss, optimize their chances for success and beat their competition in an interview.

When it comes to job interviews, I’ve spoken to headhunters, human resources managers and our765  own executives to determine what works and what doesn’t. Not surprisingly, it comes down to building rapport and establishing trust. Just as is the case in the rapidly-changing communications world where word-of-mouth has supplanted traditional marketing as the most effective way to influence purchasing decisions, trust and reputation are paramount prerequisites to job interviewing success.

For older job seekers, who are a target of the new book, the general consensus is to put the "age" issue right on the table and use it as a positive rather than dancing around it as the "800-pound gorilla" in the room. By admitting that there may have been some career missteps, an older job seeker can build rapport with a younger executive in a hiring decision. Age and experience can be leveraged into a distinct competitive advantage if, and it’s a big if, the job seeker can disarm the interviewer from the get go and "admit fault" as we like to say in crisis communications 101.

In an increasingly crazy and uncertain world, an individual’s trust and reputation are what will set him or her apart from the pack and, in the case of older job seekers, help land the ideal job.

12 thoughts on “Honesty is the best policy in job interviews

  1. morality, what’s that?
    you might want to consider kaz matsui as an interview subject. lost job, no chance of any gain…

  2. Thanks for the offer, I-man. We’re all set. It’s actually a morality tale that’s based on real life case studies.

  3. I think Raindog might soon replace me as Public Enemy # 1 on this blog 🙂
    Rep, if you need to interview a “job loss” candidate for the book, I am sure I can help you find one…

  4. I hate to see middle-aged people who’ve had successful careers suddenly find themselves viewed as undesirable. Funny enough, the same companies that dump workers in their 50s now will likely suffer from a shortage of both employees and experience over the next couple of decades. Wonder if they’ll figure things out by then.
    Still, those of us in our 40s and 50s owe it to ourselves and our colleagues to stay current and ensure we contribute value, even when we’re tired and wouldn’t mind slowing down a bit. It’s how we’ll earn the continued respect of people in their 20s and 30s.

  5. Who is this Raindog character and why is he so pissed?
    One thing to keep in mind, RD, is that “change is the only constant.” Wouldn’t you agree that HR/Recruiting experts are only going to write about what they’ve learned from their own expierences -in their own fields? I bet those books are pretty bland, old and tired. Maybe they can use some fresh thoughts & tactics?
    So, if Rep is willing and able to apply what he has learned to the job hunting arena, I’d be happy to read all about it.
    Think about it, ask for some clarification, and maybe then you won’t be so confused.
    Oh, and cheer up!

  6. Because, raindog, I’ve suffered through job loss and gain in my career and believe I can bring a special perspective to the process (especially in terms of public relations skills that can be used to win job interviews). I’m writing the book in the hope it can help others. How’s that for a qualification?

  7. I think you misunderstood my words, Dandy. I’m all for smarts over looks and age. That’s why more older workers are turning to consulting where their brains are valued and they don’t have to compete with 25-year-old know nothing “know-it-alls.

  8. Okay, I’ll bite. What qualifies the “Repman” to write a book on job loss and gain?
    Is this going to be another comedy routine for Dick Harte to pull out of his ass?

  9. So RepMan thinks “looks and age” matter most in mainstream full time jobs? Maybe you’re referring to cocktail servers and models and not those in professions such as, oh, just for fun let’s say PR. There is a dramatic rise in the number of people who are actually entering the work force at a later age. More people who deferred education to for a variety of reasons are graduating and beginning careers in their 40s and 50s. Retiring at 65 is history. 60 is the new 30 RepMan. Also more employers are getting fed up with 20 and 30 year old kids who have unreasonable expectations regarding their positions. I know of one “hot shot” who complained and quit a well known firm because they didn’t pay them enough to buy a co-op on the upper west side of Manhattan. Younger employees have a sense of entitlement right out of the chute. Seem to have forgotten the “gotta pay your dues” part of growing up and growing into a position. How many younger workers skip from job to job because they think the grass is greener? And how much money do these “bouncers” cost their companies. Older workers are ripe for the picking and should not be thought of as needing to “hide” their maturity behind the consulting curtain.

  10. Good points, Jimbo. There’s no doubt that age discrimination exists everywhere. Ad Age actually has a big article about it this week. And Westchester Magazine did a fascinating article about middle aged guys who’d been fired and had a brutal time finding work at anything close to their previous pay scales. I think we’ll find more and more older workers giving up on landing full-time gigs and turning, instead, to consulting where, brains, not looks and age, matter most.

  11. Interesting post, Rep. What I theink will be interesting to see is as the Boomer Generation heads off to retirement land, what type of opportunities will arise for those of us that are a bit younger. Perhaps that fellow Geoff (from a past blog) will be able to land that job he covets? Or, will more senior positions be filled by those who are not ready?
    Regardless, employers will have to do their best to retain older workers who “still got it” and also fight like dogs as us youngins will have more choices available to us. Also, it will be interesting to see what types of benefits, from health care to perks will be offered once millions of positions open over the next few years.