The “Athlete”

What makes someone an “athlete”?

This question randomly came up in a recent conversation with a friend. When she responded, her answers were purely physical, “Someone strong, someone [muscularly] built”. Her definition of an “athlete” centered around physical capabilities.

Google the word “athlete” and you get a slew of dictionary-term definitions — a person who is trained or skilled in exercise, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility or stamina. By this definition, I grew up — and am — an “athlete”. I played competitive water polo, ranked nationally as a swimmer, and continue to push my physical limits.

However, when my friend flipped the question back to me, I found I have completely different take on being an “athlete”. To me, being an athlete is about one’s mindset, not physical capabilities.

Being an athlete is:

  • Striving for constant improvement. Kaizen.
  • Knowing that there will be days/weeks/months that suck but pushing through it anyway
  • Knowing that setbacks are just that
  • Taking one step backwards to take two forward
  • Showing consistency and perseverance.

If you have ever done any hiring or recruiting, I’d be willing to bet you have been told to “hire the best athlete”. But, what does this mean?

“Hiring the best athlete” does not mean that you should go look for D1 football players, Boston Marathon runners, or the next Serena Williams. The underlying common trait that these world-class athletes possess, after the super-human genetics that bless them, is that they all have that mindset that sets their drive… their driving motivators.

When you’re told to “hire the best athlete”, hire the ones with the intangibles listed above.

… Then tell them to flex so hard that their sleeves fall off. 😉

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Final Round Interviews

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As this quarter starts coming to a close, I have a handful of candidates entering final stage interviews.  They will meet the CEO, and we will either pull the trigger and make them an offer… or they will be left by the wayside.  With that in mind, I thought I’d take the time to shed some light on these nerve-wracking final interviews and give you some insight from the “inside” (generally speaking).

So, you applied for Position ABC at Company XYZ.  You’ve been through a phone screen, a 1st round interview, a 2nd round interview, perhaps a 3rd round interview, and you’ve been invited back for a final round!  Congratulations!

If we take a look at this logically, you would not have made it as far as you have if a) they didn’t like your resume b) you weren’t able to showcase your expertise, or c) they didn’t like you.  I bet that’s some weight off your shoulders, huh?

“But my final interview is with the {enter fancy title here}!!!”  How is this any different from the former interviews you have encountered?  This {enter fancy title here} is just another human being, just like you are.  And, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you know my favorite saying… it’s just a conversation!

What can you expect in a final interview?  Great question.  If you’ve made it this far, the team is confident in your ability to deliver what is needed in the role.  They know what they want, and you have it!  Below are some general things final interviews are looking to cover (not an exclusive list):

  • How much do you want to work here?  Very important information.  There are the people who are running away from their current jobs, and then there are the people who are running towards this new opportunity in front of them.  Most companies want the people who are running towards them versus the other option.  Running away is never a good sign.  Why are you running?  What will happen here if you find yourself hating your job?  Will you run?  Tell them – better yet, show them! – how much you want to work there.  Show your excitement for the role, the company, and express your genuine interest in the industry.
  • Career path.  What’s the end goal for you?  We have to make sure our expectations align.  If you are coming in today as an Account Executive, and want to be CEO in the next 2 years… I’m not sure this is the place for you.  If you are coming in today as a Financial Analyst, and 3 years down the line you want to be a Finance Manager… let’s keep talking!  Make sure you know where you are, and where you are going.  Make sure the company lines up with what you want for yourself.
  • Culture fit.  What does this even mean?!  A company’s culture defines them.  It is the characteristics, values, and beliefs that make them who they are.  It is the “personality” of the company, if you will.  Do you fit into that personality?  Does it fit you?

As with any interview, come prepared with questions.  Show your interest in the company, and show you’ve done your research.  Interviews are two-way conversations.  As much as we are interviewing you, you are also interviewing us.  Take your time to get your questions answered, and we will do the same.

As always… head up, chin down!  Good luck!

Help! I don’t want to continue the interview process…

It isn’t often that someone comes to me with this dilemma:

I applied for a [insert job title here] at [insert company name].  I had an interview with the recruiter, and went to the office for 1st round interviews. Now that I know about the position/company, I don’t want to interview anymore. How do I tell them?

There are two ways to go about this.

  1. Be honest.  Tell the recruiter that you are working with that you don’t feel the company, or the position, is a good fit for what you are looking for.  Whatever you do, don’t fall off the face of the planet.  Not only do you risk burning bridges, but you also confirm to the company that you aren’t the right fit for them either.  
  2. Continue the process.  Why?  Because while this might not be the position or company for you, practice makes perfect.  How can you practice without having the opportunity to?

Which option would I choose if I were in these shoes?  I’d choose option #2.  I’m a firm believer that you can’t achieve what you want unless you practice to perfect it.  If a bad interview is standing in between you and your dream job, why not try to perfect your interview skills?