Personality goes a long way... Wear that funky necktie

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Many years ago, I decided that I wanted to get out from sitting at a desk and get out in the field and start working with people. So I decided I was going to go out and look for a sales job.

Finally, after looking for a little while, I got an interview with with this company that it was almost exactly what I was looking for, and I really, really wanted this job.

So they called me in for an interview and it just so happens that this interview was on a Friday in late fall. And anybody that knows me knows that I am a big time Oregon Ducks football fan. I go to Ducks Games all the time.

And I also have this tradition that every year the day before the Oregon versus Oregon State rivalry game at the end of the season, I would always wear my favorite, but super ugly Oregon Ducks neck tie, and this tie is pretty obnoxious, but fun. And this is my way to demonstrate school spirit.

And I had made it a tradition for several years to wear that neck tie as a good luck charm for my team the day before the rivalry football game.

So, of course, this interview that I'm going in for, a job that I really want is. It's on the day before and I'm wearing a suit anyway. And of course my inclination at the time was to wear a very prim, proper conservative gray suit, white shirt, conservative tie because I didn't want make a bad impression or come across as unprofessional.

And so I was really struggling with whether or not I should wear my neck tie. Because what if I don't wear it? Then my team might lose. They're counting on me to wear this tie for the good luck. And finally I just said, You know what? This is who I am. This is a, it's a part of me and it's a tradition. And who am I to break tradition?

So I decide that I'm going to wear the ugly neck tie to my interview. And as I'm getting dressed, I actually took the, the conservative tie off and I put my, Oregon Ducks neck tie on. And I decide I'm, going to the interview. And I'm nervous about whether or not I'm making the right decision wearing this tie, going to this interview because I just didn't know what to expect.

And so I get into the lobby and of course you know, the receptionist, the very first thing they commented on was my tie. And I'm thinking, Oh no man, this, this might have been a mistake.

As I'm sitting there in the lobby and really questioning my decision, finally, they come out and ask me to come into the interview and I, I walk into the interviewer's office and on three walls of his office, he has nothing but Ohio State Buckeyes football memorabilia everywhere.

This turns out this guy was from Ohio. He was a lifelong Buckeyes fan, and he absolutely loved college football. Well, sure enough, First thing he notices is my tie comments on the rivalry game happening the next day. And we had a one hour interview and I bet we spent 50 minutes of that one hour talking about college football, life, and getting to know each other on a personal level.

And then in the last 10 minutes of the interview, he says, "I think you'd be perfect for this job. When can you start?"

One of the lessons I learned there was that showing your personality is incredibly important. You know, if you try and water down who you are, what you're going to do is you're going to end up diluting or masking all of the things that people, especially an interviewer, are looking for as a way to connect with you, as a way to get to know who you are and what type of person are you.

Because one of the things that hiring managers are always trying to do is evaluate whether or not you're going to be a good fit with the organization on a cultural level. You know, are you going to be able to work with the people that are there? Are you going to bring some complementary personality to the organization?

Are you going to bring some diversity? Are you going to be able to gel? You can be different, but you still need to be able to fit. And so interviewers are often looking for those Interpersonal characteristics.

So it's really important that you be yourself, be relatable, and let your personality come out in an interview or in a meeting or wherever you are.

Don't try and water yourself down and make yourself so plain vanilla that you become uninteresting.

What's really important to understand is that people do business with people they like. Not always, but when people have a choice between two different candidates that are relatively similar, they're often going to go with the one that they like better personally, or that they feel a little bit more of an attachment, people that they feel more resonance with.

So just remember, be yourself and let your personality shine.


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