Promoting You: Four Ways to WOW during Your Job Interview: #2


PB and JFour Ways to WOW:  2.  Peanut Butter and Jelly, and Emotion in the Job Interview

Which candidate below would you choose if you were the hiring manager?


“I bring 14 years experience in the IT Industry and can program in 4 different languages. I am a hard worker and have no problem working overtime.  I can fulfill any role from working with contractors and analysts to managing medium to large projects.  I know I will do a good job for you.”


“I bring 14 years experience in the IT Industry and can confidently program the heck out of 4 different languages.  I am a super-hard worker and am comfortable working overtime.  I can capably fulfill any role from working collaboratively with contractors and analysts to aggressively managing medium to large projects.  I am outstanding at getting results for my clients and my employer.”

In a Facebook survey we conducted using these two candidates side-by-side, 76% of respondents chose Pat.  When asked why Pat over Sam, Pat’s emotional response and enthusiasm for the job were the most frequently cited reasons Pat stood out.

Does this surprise you that emotion or words conveying emotion such as confidently, super hard-worker, comfortable, capably, collaboratively, aggressively, outstanding were the deciding factor in the survey results in and in Pat getting the fictional job?  It might then surprise you to know that it can be THE differentiator for you too when wooing new business, connecting better to your co-workers and even landing that job against steep competition.  (Added note:  The key is to make your emotion sincere and genuine to fit you.  If you fake it, the interviewer’s b.s. alert-system will surely go off!)

So what in the heck then does peanut butter and jelly have to do with job interviews and emotion?

Consider this:  If you suffered damage to your Limbic System- the emotional center of the brain- you could describe what a simple, very basic and uncomplicated peanut butter and jelly sandwich would look like and what tools you may need to make the sandwich. But wait! (Index finger pointing in the air to make a key point!) In order to make a decision on what you would do first to actually build the sandwich- no such luck without emotion.  Here’s how we know this:  Thanks to research by Antonio Damasio on such patients who were incapable of displaying emotion due to damage to their Limbic System, Damasio accidentally discovered they also had in common the inability to make decisions.  Damasio concluded that emotion is critical to make even the most basic of decisions.

It stands to reason that emotion is a normal, healthy part of who we are and is required in order to be productive and active in our everyday life, even in business and yes, even in job interviews.   It might shock you then that business and emotion go hand-in-hand, just like peanut butter and jelly.  After all, business is human engagement at all levels, regardless of what bottom-line, hard-number-cruncher-folks like to dissuade you from believing.

Why do you need to demonstrate emotion during one of the most formal, rigid career processes we must suffer through as a rite-of-passage into most any new job?  We also rely upon emotion as a survival mechanism according to a Psychology Today online article, and that includes surviving the job interview by making a connection to the person across the table from us.

“After all, the other reason why we developed emotion is that emotion helps build relationships and bind communities. We would not be able to coordinate our goals so well if we did not love and fear and trust and feel a sense of pride,”explained Ilana Simons, Ph.D.

What Dr. Simons captures in the above quote is precisely why you need emotion in your job interview – to build a relationship with your interviewer and to display how you feel about your abilities and how you feel about performing those abilities for the company interviewing you.

In what ways do you find it effective to use emotion when relationship building- whether in interviews or networking?

Coming up next:  Promoting You: Four Ways to Wow during Your Job Interview:  3. Turn the Interview Tables


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