What holds us back from sharing our achievements and talents effectively?

It’s been a great February, with many new jobs and candidates actively interviewing! As I interview candidates  to learn more about what they can bring to a particular position and watch them go through the interview process, I am amazed at how some incredibly talented professionals (at all levels) really struggle with “selling themselves.”  These are candidate who are very good at their jobs and have substantive achievements to share with interviewers, yet they have difficulty discussing their expertise and how they have added value.  

I have seen this over and over again over the past 17+ years. The candidate has the talent and skills, but presenting these capabilities clearly at an interview does not always happen. Why is this the case?  I have a few theories and welcome your input:

  • From childhood, we are told that “bragging” about ourselves is wrong! 
  • We take our own unique talents and achievements for granted and assume everyone has them
  • We assume that interviewers know what we do and we make broad, non-specific statements things like, “I’ve done all aspects of recruiting.”

These are just a few thoughts as to why some candidates have trouble presenting their experiences in such a way that the interviewer has clear examples of what the candidate can do and can visualize them bring this experience to their Firm.

If you are someone who is much better at doing the job than talking about how well you do it, we recommend practicing your answers and providing specific examples that showcase what you contribute. I prep every candidate this way for every interview (even 3rd and 4th rounds, where candidates often think that the assessment process is over) and it has made a big difference. Being great at what you do and having the interviewers “get” what you can do for their role is not a given.


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