Don’t be the “Commodity” Job Seeker

Don’t be the “Commodity” Job Seeker

In a video published by Pink Slip Mixers, a well known career coach said that, “A resume is a necessary evil”. Some HR folks will cringe at that statement, despite it’s truth. So I’d like to take a moment and analyze exactly why that statement is some of the best job seeking advice you could get.

After all, too many job seekers spend all their time polishing off a resume to submit in an application process, despite recent statistics. In one study done by Manpower, 40% of jobs actually come from networking. Only 16% come from job boards, and therefore resumes alone.

This is just one of the many things I’ll be exploring with job seekers on the January 4th webinar with respect to creativity and personality in the job search. We’ll be interviewing Hal Thomas, who got a job with just one tweet, and his hiring manager to get the hiring perspective.

Note: This webinar is long past, but members of my newsletter get to watch the replay. Have you signed up  yet?

Now, there are essentially 3 questions every hiring manager needs to have answered before they can make a decision about hiring you or not. They are:

  1. Do I like you?
  2. What motivates you?
  3. Can you do the job

The first 2 questions are personality questions. The last one is a commodity question. Think about it, almost everyone else going for that job can push the button too.

FACT: Personality Beats Commodity EVERY Time!

And considering how competitive the job market is, you have to assume there is someone more qualified more educated and more experienced then you.

People make emotional decisions. And HR folks are not any different. Think about the last buying decision you made. Perhaps you were looking for a new breakfast cereal at the market. You look at the colors on the packaging. You notice if it lowers your cholesterol or if it has enough sweetness. You find something you like about it and it makes you feel good. So, you buy it.

The same mental process goes through the mind of your hiring manager.

Do I like You?

Can this manager work next to you, as cube-neighbors, for 8 hrs a day, 5 days a week? If there isn’t a spark, a chemistry, either before or during the interview, you can count yourself out.

There really isn’t much else for people to go on. Every other applicant says, “I’m the perfect fit”, they have a resume to back it up. But in the end of the day, the only thing they really have to go on is if they like you or not.

And the best way to get someone to like you is to express YOU. Genuinely. Quickly. Strategically.

Social medium allows this to happen. When you get Googled, (yes, “when”), will what they find answer the question of your personality and brand? or are you allowing Google to determine your online reputation? When they read your LinkedIn profile summary, do they get a sense of who you are. Your story?

“Do I Like You” is by far THE most important question you can answer for a hiring manager, and the sooner you do, the better off you’ll be.

Take some time to really figure out what your brand is, and how that relates to the needs of your potential companies. I recommend reading Chris Brogans new (and free) e-book on personal branding and following his advice before re-writing your LinkedIn profile.

What motivates you?

The proverbial risk mitigation question. A hiring managers biggest risk is hiring the wrong person. And “wrong” means someone who is not what they appear to be on paper. They loose their drive. They are lazy. They cost the company thousands of dollars.

But, if you are motivated, you are the right person. You are consistent over time. You read about your industry on the weekends. You stay up to date with joy and passion. In short, you are reliable, and you have a low hiring risk.

Answer the question of your motivation, and double your chances of getting hired. Seriously. Just ask a hiring manager!

And one of the best ways of communicating that you are motivated and what motivates you is to have a blog.

Yep. Even the most simplest blog, filled with articles about your perspective, your ideas, your reviews. The sooner you can get your blog up and running the better. There are several good courses on how to get a blog. Personally, I really like Laura Roeder’s “Zero to Blogging” program.

If you don’t like to write, then the 2nd best thing you can do is put your Amazon reading list in your LinkedIn profile. This will also demonstrate that you are motivated (…to read industry relevant books).

Originally posted 2009-12-27 22:58:34. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Joshua Waldman, author of Job Searching with Social Media For Dummies, is recognized as one of the nations top authorities in Social Media Career Advancement. To learn Joshua’s secret strategies for shortening the job search and getting the right job right away, watch his exclusive video training HERE


  1. How often do HR people read your blog? Has that become commonplace within hiring?

    • @jenna5432 I don’t know for sure. I know there a HR people who are looking for a job, and who read my blog for assistence. I also know about 10% of my list are career coaches. And perhaps some of them have a background in HR as well. Curious about your question…when you say “that”, do you mean is it common for corporate recruiters to read job search blogs?

  2. I can see where HR has to first zoom in on qualifications. I think the actually hiring does depend on personality and fit. Josh, I just finished reading your new book. Well done, lots of helpful information, as always. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hi Bonnie, Thanks for the comment on my book. Please feel free to share a review on Amazon should you feel so moved.

  3. In this job market there may be a plethora of “qualified” applicants. Personality and the ability to Fit in to the culture of the organization is the over riding factor in getting hired. How many times does the qualified (education, knowledge and maybe even experience) applicant appear to be a jerk, rude or cocky. Your 3 essential questions are right on!

    • @JobCoachHQ Thanks. It’s something I’ve been thinking about. Many hiring managers have been complaining about the “Skills Gap” recently. Which I find ironic. And I think this is a problem we can solve by showing job seekers how to better position themselves to companies.

  4. Many thanks for the exciting blog posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you are a brilliant writer. I actually added your blog to my favorites and will look forward for more updates. Great Job,

    Keep it up..

    <a href=”” title=”mcx tips”>mcx tips</a>

  5. In a video published by Pink Slip Mixers, a well known career coach said that, A resume is a necessary evil. Some HR folks will cringe at .

  6. You could be the most qualified candidate out there with the fanciest resume and appropriate credentials, but if your personality doesn’t shine through then you’re kind of screwed. I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been to an interview and have had them say, “right now we’re just trying to get a feel for your personality”.

    My thought is, if you’ve been asked to come in for an interview, they already think you’re competent and the interview is just about proving it. One of the best pieces of advice I eve received was “HR WANTS to hire you so the interview shouldn’t be about landing the job, but convincing the recruiter what they already suspect.”
    .-= Marian Schembari´s last blog ..Internship Series part 2: The Cool Factor =-.

  7. As a HR Professional (not a recruiter, but I also perform recruiting duties as well)…when I am recruiting, I do try to make sure that the candidate “fits” with my team is important (see below) but whether I like the person or not is not really something I look for. Of course, first impressions are BIG, however I disagree that amongst first question(s) hiring managers are asking is “do I like you”. No way one can one get the answer to the question thoroughly in a one interview…

    When I am recruiting, all of my interview questions fall into one of those four categories:
    1. Can the applicant do the job? (Competence)
    2. Will the applicant do the job? (Commitment)
    3. Will the applicant be a good fit? (Compatibility)
    4. Can I trust the applicant? (Character)

    • Scott, Thanks for the great comment. I’m always open to another perspective. Though I’m not sure ours differ at all.

      Your first 2 questions are about competence, thus, I could rephrase them to, “Can they do the job”

      The 3rd question, about compatibility, is suggesting that the candidate may or may not be liked by their peers. Thus, I could rephrase it, “Do I like you”, or modified slightly, “will he/she be liked?”.

      Finally, the 4th question, about character, is well stated to be about Trust. Is this person who they say they are. Will they be different once they are hired. And the best way to determine if they are trustworthy, is to understand what their true motivations are. Thus, I could restate it as, “What is motivating them?”.

      Let me ask you a question to really get at the heart of the matter. Have you ever hired someone who wasn’t the most qualified candidate, but they seemed trustworthy, and a better fit for the organization. If you answer Yes, then it would imply that competence was NOT the deciding factor.

      The 3 questions are not pulled out of thin air. For more reading on the matter, I highly recommend a book by an Australian author Michael Spiroplous, not so creatively called “Interview Skills that Win the Job



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