I am reading Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell.  In the book he looks at what makes great people (outliers) great.  I HIGHLY recommend this book.  One of the things that he talks about that makes a dramatic difference in people’s lives is whether or not they have a sense of entitlement.

 the condition of having a right to have, do, or get something

This is NOT the definition that most of us use.  Most of us use it when people get special privileges or when we describe financial help from the government.  Gladwell says that people without entitlement will not stand up for themselves, people with it will.

This is VERY important in the interview process.  I fear that companies often times hire good interviewers, but not necessarily good candidates.  This is an important distinction for every applicant to understand.  Think of it in the dating analogy…  How many times have you been on a date that went great but you later found out the person is a horrible match for you.  Or sometimes the reverse happens, you think the person is a self-absorbed half-wit but you later find out that they just have a wicked sense of humor.  The interview process is no different.  Unfortunately most people do not believe that to be true.

Many people believe that you can interview people in such a way that it determines who will be successful and who will not.  Don’t get me wrong, interviews do help in increasing the odds that there will be a good match.  Interviews can assist in determining who CAN be a good match but not necessarily who WILL be a good match.

Let’s look at how this affects you, the candidate.

Entitled people ask questions

Many times the person that does well in the interview is the person who asks questions.  If the company asks you a scenario or hypothetical question you NEED to ask questions.

  • Interviewer: What would you do if a customer refuses to pay?
  • Candidate: Before I answer I would like to know some of our (assume you already work there) policies and procedures around non-payment.
  • Candidate: What is the normal process for billing and where in that process did the customer refuse to pay?
  • Candidate: Have we already delivered the product / service?
  • etc…

If you do not have a sense of entitlement you will not ask those questions.  It really helps if are the type of person who does not have a problem asking questions.  Keep in mind, you need to ask enough but not too many.

Entitled people believe what they say

One thing that will sink an interview very quickly is a being flip-flopper.  No, I don’t want someone so committed to a belief that they will pursue even in the face of evidence to the contrary.  I mean the people that change their answer because they think you have a different opinion.  In a HRGrapevine article  Uber’s CEO, Travis Kalanick, it seems he wants people WITH different points of view.  The article talks about how Kalanick talked to a candidate (they call it a “30 hour interview”) off and on for weeks about a variety of topics.  My thought is that if the candidate had changed his answer when pressed, it would have been a MUCH shorter process with a very different outcome.

You need to be OK with having a different opinion and be able to back it up.  You need to defend your viewpoint and argue without being argumentative.  Many people cross the line and let their emotions rule them when confronted.  But entitled people don’t get emotional.

Entitled people are persistent

How many times have you been told “apply online” only to wait and wait and wait with no response?  If you are entitled you won’t just sit there, you reach out to people.  I see it all the time… the entitled candidate follows up with me.  They stop by my office.  They reach out to me via social media.  In short, they have the winning attitude of “if this company does not hire me, it is their loss but I want to show them how great I am.”  Again, this is confidence without arrogance.  It is persistence without nagging.  It is a fine line that is walked and it is not a straight line.  This takes what Gladwell calls “Practical Intelligence.”  What is Practical Intelligence?  Gladwell defines it as ““knowing what to say to whom, knowing when to say it, and knowing how to say it for maximum effect.”

We all need to be a little bit better at being an advocate for ourselves, that is what Malcom is saying.  If you don’t believe in yourself, why should others?

Believing in yourself if the first secret to success.
Disti Amalia Pusparanti