Confident Vs. Conceited: A Job Search Derailed

By Charlene Holsendorff

     Ari wasn't particularly impressed with how things were going with the new career specialist. As he headed out the building to his car after meeting with her, he knew he'd have to decide, yet again, how much of what was said to him that he'd simply reject.

     Ari Gantt [fictitious name] was the Quality Director at a manufacturing company reporting directly to the General Manager. With the revamping of his division over recent months of company restructuring, his role - consequently his influence - was severely fractured. Ari was of the opinion that having his position dissected into multiple roles held by several individuals was certainly beneath a man of his caliber (a term he was particularly prone to toss about). He was actively looking elsewhere for employ.

     The career specialist was contracted to ease employees through the ongoing upheaval in the company by providing group workshops and individual coaching. Ari was skeptical from the start about his need for career guidance. True, he hadn't been in a job search since coming here nine years ago. And yes, he'd been intrigued by snippets of conversations around the plant by employees who'd attended the workshops or had personal consultations.
     Any company would be lucky to have him, he reasoned. Indeed, his reputation as an uber strategist preceded him. He had, in fact, been recruited from his previous company for what was until recently this prestigious position.
The career specialist recalled her first meeting with Ari Gantt. He wore his cynicism with the same pretension as his expensive watch. "So, let's begin the discussion towards your job search strategy," she had said as they settled in beyond initial introductions.
"Strategy?" Ari repeated dubiously. "I didn't realize I needed a strategy."
"Of course you need a strategy," she'd responded with a deliberate but innocuous gaze.

     Ari's cynicism was overtly apparent by his body language. He regularly leaned on one elbow during consultations. During group sessions with colleagues he took to reclining back in his chair with legs outstretched and his hands clasped behind his head in that "I don't buy what you're selling" stance.
     It wasn't surprising to the career expert that, despite several leads and interview opportunities, Ari Gantt had not yet been hired. In a particularly revealing moment he said, "I figured employers would be knocking my door down to hire me. But that's not happening."
It certainly didn't help that his Resume was so outmoded. He was coached towards producing an accomplishments driven vs. task focused marketing tool.
"It's no longer simply a job description with a name at the top," she emphasized. "The well-crafted Resume is a career snapshot that conveys the measurable impact made upon companies because you were there."
     There's a broader issue at stake beyond tangible Resume and Interview tools in the pursuit of that next job. Competence, after all, is not the only consideration when looking for a job. Hiring Managers want to like - or at least identify with - who they hire. Wouldn't you? As communication skills coach Carmine Gallo notes in his article, 10 Ways to Tell if You're Confident or Arrogant, perception is reality.

     The Ari Gantts of the world need to understand that whereas confidence is an attraction that can end up being the difference between getting the job or losing it to someone else... arrogance works in the same way.
     Today's session now concluded, Ari's pace quickened with his frustration. As he trekked through the vast parking lot to his car he resisted his mounting exasperation. He was fully aware that colleagues were getting job offers and working again.
     By the time he got into his car and revved his way onto the connecting street, he'd recaptured some semblance of calm. "Any company would be lucky to have me," Ari Gantt reminded himself. "... a man of my caliber."

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