Original on Transparent

I was interviewing for a new job recently and after covering the three questions I’d prepared answers for, we got talking and I was asked the non-assessable question “Why are you the best person for this job”.

Me of all people should have an answer for that, but, in the moment I went slightly left field.

I said “I may not be the best person for the job. That’s the panel’s decision at the end of the day, and I may not be what you’re looking for”.  I think it caught them off guard, and me too. I don’t quite know where I was going with that. I continued though.

“Do I have the skills to do the job? Absolutely”. I’d just given about a 30-minute pitch on three pre-provided questions, explained how I operate, think, what I prioritise and how I’d approach the role. I had confidence in that much; I have been doing a similar job well for about 10 years. Was I the best though? Can you be ‘the best’ or just ‘the best fit from the available applicant pool’?

“I am not a one trick pony, I am not “the IT guy”. Context of what was that much of the work I have done over the last 10 years has been analytics and by extension IT. You cannot run analytics on 2 million rows of data per day without a bit of tech. “I have planning skills, people skills, relationship skills and experience delivering outcomes with a bit of out of the box thinking”. That was basically a summary of everything I had said in the interview.

The panel opened up and became quite conversational. “That’s why we wanted to get you in and talk to you to know that’s what you’re not. You’re definitely not”. Affirming, though I did make an off-hand joke about now having to go away and think about everything I said and whether I was too IT heavy. They assured me I wasn’t. Phew.

I ended my pitch by saying “I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. Whether you want me is your decision based on whether I am going to give you what you need and want, and, whether you think I will be a fit for your team. I’m sick of being a square peg in a round hole so if you don’t want me, I’m okay with that because it’s your decision; you need someone who will work for you”.

I’m still not 100% sure how I feel with my moment of inspiration or madness. Note to self to ask the panel when I get the job or get feedback as to how it was received. It’s a very mature answer in that’s it’s looking at it from their perspective, which is good if your future boss knows you can think about things from their position – which I had said a lot during the interview I could do. It’s considered. It’s confident in a weird way – confident that I am good at what I do and whether someone wants me in a role or not is not only about my competency, but about the bigger picture of business needs; confident that I know I have skills and can demonstrate them.

It’s okay to not get a job. It’s tough if you need a job and are short on choices but that’s not my situation. It always hurts, it’s like asking someone out and being turned down, there is pain in that. There is also time, effort and emotion (care and preparation) invested in doing well.

I’ll let you know what comes of the moment of mad inspiration.



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