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Jul 29 2016

8 Signs You’re Branding Yourself Like A Politician – and That’s Not Good!

Elizabeth Dexter-Wilson

Now that the US presidential election season is in full force, it brings me back to a post I wrote four years ago regarding my disillusionment with the “application” process. Let’s face it, politicians are lousy at positively promoting themselves, exhibit the worst in how to brand themselves and, if placed in a traditional job application process, would fail miserably.

Just once I would like to see a news reporter or debate moderator repeat their questions to a politician until he/she actually gives thorough answers. Any traditional interviewer would quickly drop a job candidate who dodged answers and played spin-doctor. Why? Because, interviewers want and need to know how a candidate will represent their company’s brand, solve their company’s problems, save their company money, and make their jobs easier. So, if you are exhibiting any of the following 8 signs, you are harming your brand and risking your chances of becoming a powerful candidate.

You “dis” the competition: Isn’t this one of the first things we are told not to do in an interview? Don’t blame others, talk bad about your former boss or co-workers. The hiring manager will wonder just how long it will take you to start “dising” him/her as well. So, lay off the negatives if you want to be considered for a job.

You don’t have a plan to solve problems: When asked why he/she is the best candidate, politicians never describe how they plan to solve problems, save money and make this a better country. Instead, they dodge the question and target what their competition isn’t doing well. Just once, I would love to hear a dynamite answer such as “In my first 30 days of office, I plan to do the following…In my next 30 days, I will do this… and in the next 30, this…So, bring it!” Now, that is a great answer. Hello! Politicians! Using the “my competition isn’t doing this or that technique” doesn’t impress hiring managers. All it does is tell them that you don’t know squat.

You don’t play well with others: Watch any debate and this statement is self-explanatory. It amazes me how politicians get so cut throat- even with those who are on “their side”! Just think about the amount of work that could get done if they knocked off the bickering, decided to work as a team and focused their efforts on getting the job done. So, if you truly want a job, don’t mess around with the quality of playing well with others.

You resist negotiating: Think about it. Would you hire someone who refused to admit he/she was ever wrong? I doubt it! That’s the problem with politicians. They get stubborn, reject and refuse to consider others’ opinions, ideas and plans. All this technique does is increase resentment, kills enthusiasm and keeps teams from being productive. Don’t be the weakest link! Learn how to negotiate!

You don’t collaborate well: Take a look at what’s going on in congress as I type. Once you are on the job, you better know how to collaborate, appreciate and identify the strengths of your team. If you don’t take advantage of the talents of others, your job is going to be very difficult and your goals, ideas and projects will suffer immensely. Let the hiring manager know how and why you see collaboration as important. And, demonstrate your ability to collaborate!

You deny your mistakes, failures and poor choices: This has to be my greatest pet peeve about politicians. I guess we are supposed to believe they are perfect and have never done a single thing wrong. Not only is this dishonest, it’s boring! Plus, denial always comes back to haunt you. Haven’t we seen this lately? Just once I would love to hear a politician admit to his/her failures, come clean and say something like this: “Yes. I screwed up. I made an fool of myself. I was stupid and here is what I learned about making poor choices.” “Don’t make the bad choices that I did. I was wrong and now, with all of you as my witnesses, I’m going to start righting my wrongs. Who’s with me? Let’s do this thing!” Wow! I would definitely respect someone like this! And, this is the person most likely to get hired!

You don’t “Wear your Calling”: Martin Luther King wore his calling. Mahatma Ghandi wore his calling. Veronica Guerin wore her calling. These are individuals whose passion and purpose drove them to do incredible things. They radiated passion, enthusiasm and determination in their work. They truly “Wore their Calling”. I have yet to see a politician display or express this type of passion and drive. Instead, they wear arrogance, stubbornness and obtuseness. If you want a job, wear your calling!

You don’t appreciate diversity: This is the year 2016 and politicians still resist diversifying their teams through ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc… How unacceptable is this? At a time when we could really benefit from new ideas, new perspectives and new ways of looking at our problems, politicians are just not getting it. If you can’t diversify, you die. Or, you just won’t get a job offer.

So, if we placed a politician into a traditional job application process, would he/she be crossed off the candidate list? My guess is, absolutely! What do you think? Do you have any bad signs to add to the list?

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