Rule #1: People Hire People They Like

Image: Steve Parker/Flickr, adapted by Bruce Kasanoff

Rule #1 in finding a job is People Hire People They Like. 

Rule #2 is: Re-read Rule #1.

This rule is not written down in any employee hiring manual. You won't find it in any job description or ad. When the media interviews leaders about how they hire, they will say, "Blah blah blah we hire the best blah blah blah..."

But I am telling you the truth. If a hiring manager doesn't like you, they are highly unlikely to hire you.

Let me translate this a bit. If you are any of the following, you won't get hired:

  • Aloof
  • Entitled
  • Clueless
  • Distracted
  • Obnoxious
  • Offensive
  • Entitled

Yes, I wrote entitled twice. 

According to many of my friends who hire, they are tired beyond words of candidates who think they deserve a job because they have checked off all the qualifications. On paper, such a candidate is perfect. In person, they are insufferable.

This does not mean that every candidate has to be the same. Some hiring managers are aggressive, driven, intellectually demanding, or even themselves clueless. You don't have to be someone that anyone would like; you just have to be likable through the eyes of the person or people who have to say "yes" to your hire.

You also shouldn't over-inflate my rule. You don't have to be someone's new best friend to get hired. You just have to be someone they are willing to have around every day for the next 1,000 days.

Here's what shocks me: the number of job candidates who think that the hiring process is some sort of hermetically-sealed, principle-driven meritocracy in which they alone are destined to succeed... because they have already deemed themselves the best candidate.

People hire people.

People have:

  • emotions
  • biases
  • preferences
  • feelings
  • gut instincts

No matter what a company's policies say, you must always remember that in looking for a job you are engaging in a process driven by humans.

So how do you act on what I'm saying?

Before you lay out your qualifications or pursue any opportunity, remember that your first goal must be to connect on a human level.