EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

There are an awful lot of people in this world who lie from time to time, some more frequently than others. And, not all of them are politicians.

Others may have a different definition, but having an accounting background, I believe that anything that is said that isn’t the WHOLE truth is sort of a lie.

I’ll give you a little hint about where I am going with tonight’s editorial by telling you that some of the worst prevaricators in this world are on the other side of the desk interviewing you for jobs you would love to have.

Of course, if your wife asks you if her new dress makes her look fat, I hope you will have the good sense to say something appropriate that won’t get you into a lot of trouble. (I’m sure you have heard the joke: If a man said something in a forest with no one around to hear, would he still be wrong? The answer is yes.) And, in much the same way, those who have interviewed you for a job for which you are well qualified are in the same pickle.

Being deeply schooled in the art of “primarily due to, partially offset by” we are not well equipped to honestly understand and properly interpret the “story” we get when the answer is no. My short advice to you is not to listen to anything that is said after the word no because if it isn’t an outright lie, it has elements of being one based on my definition above.

What exactly are you expecting them to tell you? And, what can they tell you that won’t get them sued? How about: We liked you, but we found someone younger. No, I guess that won’t work.

What about: You had 99 of the 100 criteria we set out for this job, but we found someone with all 100. Sounds credible, doesn’t it? To tell you the truth, they may as well be telling you that you would have gotten the job if you had only been wearing matching socks, or if only you were taller. (The client has reports kept on high shelves and no step ladders or stools.)

The best technique used by those on the other side of the table revolves around what I call “the excuse you can’t cure.” If only you had a CPA. Well, if you don’t have one, you won’t be able to fix that by tomorrow. We decided we needed someone from a top school. Well, I guess your degree from Podunk University isn’t going to cut it. And to think you graduated with honors. Fine, it was 30 years ago, but hey, who’s counting? The “explanation” does what it was designed to do: Get you out of their office or off the phone without a lawsuit.

The real problem with all of these explanations is that we are so honest and, if you will forgive me for saying so, so dumb, that we actually believe there is some truth to what they are saying. What is worse is that we act on these comments and come to believe they represent some reality about our career prospects.

It is true that your expertise in the manufacturing of buggy whips is not all that useful in this market. That said I’m sure your skills are transferrable. To my knowledge, accounting in every industry consists of debits and credits. With a few weeks of training you might even be able to find the bathrooms and the lunch room. You will probably also only need a few weeks to figure out how to turn on your computer. (Perhaps someone will show you.)

The bottom line is that the job in question didn’t result in a job offer. That is the ONLY thing you know for sure. Were the other candidates better than you in a totally analytical sense? There is NO way of knowing.

The key to successful personal selling is the ability to move to the next customer without missing a beat. You are the product. And, if you don’t believe in the product you won’t be very effective in trying to sell it.

Big ticket products have limited numbers of customers. But, as one of my friends once said: No one is out of work forever. It just seems that way.

Your day will come. Just keep at it. After all, it’s not like you have a choice.

Regards, Matt

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