I was in a room with a couple classmates.
We had returned after securing full-time jobs with our respective summer internship companies. A Q&A session was arranged for us to advise first year MBAs on the DOs and DON’Ts during an internship.
Just as the session was closing, a hand rose from the back row of the seats. There was this guy from Brazil who hesitantly said:
I don’t know what got into me – I exclaimed:
The room fell silent.
I had openly challenged some guy who I had never seen before. It might have been a bit weird, but I really meant what I said. Yes, if you think you can’t get that job, you never ever will!
“Mindset is everything! You become what you believe in.” I then added, “I am sorry if my comment seemed off the mark, but the reality is this. I will be happy to meet with you and chat about what is causing you to believe so.”
If you asked me then, I would have never thought that he would actually approach me to speak.
But to my pleasant surprise, he came to me! Let me stop here – his very act of keeping his ego aside and seeking guidance told me this man had something in him to make him super successful in the future.
We shook hands (ah yes, pre-covid times) and began to chat. He told me he appreciated my comment and wanted to set up a one-on-one with me to discuss his barriers.
Now, typically, whenever I met someone to help them with their internship or job search, I started off with a mock interview. Mock interviews help mimic a real-interview scenario and tells me immediately what the person’s strengths and areas of opportunities are. It becomes very easy to have a direct, effective, and actionable conversation thereafter.
After a 10-15 min mock interview, I couldn’t believe my ears. This guy was eloquent, bold, and very authentic in his stories (read: STAR stories). He was charismatic and I started to wonder why he had these self-limiting beliefs in the first place.
The mock interview ended, and I asked him, “So tell me, Jose (pseudonym). How would you rate yourself from 1-10 on your performance?”
Jose said, “(umm) a 4 or a 5. I haven’t been practicing my stories for a while since I haven’t been getting any interview calls. I need to practice much more, I know.” Jose had announced his verdict.
I followed up, “Jose, what makes you think you need more practice?”
Jose said, “I am not a native English speaker, so I need to practice a ton to get my stories crisp and succinct.”
There you go! That was his number one problem. Now, I want to take a second to tell you something here. We, humans, are not the greatest when it comes to evaluating the root cause of our problem. Our analysis of the problem lies in what we think and believe in and these thoughts are more or less shaped by how we think people perceive us.
To summarize, it stems from the stories we tell ourselves daily. Many times, the problem is something entirely different. It is the constant tussle between the conscious mind and the subconscious mind.
Do you now see what Jose’s real problem was behind not getting a job offer or even interview offers? It wasn’t his background or his competence of the English language. In fact, he expressed himself extremely well. It was his under confidence and the non-belief in his abilities that made all the difference.
Jose’s barriers were ALL created by his own mind. He had developed self-limiting beliefs. Once he did that, he told himself those false stories time and again until those became his new reality.
Why do international candidates feel what Jose felt, all the time?
Are we as a society failing them somewhere?
Coming soon: How Jose was offered a job from his dream company.
Founder and CEO, Get On The Raft.