Job-hunting is stressful. There’s a lot of apprehension, a queasy rollercoaster of emotions, and the glimmers of hope that one encounters when searching for the perfect job. As vice president and chief operating officer, I receive multitudes of resumes per day from hopeful job seekers looking for their next place to land. Some are genuinely authentic. Others, well, you can see right through them.

What do I look for when interviewing potential candidates? Character.

In many companies, the person who talks the talk usually ends up landing the position – regardless of whether they actually walk the walk. The skill-set a job candidate must possess, especially for a leadership position, has changed drastically over the years.  Far too often I’ve seen confident, fluent employees fall short on the merits of their work.

As the pool of candidates evolves I now place heavier emphasis on character rather than communication skills. You may be able to talk a lady wearing white gloves into buying a melting Popsicle, but that’s not going to get you the job at B+L. I look for somebody who has classic virtues such as integrity, honesty, courage, love and wisdom. In essence, emotional intelligence is more important than cognitive intelligence.

Now, don’t get me wrong, an applicant must also have the necessary experience, professional history and credentials appropriate to the position they are applying for, but if the honest and unpretentious bone in your body is buried beneath the thick layer of “I’m going to tell you what you want to hear,” it’s not likely I’ll be calling you in for an interview.

During the interview process, I’ll want to get to know the real you, the person beyond the interviewing mode you’re operating under. What makes you shine? What’s your “Wow!” factor’? Tell me how you not only reached a set of expectations, but blew them out of the water. How versatile are you – marketing/advertising is a fluid and constantly changing world that requires thick skin and a genuine soul.

So, think you have what it takes?

Dawn Agacki

VP/Chief Operating Officer

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