On a recent Sunday night, I found myself reading Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In, and the following Monday night watching ABC’s The Bachelorette, (it’s called cultural balance). While some might argue that these two medias have nothing in common and portray conflicting cultural messages, I think they go hand-in-hand. If Lean In is a college class, The Bachelorette is it’s textbook’s case study. As a wildly popular book, it is well known that Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In, invites, asks, and tells women to continue moving forward in their careers by overcoming different constraints society and women place on themselves. As a wildly popular reality television show, The Bachelorette, shows 25 bachelors competing for the chance to marry JoJo, this season’s Bachelorette. Similarly, The Bachelor shows 25 bachelorettes competing for the chance to marry Ben, last season’s Bachelor.
The Interview Booth
As you probably cannot imagine, as it is completely irrational, competing against 24 other men or women (depending on the show) for one person’s attention and affection would be difficult. Every season on The Bachelor a common theme develops in which the contestants start to develop self-doubt about why they are there and what ‘The Bachelor’ would see in them. Things such as, “Olivia P. is so fun and pretty, it’s hard to compete,” and “Ashley B. clearly has a connection with him,” are said in the interview booth. Pressures run high, drinks are poured strong, and eventually some women crack under the self-pressure, and withdrawal themselves from the competition (or “the journey for love” as the show likes to call it).
While I cannot speak to why the women on The Bachelor often underestimate their ability to succeed and withdrawal themselves out of the competition, I can speak to it from a recruiter’s perspective. In every situation in life be it a reality show or a job hunt, you have to be your own advocate. An interview is not the time to be modest, graceful, or claim “you’re just lucky.” If producers have cast you as a member of a reality show, or a hiring manager has read your resume and asked you for an interview, know that you are there for a reason.
Everyone is searching for something; JoJo is in search of love, SelectOne is in search of excellent candidates, and perhaps you are in search of your next job. Regardless of what you are searching for, self-confidence will help you find it.
I get it – self-confidence can be elusive. One day you’re being given a coveted rose from ‘The Bachelor’, and the next you’re being sent home in a limo back to Nebraska, where you fear you’ll never find love. Or to put that more realistically, one day you’re in a final round of interviews for your dream job and the next day you get a call saying, “While we really enjoyed meeting you we have decided to go in another direction.” Regardless of the external factors around you, being confident in your skills, personality, and successes must come from you; if you rely on others for that validation, you’re going to be hard-pressed to find it.
Lean In and Listen Up
In some ways The Bachelorette is like one long job search where cocktail parties are interviews, hometown visits are background checks, and an engagement proposal is an official offer letter; so whether you’re seeking a rose, a raise, or a new role, lean in and listen up: stop playing small. Confident people are the real winners. They win reality shows and they land their dream jobs (you probably can’t do both of those things – so choose wisely). When you’re confident in your own abilities, it makes JoJo and your interviewer confident in your ability to succeed as well.
Your new job offer might not come with a platinum Neil Lane engagement ring, like The Bachelor winner will receive, but it might just bring you work that you feel passionate about… and I think we can all agree that is worth its weight in gold.