Who do you think you are?

Just who do you think you are?!  This phrase was a playground taunt when I was a kid.  Alpha male gets challenged for supremacy in the pack.  Alpha male backs down challenger by tapping into the doubt and uncertainty swimming in the challenger’s head.  What this phrase really translates to is “Apparently you don’t know who I am… why should I pay any attention to you?”

Underdogs throughout history have faced this moment of truth, when they had to follow through on their challenge or back down in defeat.  In so many famous sports upsets, the battle did not go to the physically strongest or most experienced.  It was won or lost in the players’ minds before the battle even began.

This works the same way with a job interview.  You are stepping up to prove you are worthy to someone who is in a power position.  If you are tentative, or doubt your abilities, the alpha dog can sense your fear.  An interviewer may not actually growl at you, but they will silently dismiss you as a top candidate.

Humility and self-deprecating humor are usually favorable personality traits in social conversations, but not in job interviews. You must come to an interview with the attitude that you deserve it and that you can do anything you put your mind to, even if you don’t have all the experience or skills listed in the description. 

If you can demonstrate passion, evidence of past successes, the ability to transfer skills, learn quickly and leverage resources… then you ARE qualified for the job.

Confidence is a powerful ally.  Doubt will keep you from being your best.

Who you think you are IS, in fact, who you are.

Explore posts in the same categories: Communication, Motivation

11 Comments on “Who do you think you are?”

  1. Arlene Says:

    Your post reminded me of something my father told me many, many years ago.

    My father owned a bakery, and his bread was was delivered throughout the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1950s and 1960s. One day a young man walked in looking for a job. My Dad asked him if he had operated a bread slicer before and the eager young man said “Yes!” Then Dad asked him if he had ever made bread before and the young man said “Yes! I’ve helped my mother bake bread in her kitchen many times.” Whatever my Dad asked him, the young man had a positive attitude, and couldn’t wait to help.

    So my Dad hired him. The young man turned out to be a great worker. If he didn’t know how to do something, he asked my Dad if he wouldn’t mind showing him how to do it, then he quickly learned. It wasn’t until a few years later that the young man confessed that this was his first job. He never had any experience at all with bread or operating bakery equipment, or driving an old stick-shift bakery truck, but he knew he could learn and do the job if he was given a chance. My Dad gave him that chance because of the young man’s positive attitude.

    Confidence is indeed the key to success.

  2. Wendy Says:

    Excellent, David… Will have to try this out at my next interview!

  3. Todd Says:

    Excellent observations, David. And I agree. Just kicking off a new search, so will keep this notion firmly in mind.

  4. Khoder Baydoun Says:

    This is a great point and subject to discuss, especially at this time when many people are losing their jobs and go on job hunting for month without luck. A friend of mine was one of those people. My friend was very active in submitting applications for positions spanning California north to south. He would score high but not high enough to get the jobs. One day, I was talking to him about his interviews and I noticed that he was being too humble and worked hard at fitting in. He also hinted at using humor during or on the onset of the interview to calm his nerves. I asked him to change his attitude and do exactly what you have recommended in your blog and to refrain from using humor in his inteview. Two weeks, he called me to tell me that he had a job inteview and he got the job.

    This is the only thing that was missing from your blog – a story. Your blog ended abruptly and left me wanting to hear more. It was like climbing down a mountain and not having enough rope to get me to the bottom of the mountain. You may have spoiled us with your generosity and great witty details that you usually bring forward to your readers. You are a great story teller. Why not add a story to drive home the point. I enjoy your blogs. You have sofistication and high level of enthusiasm and optimism in all your writing that I find myslef looking forward to reading. We are beginning to need you and look forward to your articles. We are lucky to know you and I look forward to a great future for you as a writer.

    • davidgoad Says:

      I have lots of stories related to this one Khoder. Next time you get one… no extra charge 🙂

  5. Gus Says:

    “I am the greatest, I said that even before I knew I was.”
    Muhammad Ali

  6. Arlene Says:

    One thing to note: there’s a difference between confidence and cocky/overbearing. Believing in yourself = confidence; telling everyone repeatedly that you’re the best = cocky/overbearing.

    • davidgoad Says:

      Good point Arlene. You can turn interviewers off with cockiness/arrogance. I think the way to avoid that is to talk about evidence of success and the part you played in it, not necessarily you as a person.

  7. Arlene Says:


    Great blog topic by the way, as always.

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