Job candidates – Men vs. Women

Published March 6th, 2008 in Blog, Designed for Success, Strategies and Hints

I am very proud to let you all know that “Designed for Success” has sold out of its first print run! That’s right. Less than 60 days from the release date and they’ve already begun a second printing!  It’s a tremendous success and I want to thank each and every one of you who has shown such tremendous support. I appreciate the wonderful reviews, emails, “Ask Dondi” questions and all of the encouragement and input that I have received. I can’t wait to see where we continue to go with this!

Recently, a hiring manager wrote to me with a very interesting observation. She said, “I am screening candidates right now for two regional positions and there is a strong distinction between men who come across so much more confident and eager. They often have a planned strategy for their career where women don’t.” She is reading Designed for Success and found the difference between the male and female candidates very interesting. You’ll notice she did not say the men were brighter or more qualified. The difference was that they came to the table with confidence, energy, and a solid plan. This is a good example of how women can undersell themselves or fail to market themselves effectively. Here are three steps that women can take to make a stronger, more positive impression: 

  1. Develop your career plan! Reach into the future at least 5 years, set your goals, and create a roadmap. Your career is one of the most important projects you will ever manage. Treat it like a project by defining your objectives, developing a timeline, and identifying the milestones. This way, when people ask, you’ll be able to share your vision immediately. This alone shows confidence, planning and structure that can be valuable in any situation and would be an asset to a prospective employer or client. 
  2. Learn how to tell your stories well. (In Designed for Success you will learn five stories we all need to have on the tip of our tongues and how to market yourself effectively.) Share openly and honestly and with confidence!

  1. Confidence can be learned with practice. Even when you don’t feel it you can still portray confidence to those around you. When you find yourself in a low-confidence situation think of the most confident person you know and visualize what she (or he) would do in this situation. She would probably make eye contact and smile. Her posture would be open. She might lean forward to strengthen the connection and use natural gestures. Internally, she would allow herself to be “in the moment,” and she would give herself permission to take a risk.

Even if you don’t feel like that self-assured person, you can do all of the things that he or she would. No one outside yourself ever needs to know (or suspect!) that you aren’t just like that confident person that you pictured in your own mind a few minutes ago.