Why We Should Be Less Like Superman and More Like Clark Kent in Job Interviews
As a big superhero and comic book fan, naturally, I’m having a lot of fun applying this Superman and Clark Kent analogy to help us navigate situations we face in our careers.
In the last blog, I shared the importance of Leaders leaning into their Clark Kent side for problem solving.
– – – Check out why it’s more powerful to reserve your strength and give your team the freedom to flex their problem solving muscles here: Leaders Who Reserve Their Power Build People Into Better Problem Solvers
Today, we’re looking at another career situation where it can be extremely beneficial to strike the right balance between being Superman or Clark Kent — Job Interviews!
With the ‘great resignation’ gaining popularity, a lot of people are searching for their next dream job, making this topic more relevant than ever.
But whether you’re in the crew of explorers looking to make a big career change or you’re happily established with your current employer and just looking to sharpen your interview skills for upcoming annual review or promotion opportunities, I hope this blog will be of service to you.
“Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!
Yes, it’s Superman, strange visitor from another planet, who came to earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. Superman, who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel with his bare hands, and who, disguised as Clark Kent, mild-mannered reporter for a great metropolitan newspaper fights a never-ending battle for truth, justice, and the American way.”
– Jackson Beck, Radio Narrator 1941
Superman is incredible at saving the day.
In fact, his abilities and accomplishments are so impressive that, if given the opportunity to speak about himself, there would never be a shortage of heroic and amazing stories to share!
You may not be faster than a speeding bullet, but I’ll bet you have some pretty amazing attributes, too— and it’s only natural to want to share those in a job interview.
That’s why, a lot of times when we interview, our first instinct is to show up like Superman.
The Superman Candidate focuses solely on painting a picture of their own greatness — relating countless stories of how they’ve saved the day in previous positions while emphasizing all the powers and abilities they can bring to the new opportunity they are interviewing for as well.
The Superman Candidate fills up the allotted time by bragging on their accomplishments in an effort to convince the interviewer they are the perfect fit for the role.
The Superman Candidate seemingly has all the right answers to every question the interviewer asks…except perhaps the most important question of all:
“Do you have any questions for me?”
The Superman Candidate spends so much time pitching themselves to the interviewer that they have a hard time switching back over to the Clark Kent, curious reporter mode, neglecting a pivotal piece of the interview.
As a result, Superman Candidates miss the opportunity to gather vital information for themselves about the role, company, coworkers, or leadership — questions that not only show genuine interest in the company you are interviewing for, but may also provide you with better insight about the place you’re hoping to work for.
You are, after all, trying to determine if it’s going to be a good fit for you too.
By asking the right questions, not only can you learn a lot about a company’s culture, you can also help them learn even more about you.
Why You Should Ask Your Interviewer More Thought Provoking Questions
The Superman Candidate is often good at answering the questions that are served up to them and convincing interviewers they are a ‘good fit,’ but seldom do Superman Candidates utilize the power of questioning to uncover additional pain points a company is experiencing.
This is where being more like Clark Kent, the curious reporter, puts more power and strategy in your hands.
Ahead of the interview, it’s important to take an inventory of the skills and experiences you have and compare them to areas within the organization that you could possibly contribute to.
How can you learn about areas in the company where there may be needs? As Clark Kent, an investigative journalist, do your homework!
Read through the company’s website, learn about their competitors, understand how they differentiate from their competitors, catch up on their social media posts, and view videos they have produced. Make every effort to get all of the details of the company’s story. Listen. Take notes. Ask probing questions. Get the scoop from every angle, every witness.
After doing your homework to better understand the needs of the company, determine how your qualifications might be an asset in those areas and put some thought into reverse-engineering some questions of your own for the interviewer.
Go into the interview prepared to ask strategic questions — questions designed to uncover hidden pain points they may be experiencing. This opens the door for you to highlight ways that your unique abilities and experience can contribute to solutions the company needs most.
Using your Clark Kent keen reporter skills will reveal more to you about the inner workings of the company and what they may be missing. It will give you the opportunity to show you have more to offer than just what’s written in the job description — setting you apart from the crowd of other applicants.
Candidates Who Ask Questions In Interviews Show Leadership Skills
If we’ve learned anything from Netflix and Blockbuster, it’s that companies who are inquisitive and innovative are the ones who will either go big or go away. But a company can’t be inquisitive and innovative without people who are.
By asking strategic questions, you demonstrate that you’ve given in-depth thought to the current state of the company you’re applying for and that you have an honest and thoughtful curiosity about the future of the company.
This is the first authentic glimpse into how you will be a positive leader in that company.
They get to see you in practice, approaching a subject with preparation, and demonstrating (much like in the previous blog: Leaders Who Reserve Their Power Build People Into Better Problem Solvers ) that you are interested in evaluating a situation from multiple angles before making a decision.
I love Superman. I love that he represents hope. I love that he is someone who can swoop in and save the day against all odds.
But Superman knows that he shouldn’t be Superman all the time.
When interviewing for a job it’s important to be wise in choosing the moments to be Superman and when to be Clark Kent.
A great leader has the power to save the day and the wisdom to know when to not use it.
#1 Best Selling Author of Empowering Kindness – Purchase on Amazon!
Inspirational Speaker: Leading with Kindness – Book Nathan to Speak!
Nathan is an inspirational leadership speaker laser-focused on the need to lead with kindness.
He is an accomplished keynote speaker, executive speaker coach, and bestselling author. He has been a marketing leader in the technology world for over 10 years and has experience as a theater director, educator, and entertainment manager.
Nathan is married with four children. He has a love for theme parks, the Smoky Mountains, hockey, comic books, and sushi.