Is Accepting Praise Part of Getting Hired?
You’re in the middle of your second interview. You’re feeling positive about things, but the job isn’t yours yet. The interviewer mentions some high, difficult goal you achieved in a previous position. Instead of saying thank you, or giving more background on you resolved the issue, your response is to treat it like it’s no big deal: “Oh, it was nothing…”.
What you just did was completely undermine your ability in the interviewers eyes. Instead of taking the win, you’ve more or less gone on the defensive, arguing that no, this incredible thing that we’re insanely proud of having achieved is not, in reality, anything worth celebrating.
You’re not only dissing your own accomplishments, you’re more or less calling the interviewer an idiot for thinking what you did was worth mentioning. Not a great way to get hired.
Receiving acknowledgement and praise for our accomplishments is a normal—and important part—of any career. Most of us understand that in theory. But here’s the problem: while it may make us feel warm and fuzzy on the inside when our work is complimented, it can make us embarrassed or uncomfortable on the outside. Unfortunately, it is the outside that people see: they take their cues from our outward actions, and respond accordingly.
Too many people tend to downplay any praise of our accomplishments. But dismissing positive feedback can negatively affect your career. Again, people take their cues from your reactions: if you treat your achievements like they’re no big deal, your employer and co-workers may be inclined to believe you. That means similar future “wins” are likely to be even less impressive: you’ll need to accomplish more just to receive the praise you’re getting now.
A recent post in CNN Business pointed out that how we receive praise can be as influential to our careers as what we did to earn that praise in the first place.
The post quoted Rebecca Aced-Molina, a coach and consultant who works with leaders to build their confidence and purpose: “Giving and receiving feedback is one of the most essential skills for creating trust and meaningful relationships at work, but it’s one of the hardest things we as human beings have to tackle.”
Take a look at a list (like this one or this one) of successful people, and you will find individuals who work hard, fight for their ideals, and make sacrifices to succeed. What you won’t find is people downplaying their accomplishments. Nor are they apt to dismiss the work of others, if such work contributed to their success.
Consider this: how many times have you ever looked at something someone else has done and offered up an insincere compliment? Sure, we may tell a child his stick drawing is art; if asked, we may tell an acquaintance that her Mumu doesn’t make her look fat. But have you ever looked at someone’s admirable accomplishment and lied that it was better than it was? What’s the point of that?
The simple truth is, if someone compliments you on something you’ve done, they’re usually being honest. This dynamic is even amplified in a job interview. So when given an accolade, embrace the praise with grace and confidence. Believe it, appreciate it, and take it for what it is: a verbal pat on the back. You did a good job, and someone noticed… and in an interview situations, that means you scored a few points. Smile, say thank you, and take the win.