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You say that to all the [fill-in-the-blank]


Robby

You’ve seen this happen in movies and TV a zillion times. A male character compliments a female character, to which she replies, “I bet you say that to all the girls.”

It’s a trope. It’s a groaner. It’s filler dialogue. But it doesn’t just happen on the silver screen—I’ve seen jobseekers do it over and over again.

Watching TV
© Flickr User Paul Townsend

If you’re a television buff, head over to TV Tropes for an explanation of Dismissing a Compliment. But in any case, here’s what this sounds like when someone looking for work is at a networking event or a career fair:

Jobseeker: I hear your company is a great place to work!
Representative: Uh, yeah. Thanks.

Jobseeker: It would be a honor to get an interview!
Representative: Uh, yeah. Thanks.

Jobseeker: I don’t know if you’re interested in someone like me.
Representative: Uh, yeah. Thanks.

Why should’t you say something that blithely shows adoration for a company when you’re looking for work? I’ve got three reasons.

Vague Compliments are Hard to Process

We’re not particularly good as a society at dealing with people saying nice things to us. It’s even worse when we are being praised in a way that’s non-specific.

If you tell someone they look nice, they can’t say much but “thank you.” And for many people, that seems awkward.

If you tell someone you like their shoes, they can at least tell you where they got them.

Therefore, instead of saying “I’d love to work for ABC Incorporated!” try saying “I’ve heard ABC Incorporated has an innovative employee mentoring program; can you tell me about it?”

Compliments are Often Self-Deprecating

If you want a job with a company, then you shouldn’t put that firm on a pedestal. Instead, you need to see if their talents and needs are well matched with your talents and needs. You’re not interviewing to be a loyal subject of a king, but rather to join a team and play a critical role.

Not all compliments put ourselves down, but they often do. Avoid saying them if you don’t mean them!

Everyone Else is Doing It

If I’ve heard jobseekers drop these phrases countless times, then that means it’s a popular technique. And if there’s one thing you should not do it’s what everyone else is doing.

Set yourself apart by being different. Don’t blindly say the same things you hear all the time.

Watch out for flattery, whether it comes from your own mouth or those around you. Real conversations are more about ideas than generic praise.

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About the Blogger: Robby Slaughter is a productivity speaker and expert. He is a principal with a AccelaWork, an Indianapolis consulting firm.

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Tue, September 8 2015 » Career Planning and Goal Setting, Self Development, Success Consciousness

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