If you’ve ever been one of those people who thought, “How did they get that job?” then you should know that there are plenty of variables at play and that you, too, can get the job. Yes, it takes skill and experience, but there’s also a certain je ne sais quoi to it all. Charisma, honesty, vulnerability and resilience and it-factor all factor into someone getting a job — or the job.
Sometimes the perfect candidate on paper can be, well, underwhelming — while the not-so-perfect candidate walks into the room with a vulnerable charisma or a hungriness that others just don’t have or display.
Here are 15 times someone landed the job, and why.
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1. They showed humanity & vulnerability.
“Finally, be your fucking self. I don’t mean show up in sweat pants and swear, but I mean get vulnerable. They asked me at my interview what I was proud of personally or professionally and I straight up told them the fact that I have diabetes and worked flying on weird schedules, eating with clients at odd times and having to manage everything on top of my job made me feel like I could do anything. Afterwards I wondered if I should have confided something so personal about my health, but being sincere means a lot, because people want to know that they’re seeing a piece of you if they’re going to trust you and work with you every day.” – Dallas, Construction
2. They displayed cool confidence.
“I practice my craft every single day and I make sure that people know that when I walk into the room. I say, ‘Listen, I take this seriously, and I want you to take me seriously.’” – Francesca, Dancer
3. They asked for exactly what they wanted.
“I ask for exactly what I want. I don’t bend. I say, ‘I want remote days and I need this salary.’ And when I tell people I need these things, I back it up by saying I woudn’t ask for it if I wasn’t confident it’d be a payoff for the company. I felt baller.” – Kristina, Account Manager
4. They really put LinkedIn to work.
“I am extremely anal retentive about my LinkedIn profile. I keep it updated, I add links to my status, I add people, write nice notes to could-be colleagues and I pay for Premium. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s worked for all my jobs. I spy on everyone who views my profile and then I contact them. It’s not creepy…it’s what it’s there for.” – Anna, Editor
5. They rocked an unforgettable statement piece.
“I wore a statement jacket to an interview. Instead of black or grey I wore orange! And they thought it as indicative of my charisma and creativity. It worked, obviously….” – Jenna, Account Manager
6. They were persistent despite people telling them to give up.
“Honestly? I feel like I just bugged them, even when friends said it ‘passed the mark’ or was time to ‘let go.’ I followed up and offered references when they didn’t ask and I called back when they said I should. It took a month of pestering them and then I was offered a role.” — Social Media Assistant
7. They invested dollar bills into their resume design.
“I paid – like a good amount – for a resume makeover. I don’t mess around with that stuff. I hate formatting stuff so I paid someone and it helped me land jobs. I don’t look like a mess on paper, so that’s good.” — Tiffany, Administrator
8. They were super convincing when odds seemed to work against them.
“I told them straight up that I didn’t have direct experience but that I had peripheral experience and I said, ‘If I could do that I could do this.’ I told them I liked money and wanted to make a lot of it for me and for the company.” — Ben, Sales
9. They were unabashedly REAL.
“I apologized for the stain on my shirt (from coffee) and said that it was SO unlike me to have a stain. They liked my honesty and that I didn’t just walk in there like a careless fool. They told me that was a good thing.” — Andrea, Receptionist
10. They were polished AF.
“I killed it on the edit test. If you get an edit test, you better be prepared to do everything perfectly.” — Val, Editor
11. They told the interviewer what was wrong with the company — and how they could fix it.
“I don’t know why anyone would come into an interview without one semi-bad thing to say about the company or questions for the hiring manager. I told them what I thought was a problem and told them how I could fix it and I think that was jarring and welcome to them. I was also on time. Be on time, really on time.” — John, Director of Accounts
12. They embraced quirkiness, instead of coming off too poised and polished.
“I remember at my last job interview I shared some weird tidbits about myself – something about my opinions on a TV show character. I think it showed some personality, but I remember it seeming weird. They later told me I was their most ‘colorful’ candidate, so I’m pretty sure that’s how I got the job.” — Alissa, Account Rep
13. They sent a gorgeous thank-you card.
“I don’t know when the ‘thank you’ card started going out of style because I swear by it. It’s the only thing that lets the employer know you’re for real about the job. Like, it’s just rude not to. I sent a paper card — an expensive one — with a handwritten note. That definitely got me a second interview and then a third… and the job, obviously.” — Dave, TV Producer
14. They shamelessly used their personal connections.
“I went through everyone successful that I knew and asked if they knew someone at all of the companies I wanted to work for. It worked. I got so many interviews that way.” — Sara, Journalist
15. They got actual, useful feedback from someone in the industry.
“People need to actually put time and effort into their resumes and cover letters if they want a job. Some serious riff raff comes through. TAKE THE TIME to have someone you know who works in a similar company or role to what you’re applying to give you feedback.” – Dallas, Construction