What I learned interviewing 1,000 job candidates and tips to getting hired

I hire people or advise clients on hiring people every day. One of my businesses is a recruiting and hiring agency where we are contracted to find the best possible candidates for various jobs.

For over 12 years, I’ve interviewed over 1,000 job candidates for startups, small businesses, Fortune 500 companies, government departments and non profits.

I’ve learned what types of core attributes employers are constantly looking for – and I’ve learned first hand how you can change these small thought processes to nail your next job interview.

In the end, like most things in business, it’s a lot more simple than you would think.

When it comes down to it, employers tend to seek a few core  qualities in any interview – some are so obvious they go unaddressed often. Worse, some articles talk about doing the opposite.

Here’s what I learned during my decade plus of interviewing and hiring job candidates.

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Why immigrants will always be more successful than you

People area always complaining how hard it is to get out of poverty if you’re born poor. I get it. I’ve been there. But why is it that the worst offenders are American born, English speaking, able-bodied white people?

Being an immigrant myself, born in the poorest slums of Chicago, I clawed my way out of poverty and by most people’s standards, I’m now a successful entrepreneur living the American dream.

But I never considered being “poor” as a handicap like so many people do.

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Confident and successful is quiet. Insecure and unsuccessful is loud.

There is a quote from one of my favorite movies – American Gangster – when Denzel Washinton’s character gives some solid advice to his flashy brother. He says the loudest person in the room is the weakest person in the room.”

We all know that guy. When he is clearly jealous about something someone has or accomplished, he’s he first one to shoot him or his successes down. He’s seething with jealousy and envy – rather than working to succeed himself, it makes him feel better in the short term to put that person down. It’s the same reason people say the guy in the red Ferrari is compensating for something.

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Greed is the only reason to support minimum wage

Minimum wage is another one of those government “solutions” that forces the economy to behave in unnatural ways – causing more problems than it fixes.

People earn what they’re worth. They aren’t entitled to anything more or anything less than the value they provide to the economy. There should be no artificial magic system that forces Jane to be paid more than Jill, completely ignoring everything about that person and their background.

People who complain about the minimum wage is nonsense. It makes as much as sense as me complaining that you aren’t giving me money.

Minimum wage is a socialist idea that pretty much argues that if Jane is a fry cook at McDonald’s, she’s entitled to a minimum salary regardless of how much it costs McDonald’s to hire/maintain her job. Minimum wage ignores what it costs to keep that job alive. It ignores why that job exists. It ignores the return-on-investment for McDonald’s – and forces McDonald’s to pay Jane $20 an hour instead of $8 an hour.

It doesn’t matter if every other fry cook at Wendy’s or Burger King makes $8 an hour. It doesn’t matter if McDonald’s earns $20 per hour from an employee that it pays $8 an hour.

Every job has a level of importance in the company or organization that provides that job. There are low level, low paid positions, mid-level positions and high level positions. The easier and less qualified you have to be to do a job, it demands less pay.

That’s why it makes complete sense that the CEO of McDonald’s earns more than a fry cook at McDonald’s. The job of the CEO is more difficult and much more important – the CEO’s work results in more money being made for the company, while the fry cook’s does not.

People argue the CEO is greedy and overpaid. Maybe. But if the CEO decided to leave, other companies would pay him or her as much or even more. That’s because that’s what they are worth in the marketplace.

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You should be embarrassed if you’re an adult mooching off your parents

If you consider yourself an adult, it doesn’t matter what you think you’ve accomplished – if you get a penny from your parents, you’re still a child. Period.

My wife’s best friend hasn’t worked a day in her life. Let’s call her Lisa. Lisa gets to enjoy all the fruits of labor that a normal, working adult earned, without having earned it. The worst part – she thinks she earned it.

She mooches off her parents but she doesn’t think she’s mooching. She says stupid things like “Oh what else are they going to spend their money on” and truly believes she’s getting what she deserves. She even has the balls to call other people moochers.

Lisa looks at my wife, who works a full time job, commutes to work, manages deadlines – and sees herself no different – because Lisa has all the same things my wife has. Earning them is irrelevant. She thinks having those same things make ls her equal. As smart as she thinks she is, she’s not very bright – obviously.

This is the worst kind of spoiled – justified spoilage. A mooch who thinks she’s not a moocher.

Lisa has a nice apartment, new car and vacations twice a year. Her parents finance her life. She’s 35 years old – that’s not a typo – she’s in her mid thirties…and oblivious to the fact that her lifestyle is something 99.9% of people work hard to achieve. Since she has all these things given to her for free, she fancies herself an accomplished adult that deserves everything she has. She has no job and no ambitions but she thinks she’s an adult.

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Women choose to earn less than men

There is no wage gap among women and men. It’s a myth. Women aren’t paid unfairly just because they’re women – that’s just not true so stop believing it.

You’ve heard the deceiving statistic that women earn 77 cent for ever dollar a man earns.

The actual statistic is accurate but it leaves out a critical detail as to why this gap exists. It’s not because employers are sexist and pay women less simply for being a woman. It’s actually because women choose lower paying jobs to work in.

Men gravitate towards jobs such as engineering, science and finance – and those jobs are more valuable to the economy hence the pay associated with these jobs tend to be higher.

Women tend to prefer jobs that are more nurturing in nature such as teaching, social work and nursing.

You can argue these jobs are more important for humanity – which I tend to agree with. But economically speaking, they are less valuable and therefore, a teacher typically earns less than an engineer. A social worker earns less than an investment banker.

Statistically, this is the true reason that women earn less than men. It’s not a conspiracy or a flaw in the system – it’s quite simply that women choose lower paying careers than men.

If men chose these types of careers and women didn’t, men would earn 77 cents on average, for every dollar earned by a woman. It works both ways.

So let’s squash that argument right there. The more important fact that people tend to misunderstand is the simple fact that some jobs are more important than others – and in turn, select people are more valuable economically than others – the pay difference is simply a reflection of your worth to the marketplace and has nothing to do with your gender, race or whatever else you’ve been made to believe.

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School doesn’t prepare you for the real world

School paints a false reality of the real world. Not only is this “reality” completely wrong, but worse, they convince students the real world is most definitely going to be the way they say it is. Students, having never yet lived in the real world, naturally believe it to be accurate. But, of course the real world is nothing like way schools describe it.

instead of simply peddling a false sense of the “real world,” they take it a step further and convince students that this “real world” they describe is exactly what students should anticipate once they leave academia. They paint it as a magical place where jobs are plentiful and available to anyone who gets a good degree and follows the rules.

So not only do students get a false perception of how the real world works, but they are forced to believe that the schools version of reality is absolutely true. It’s not just moronic and irresponsible, it’s deceptive and malicious because after leaving school, students continue to search for thisnversion of the “real world” painted in their heads by the school system – a reality that doesn’t exist.

The result is not just students when are shocked and surprised by what the real world is actually like, but they go into denial, refusing the accept the real world entirely and waiting for their version of the real world – filled with promises of a bright future – to materialize.

Its not that schools don’t tell students Santa Claus doesn’t exist. They tell students that Santa really definitely exists, and tells them they should search and wait for him to appear because he’s absolutely real. It’s incredibly dangerous and explains, in part, why recent graduates are so dillusional and unrealistic about what to expect as an adult.

Their value to the economy, their perceived skills and knowledge, are said to be absolute and “special” in this fantasy world instilled into them by every teacher, professor and guidance counselor they’ve ever encountered.

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Poor people choose to be poor

There’s a persistent myth that people seem to cling onto like religion.

Poor people tend to lump their poverty into the same category as their race and gender. Meaning that if you are born poor or come from poor family, that being poor almost is a birth right. They believe being born poor or currently being poor is impossible to change – no different from changing your gender or race.

The fact is, poor people choose to be poor. Broke people choose to be broke. Financially stupid people choose to be financially stupid. They choose it from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to bed, every single day. For the vast majority of people, they choose to be poor. It’s as simple as that.

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