From a short list of candidates, I highlighted a stand-out candidate from Boehringer Ingelheim who had strong respiratory experience and had conducted a widely recognized, successful product launch, which had led to strong sales. After meeting him at the Tokyo Dome Hotel, I left thinking this was a lay-down mesire, a done deal.Two weeks later, the director met the candidate. During our weekly conference call the next day, I asked with confidence in the director’s response: “How was the meeting?”After a deafening pause, he chuckled.

Good Lord! I thought. What had happened?

“Great candidate?” I probed for more information.

“Well, he certainly was confident,” the director said. “If he achieved all he said by himself, he would be superhuman and a marketing genius.”

The director described the interview as friendly and cordial. The candidate outlined a grand list of achievements, successful product launches, and sales targets met.

This sounded better. I began to smile. “Wonderful,” I interrupted. “Let’s move forward. Who you would like him to meet next?”

The director sighed. “I think I’ll pass. No one is that good,” he said. “I look forward to seeing other candidates. Let’s talk soon.”

After the call, I sat at my desk, still holding my phone, feeling as if I had been hit by a bus. How did it all go so wrong?

I soon realized that the candidate had spoken only of himself. He didn’t share the credit. He didn’t praise his team — he only spoke about what he had accomplished.

He should have expressed how fortunate he was to work for a company that sold top products and had a long history of working with key medical doctors in the respiratory field. He could achieve great results because he stood on the shoulders of marketers past. He should have displayed gratitude that the company had let him work in Germany and offered numerous career opportunities. Undoubtedly, the candidate was talented and arguably one of the best in the market. However, he didn’t give credit where it was due and so was passed over as a candidate.

It might seem counterintuitive, but as job candidates emphasize their accomplishments, it’s best to share the love! If this candidate had praised his team and complimented his employer, he could have demonstrated his leadership ability.

I always remind my candidates to “share the love.” Job candidates who do end up looking like stars.

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