I recently heard speaker Joel Weldon encourage other speakers about the importance of the word “even.” It hit home with me, and I believe there are many other places in life where that word has power.

I think we all should use the word “even” in our vocabulary more often. Sprinkle it in the right place, and it will set you apart from others.

Too often over the years, I’ve watched job candidates make a colossal mistake during interviews. Their mistake is this: they’ve forgotten who their audience is.

Job candidates often believe the interview is about them. They think they’re on “stage” to share their wisdom, talk about their skills, gifts, and experiences. After all, they are the candidate. They want to impress. In their preparation, they’ve been advised to remember to highlight good things about themselves.

That’s true, but it’s better to focus on the audience. In an interview, the “audience” is the interviewer.

Surprisingly, interviewers care less about your knowledge and skills than you think.

They assume you know what you’re doing. What they want to know is whether they like you or want to work with you. They want to know if you’ll fit into their culture and can help them.

The focus should be on the interviewer and the organization he or she represents.

A typical interview question is, “Why should we hire you?” A typical response (more often implied than spoken) is, “I can fix your problems.”

If you position yourself as the savior —pointing out their problems and how they need you to fix them — how do you think that makes them feel?

Not very good. No one wants to think they can’t solve their own problems. No one wants to believe they need your help.

I’ve watched new leaders make the same mistake. They get so excited about the new job that they try to prove they’re the right leader. They try to impress their new team with their knowledge and experience.

But they go about it the wrong way — by talking way too much about themselves, their past experiences, and the problems they’ve solved. It’s clear they believe they can help fix the team’s problems.

How does that make the new team feel? Not very valued or competent.

Your goal should be to stay focused on others and how you can help them. “Do not be interested only in your own life, but be interested in the lives of others” (Philippians 2:4 NCV).

Now for each of those situations, include the word even and look at what it does. One little word changes it from being about you to being about them. It’s an affirming word, shifting the focus from how great you are to how great they are.

And so….

Be prepared the next time you’re asked, “Why should we hire you?”

The best response is something like, “Because I believe I can help this organization be even better.”

How do you think you’ll be received by those interviewing you? My guess is your response will set you apart because you affirmed them when they asked you to talk about yourself.

Which new leader will be accepted by their new team?

  • One who spends time telling the new team how experienced they are? How they can help the team solve problems? Or….
  • One who spends their time affirming others and asking how they can help the team perform even better?

My guess is the leader who wants to help their team be even better will be accepted more quickly. What do you think?

Begin thinking about where you can use the word “even” to enhance others. Just remember your audience and begin to sprinkle a little of the word “even” into your vocabulary.

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