Episteme

Mike's random thoughts and ramblings

Purple Cows and Utter Silliness

Over at JibberJobber, Jason had a great post about interviewing and being creative. From the post:

"If you just can’t get over that urge, and feel you need to break the mold and say something “impressively different,” do yourself a favor and DON’T. If you are tired of politicians constantly jabbing eachother, don’t you think that interviewers get tired of someone trying to be cute or clever? Sure, be clever, but know your boundaries. And don’t do anything that will distract!" (emphasis in the original)

What I find most interesting about this that it seems to fly in the face of what we are most told when learning how to interview - that the goal is to stand out, differentiate, be memorable, etc.

Strangely, both are true. To paraphrase an old joke, there's a fine line between being a flashy dresser and dressing like you're in a 70's disco bar. And you need to know where you lie on that line between being a Purple Cow and absolute, utter silliness.

Unfortunately, I don't think that most people make the mistake of distracting - most of us are too afraid of standing out in a crowd to take the chances that really differentiate us from the majority of the group. That's why Seth Godin has such useful advice - most people are so afraid to look silly that they forget to try to stand out often enough.

I'd rather see someone blow an interview once in a while by being a bit distracting than permanently fail to get noticed because they were too afraid to really show their own true colors (especially if that color is Purple).

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Michael Murray

Michael Murray