Much can be learned by observing how dolphins feed:
- First, dolphins hunt in packs.
- Dolphin groups, or pods, will herd a school of fish into a dense crowd-known as a bait ball-before attacking. If oceans were boxes, this tactic would be the equivalent of driving someone into a corner. Atlantic bottlenose dolphins actually do drive their fish prey into mud banks.
- Dolphins use clicking sounds known as echolocation. This is the sophisticated animal version of sonar.
- Dolphins may eat plenty of fish, but they don’t chew any of them. A dolphin’s teeth are structured to catch darting, oily fish that are then gulped down whole.
Modern companies prize teamwork as never before. They want team players because that’s how companies work. It’s no surprise they interview candidates the way dolphins hunt:
- The do multiple interviews. An interview will be with a person’s prospective boss, generally with some probable peers, and sometimes even with a subordinate. In an intense way, the interviewers will bombard a candidate with a barrage of questions. They will often pose leading questions and dangle enticing open-ended statements just to see where a candidate will go.
- A group always has a better chance of pinning someone down than an individual does. For a candidate, a corner is often an inconsistency. Don’t, for example, explain a hole in your résumé one way to one interviewer and offer a whole different spin to a second. Let’s say you extol team play to the human resources director and boast about being a personal performer to the sales manager. Are they getting Jekyll or Hyde, or both in one, which-as we know- can be far worse?
- Corporate culture is the recognition point of corporations. It’s the same shared values that allow the various managers to communicate with each other about their kind of company, people, decision making, teamwork, competitive spirit, approach to innovation, etc. A candidate needs to know everything about a firm’s culture before an interview takes place.
- Dolphins swallow fish whole, and it;s your job not to be breakfast. In fact, your mission is to persuade your interviewers that you are a smart, spirited dolphin, not a flashy herring, a slippery eel, or a run-of-the-mill cod.
Mackay’s Moral: In the job market, you’re never the solution to the puzzle if they can’t connect the dots.
My book “Use Your Head To Get Your Foot In The Door” is filled with more job search tips and job hunting tips that I personally guarantee will get you a job.