Job Search? Don’t Let a Bad Attitude Screw You Up

A Critical Attitude toward Yourself Can Turn Other People Off

Here’s an example of bad attitude toward yourself:

I recently worked with a new job interview client—let’s call her Gina—who’s done some interesting short-term jobs, but doesn’t know what her future career should look like.

Normally, we’d spend our 1:1 session time identifying options and possibilities for her. We would explore things like,

  • What kind of work is a “good fit” (what tasks does she like and not like to do?)
  • What work environment motivates her to do her best (kind colleagues? relentless competition? lots of room to try new things? a high degree of structure?)
  • What are her non-negotiable lifestyle demands (a particular salary or title? flexible hours? tuition reimbursement?)

These are all good things to know, but Gina and I didn’t get to any of them.

Why? Because her critical attitude toward herself was such a turn-off that we spent our time addressing that.

Gina repeatedly said things like,

I’m not qualified for this job.

I don’t know what to say to them (about a particular question).

I’m not very good at (a particular task).

I don’t see why they would want to hire me.

Don’t Let Even a Mildly Bad Attitude Sneak Into Your Interview

Admittedly, Gina’s self-critical attitude is extreme. But lots of people undermine themselves in a more “subtle” way by sounding negative, or by indicating that they’re really not the best choice for a particular job.

Have you ever, for example, told an interviewer that,

I don’t meet all of the qualifications you’re looking for.

I haven’t kept up to date on (a particular skill).

I’ve never done (a particular task or function).

I guess I could learn how to do that.

Mealy-mouthed comments like these are no way to win the hearts and minds of interviewers (and you need to do that).

In fact, these “mildly” negative comments just give interviewers an excuse to eliminate you—the one thing you don’t want to do in a job interview!

To Banish a Bad Attitude, Reframe and Rephrase

If you don’t meet all of the qualifications…if you’re not as up-to-date on certain skills as you would like…or if the job involves something that’s outside your experience, there are ways to acknowledge these facts without undermining your candidacy.

The basic idea is: Maintain an upbeat, friendly, self-confident attitude, even when discussing something that you might find uncomfortable.

To do this, practice feeling like your best public speaking self (the one with the good attitude).

And, as examples of what your best public speaking self might say, here are some “corporate-speak” translations of the self-critical comments above:

Instead of saying

I don’t meet all of the qualifications you’re looking for.

Try saying:

I have the background you’re looking for, from my past jobs, and from other life experiences.

Instead of saying

I haven’t kept up to date on (a particular skill).

Try saying:

I used to be a whiz at X, and I’m looking forward to refreshing those skills.

Instead of saying

I’ve never done (a particular task or function).

Try saying:

You know, I’ve always wanted to do X. Will you provide training, or give me time to learn it on my own?

Instead of saying

I guess I could learn how to do that.

Try saying:

I’m a fast learner, and I’ll get up to speed quickly.

You get the point! If you banish your self-critical attitude, you can make the exact same points in an upbeat, enthusiastic way.

Your confidence will be persuasive, and your chance of getting a job that you want will grow!

And Remember…

The job market is particularly strong these days. Many employers are desperate to hire, and—since the pandemic has shaken so many things up—there may never be a better time to go after jobs that you’re not quite “qualified for,” but know that you could easily learn to do well.

From his success on the sales floor of an automotive dealership  to becoming a veteran trainer and then the adoption of technology for Internet-based marketing, his career has evolved to deliver the skills and tools needed to help consumers. Richie Bello combined his automotive expertise with his robust desire to “take care of the customer first” to become an automotive influencer, published author, and renowned trainer.  Bello absorbed the wants and needs of consumers as he worked up the ladder of the automotive industry.

Over the thirty-five years of his career, he developed strong Internet marketing skills, leading him to developing software solutions that create ease for consumers, and helps dealers improve relationships with customers. Innovation drives success. And, for Bello, it’s in his DNA. took years to come to consumers and arrived in a timely manner, during the 2020 Pandemic. With over 6 million vehicles on the site, features that help consumers deliver, finance and warranty, Bello has met the retail digital age head on.

Bello also is founder of Richie Bello Institute of Leadership and Management, a 501C3 not for profit, dedicated to the recruitment, education and employment of veterans into the automotive industry. Visit


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