How to tell apart amateurs from the ones that know what they’re doing (Blog #43)

amateur vs professional

There I was between job #5 and #6 and I scored an interview with a local university that I was pretty excited about. Ever since completing my uni degrees I somehow thought it’d be great to work for a university. Kind of like my chance to give back. I know, old-school thinking, but this was me about 8 years ago now.

After getting that call for the interview, I remember I instantly started to feel nervous. The interview was with one of the more prestigious universities and I straight away thought, maybe I’m not good enough.

Yep, those tragic thoughts of self-doubt entered my head and in my attempt to try and overcome them I thought, I really have to try and come across as qualified as possible, as knowledgeable as possible as “marketing expert” as possible. In other words, I was going to try and appear as perfect as possible.

A mistake that only an amateur makes.

And as a result, the interview ended up looking like this…

The interviewer: “So, Mimoza, if you had a chance to have dinner with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?”

I was so focused on trying to appear like I was crazy about marketing that I thought I could only talk about marketing people and when I couldn’t come up with a marketing expert’s name I just ended up saying, “A successful marketing expert out there.” (Yep great answer, NOT!)

And the interviewer gave me another chance, “Really, no one else?” And I still couldn’t come up with anything better.

And in my attempt to appear really organised, although I can’t remember exactly what I said, I believe I somehow left the impression that I was suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder badly. I still remember vividly them saying that they could picture my pantry being alphabetically organised (but it wasn’t, not even close).

Was it surprising that the comment they came back to me with was, “I don’t think you’ll be a right fit for the team”?

Definitely not.

In my attempt to appear perfect I came across as, one, completely weird and, two, like a complete amateur.

Blog Tip #43 – How can you tell the amateurs apart from the people that really know what they’re doing?


The amateurs will try and come across as perfect and show no signs of weakness or insecurity.

The people that know what they’re doing will say with confidence what they know how to do and what they don’t know how to do. 

What did you think about blog post #43?

Have you got any similar interview stories? Ones where because you were trying too hard you never gave them a chance to see the real you. Tell me about it by leaving a comment below.

If you have any friends or colleagues that would benefit from this blog post – please share it!

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I’ll see you next week.


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