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Why Antonio Got Hired and Dan Didn't

Unless you're an HGTV geek like I am, you don't know that Antonio and Dan were the finalists on HGTV's Design Star competition last weekend. Antonio won, which means he'll be the host of his own design show next season. And Dan, who was arguably the better designer, got the hook. It was yet another reminder that getting hired is not always a matter of having the best qualifications, especially when the judges (hiring managers) have several great candidates to choose from.

Most hiring managers would probably agree that making a good hire requires finding the right mix of experience, education, skills, and personality. And it's often the personal qualities that turn out to be the most important.

Here's how the Design Star finalists stacked up:Antonio

Antonio is heavily tattooed, wears horn-rim glasses, and is not classically handsome (though he's got a little sup'm, sup'm going on, if you know what I mean). He's rough, gruff, bearded, and a little grungy, and has no formal design education. He's also 40 years old and still wears hightop sneakers. He is not cut from the typical HGTV designer cloth.
 Dan

Dan, 27, is physically perfect. Perfect hair, body, clothes, teeth. He's super sweet, with an open, enthusiastic, and friendly personality. At 27, with an architecture degree, he's much more what you'd expect in a design show host, and initially seemed like a shoo-in.

In most jobs, being similar to the existing team is a good thing. Yet Antonio is not like any of the other designers on HGTV.

The lesson? Every job opportunity comes with its own set of circumstances and its own definition of the ideal candidate. The very things that get you rejected for one opportunity may get you hired in the next.

Let's face it: You won’t be invited for an interview unless they're fairly certain from your resume and cover letter that you could do the job adequately. Therefore, your interviewers will be focusing more on your personality, work style, work ethic, and attitude than on your past experience or education.

So learn the rules of a successful job search, but apply them in a way that feels comfortable for you. Trust your gut. Stay true to your ideals. Be yourself (within professional boundaries), and know that eventually you'll be the right candidate in the right place at the right time.

How about you? Have you ever been hired for a job that you seemed all wrong for? If not, feel free to dish about Dan or Antonio!

RELATED LINKS
Job Search Lessons I Learned on HGTV
You're Qualified, But Do They Like You?
Career Advice, Brought to You by American Idol

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