I must admit, being a New England fan, I don't necessarily follow the Miami Heat (except when they are playing the Celtics).  However, the media does.  Every win gets media attention and every loss gets even more.  When the early March losing streak unfolded, the media response reminded me of many initial reactions when the news broke about James, Wade and Bosh all playing on one team.  Some speculated that this would be the team to beat and they would walk away with the championship.  Others wondered if these three superstar players would be able to leave their egos at the door and play together unselfishly as a team.

While the Heat and the "Big Three" were able to survive their first post-season test over the weekend, the question still remains whether they have been able to find the necessary chemistry for success and if they will ultimately silence the critics. 

As I look to this topic for inspiration, it does speak to me about the difference between playing with your heart versus your ego.  Let’s talk about how this concept can be translated into the job or internship search with three situations that commonly occur.

SITUATION #1: You really (and I mean really) want the position and are determined to go all-out in order to get it.

EGO:  Sometimes super-egos rear their ugly head when an athlete is nervous or anxious.  I have seen many times in the past where a candidate appears to have a bigger head than what could fit through a doorway – but upon deeper digging I have learned that they are just pretty nervous about the situation and/or getting the position.

HEART:  If you feel this happening to you, prepare for the interview as well as you can.  Practice interviewing (most career centers will offer this service), research the company and its competitors, and put in the necessary amount of time to be ready for the interview.  Remember that you are ALWAYS being interviewed during every single interaction with the employer so be on your game.  You want to let your passion for the employer and the position shine through without letting your nerves (and super-ego) take over.

SITUATION #2: It appears that the job description was written specifically for you.

EGO:  Just because the position description exactly matches your skill set and prior experiences does not mean that you will be handed the job.  The interview process involves two things: 1) Do you have the necessary skills and abilities to do the job?, and 2) Do you fit in with the company’s culture?  You could have the perfect background, but like in sports, if you do not gel with the team, you might not be selected.

HEART:  When your past experiences are clear on your resume and you can speak to them professionally, employers will easily see that you are qualified for the position.  Be aware of any learning curves that may exist (you haven’t worked for this company yet, and there are many things that you still do not know—even if you have done this specific job before).  In this case, keep in mind that your interactions with everyone throughout the interview must convey that you fit in with the team, as well as have the necessary skills for the position.

SITUATION #3: You have an insider at the company who told you they could easily get you an interview.

EGO: Even if the CEO pulls some strings and gets you that first interview, YOU still have to interview for the position.  If you interact with people like the position is all yours from the start, you are not only alienating possible future colleagues, you could also be shooting yourself in the foot and lose out on the opportunity that was given to you.  The person who helped you get the interview has his/her reputation on the line and how you behave will reflect upon them.

HEART: The better approach is to do the best you possibly can throughout the process—even if you have the connection advantage.  Research the company and put in prep time just as if you didn’t know anyone at the company.  Treat each person with respect and be sure to appreciate and thank everyone who helps you along the way.

One should have confidence heading into any interview process.  However, egos can grow large pretty quickly and one needs to keep them in check.  Be confident and prepare as you would for any game.  We all know what happens when athletes think that the game is already in the bag—and then they forget to actually play the game… they lose.  The same thing can happen during the interview process for jobs or internships.