Make Them Afraid Not to Hire You
Vic Napier
September 2010

In May of 1994 Ron Howard was interviewed by Warren Kalbacker for Playboy magazine. Howard, of course, has produced some of the most popular films of our generation. During the interview Howard talked at length about how movie deals are negotiated in Hollywood. At one point he said something quite interesting that I didn’t at first understand. He said that when pitching a deal “you have to make the other guy afraid to say ‘no’”.

At first I thought he was talking about making threats or intimating the people he was negotiating with, but after thinking about it I understood what he meant. He was trying to say that he makes his movie projects so attractive that investors would be afraid to pass the deal up.

Job hunters should think about doing the same thing – make the prospective employer afraid to pass on you because you are such a hot property.

But how to do that?

First you’ve got to accept the fact that the days of long term guaranteed employment are ending, and that you will probably have many jobs in your lifetime. Each job is an opportunity for you to gain skills and experience that will make your career path burn a little brighter than it did previously. For that to happen, though, you have to have a very clear idea of where you want your career to go, and constantly choose the best way to get there.

This seems like it should be easy, but picking a job title you want when you are 40 or 50 is very difficult when you are 20 or 30. Ron Howard had a solid vision of himself directing and producing movies in the 21st century when he was still Opie on the Andy Griffith Show in the 1960’s. That’s highly unusual. Most of us bounce around from job to job as young adults because we’re not quite sure how we want to spend our lives. Babies and mortgages dictate the course of our careers to a much greater degree than vision and long term planning.

But it’s never too late to take charge of your career.

One of the quickest and most economical ways to get in touch with your God given traits and fundamental passions is through online vocational and personality assessments. There are plenty of them on the internet, but only a few are really worth the time and effort. I can vouch for MAPP Assessments, which is why I feature their link on my website. I have reviewed the validity and reliability data of their surveys and guarantee they are based on real science. (Disclosure: Accessing MAPP Assessments from my website helps defray costs of operation.)

Taking these kinds of assessments will help you recognize what you are good at doing, and work settings that fit your personality best. Be prepared for surprising insights, though. For example, I always thought I was bad at math, but I discovered that what I’m really bad at is adding up rows and columns of numbers for no discernable reason. The MAPP Assessment shows that I need a high level of intellectual stimulation and get bored and frustrated with the endless addition and multiplication drills I was forced to do in fourth grade. It’s not math, but tedium that drives me crazy.

Once I found out that the problem was not an inability to do math, but rather a low tolerance for repetition I realized that graduate level statistics was something I can tackle. (And I did!) Now I know not to pursue opportunities that involve tedium or repetition, and that I do much better with constantly changing challenges. Not everyone has that ability.

So aim high. Take the MAPP and discover the specific skills and traits you have been blessed with. There may be more opportunities available to you than you realize. Things that might seem like roadblocks might just be masking other things that are advantages. Things that might make employers “afraid to say no”.


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