From a narcissistic genius with specialized armory to a former special agent with a propensity for a bow and arrow, a slew of career-related guidance can be derived from the Avengers universe. Recruiting and building a team of gifted individuals is not only an arduous task, but it requires the same level of persistence that Nick Fury displayed throughout each movie. From the candidate perspective, you may not be a shield-wielding super soldier like Captain America, but mimicking his behaviors can easily propel you to the next level of your career. Here are some occupational pointers courtesy of Marvel's The Avengers.
Deceitful Resumes Beware
With espionage and interrogation as her underlying skill sets, Black Widow is well-acquainted with the art of lying, falsifying her past on more than one occasion. While it may be extremely tempting to inflate your work history, the long-term repercussions of navigating down this path could cost you the role you’re vying for. Not only can your dishonesty be unveiled by reference checks or social profiles like LinkedIn, but if you land a new position after exaggerating your skills, you may be given projects that you are not qualified to complete. There’s nothing more daunting then arriving at a new job and feeling like your new manager is speaking to you in a foreign language.
Harmony Trumps Divide
Steve Rogers: "Big man in a suit of armor. Take that off, what are you?"
Tony Stark: "Genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist." [Natasha shrugs condescendingly]
Steve Rogers: "I know guys with none of that worth ten of you. I've seen the footage. The only thing you really fight for is yourself. You're not the guy to make the sacrifice play, to lay down on a wire and let the other guy crawl over you."
Tony Stark: "I think I would just cut the wire."
Steve Rogers: "Always a way out. You know, you may not be a threat, but you'd better stop pretending to be a hero."
Tony Stark: "A hero? Like you? You're a laboratory experiment, Rogers. Everything special about you came out of a bottle."
Bruce Banner: "I mean, what are we, a team? No, no, no. We're a chemical mixture that makes chaos. We're ... we're a time-bomb."
Your coworkers are your teammates, not punching bags. Each individual may bear their own vision of how a particular business project, proposal, or internal procedure should be executed. As their colleague, you should acknowledge their input and appreciate working with a community of people who value innovation and open dialogue. While thoughts and communication styles may differ, leaders recognize the importance of listening to everyone’s ideas, digesting each contribution, and formulating an optimal solution for accomplishing the task at hand.
The Avengers provide a great example of the chaos that can ensue when teammates fail to listen to each another or compromise – incessant bickering, speaking over one another, Hulk angrily smashing anything that crosses his path, and more importantly, distraction from the larger pursuits, like thwarting Loki’s advances.
Never ostracize yourself from your colleagues – collaboration and playing well with others are qualities that employers look for in applicants. Hawkeye may manipulate a bow with unrivaled precision, and Thor may harness the brawn of an Asgardian God, but despite their individual abilities, neither can tackle the villainous Ultron without forging an alliance. To be clear, working independently when warranted is an important attribute to possess, but there are numerous occasions where your teammates’ skills will need to be leveraged in order to successfully complete the work.
The Avengers eventually realized the magnitude of their responsibilities, and burden associated with protecting the world.
Tony Stark: “We’re the Avengers…how do we cope with something like that?”
Captain America: “Together.”
Fine-Tune Your Negotiation Skills
Tony Stark: “Actually he's the boss." [Points to Captain America] "I just pay for everything, design everything, and make everyone look cooler."
You’ve expertly maneuvered through the interview process and your potential employer is now ready to discuss dollars with you. Many job seekers cringe at the prospect of addressing salary expectations, but the reality is, this is your opportunity to really sell your worth and procure the level of pay and benefits you were seeking. The initial offer you receive from a potential employer is not carved in stone, and this is where honing in on your negotiation skills is key.
Use Tony Stark as your guiding beacon of light. After all, he wouldn’t be the successful owner of Stark Enterprises without knowing where his expertise lies. Albeit his extreme arrogance, Tony Stark is confident in both his avant-garde arsenal of technology, as well as his ability to deliver when called upon. During the interview, accentuate how your strengths will be an unequivocal asset to the execution of the company's short and long-term goals. (Side note: it's best to highlight your talents in a manner that doesn't imitate Ironman's egotistic attitude)
Establish Yourself as a Leader
Whether you’re facilitating a certain project, want to exceed management’s expectations in an attempt to rally for a promotion, or you’re merely looking to distinguish yourself as a leader among employees, you will need to support your words with actions to earn the respect of your peers. Take Captain America – when an entire alien army was descending upon the nation, he solicited the help of the police, pleading for them to move everyone into underground subway areas to shelter them from the enemy. The lead officer questions his instruction, asking “why should we listen to you?” After witnessing Captain American put several aliens to shame, the officer quickly directs the troops to follow the star-spangled Avenger’s orders.
If you attempt to argue your point of view, you will inadvertently lose credibility in the eyes of those you wish to establish yourself with. Whether company sales are down, your team recently lost a valuable client to a competitor, or a business endeavor is heading towards disaster, people need someone who can lift their spirits and inspire everyone to push forth. You can be the one who steers your coworkers in the right direction, but they will first need to see you take initiative and prove that you’re capable of being a leader.
Knowledge Is Power
Thor may not understand what Netflix is, and Captain America may see Wi-Fi as a foreign concept, but the Avengers always do some pre-battle preparation before voluntarily running into the line of fire. Similarly, conducting research and feeding your brain with knowledge about the employer you’re interviewing with is crucial to presenting yourself in a positive light.
Visit the company’s website to research the products or services offered, read up on any noteworthy news mentions, and peruse their social media pages. Not only will this give you a good understanding of their culture, but it will allow you to tailor your discussion in a way that speaks to the needs and values of the company you’re interviewing with. Draw parallels between your experience and skills and the specific challenges that company is looking to solve. The added effort will show the hiring manager that you are serious about the opportunity. Furthermore, it will give you some much-needed insight into the employer’s internal culture and whether or not you can picture yourself aligning with their values and practices.
Questions Can Open New Doors
Scott Lang: "My days of breaking into places and stealing things are over! What do you need me to do?"
Hank Pym: "...I want you to break into a place and steal some things."
Scott Lang: "...makes sense."
Many job seekers forget to come to their interview prepared with some questions they’d like to ask the hiring manager. While it’s imperative to demonstrate why you’d be a valuable asset to your potential employer’s team, it’s equally important for you to evaluate the company, and ultimately, if it is the right fit for you.
Even superheroes ask questions – especially when approached by Nick Fury regarding the Avengers initiative; an idea that was met by many with a barrage of queries. During your interview, asking about the company’s culture, what a typical day entails, and the types of individual’s you’ll be working alongside, not only shows that you are serious about the opportunity, but it will help you decide if you truly envision yourself in the role.
Be Unconventional & Embrace What Makes You Unique
Clint Barton to Wanda Maximoff: “Ok, look, the city is flying, we're fighting an army of robots, and I have a bow and arrow. None of this makes sense. But I'm going back out there cause it's my job….If you go out there, you fight and you fight to kill. Stay in here, you're good. I'll send your brother to come find you. But if you step out that door, you are an Avenger.”
When speaking with a hiring manager, scrap the buzzwords you saw online from your vocabulary, and sell yourself for who you really are. Many applicants are so fixated on nabbing the position they are interviewing for, that they neglect to judge if they’re a genuine fit for the culture and whether or not their personality and values align with their future coworkers. Attending an interview under the guise of someone else may land you the job, but you’ll risk being unsatisfied down the road when you realize that your alter ego blends in with the crowd, but the real you belongs elsewhere.
Be unique and indispensable. There’s a reason why no two Avengers enjoy the same exact abilities. You need to exude confidence and understand your worth in order to convince a potential employer that you are qualified and capable. Ignore the butterflies zooming through your stomach with unease and instead unleash your inner Tony Stark and strut your stuff with unwavering confidence.
Unleash Your Inner Avenger
Black Widow scoured the earth in search for Bruce Banner, S.H.E.I.L.D. had to wait patiently for Captain America to thaw from his frozen abode, and it took numerous attempts for Nick Fury to win over Ironman’s allegiance. The pavement along the highway of your career will be potholed with uncertainties and unexpected detours, but with continued persistence and the right mental attitude, you will reach your destination. Over the years, you will also discover that forging professional relationships through networking, as well as collaborating with coworkers, will help guide you towards your desired outcome.
For our superheroes, arguments and failed efforts to defeat Loki ushered the Avengers towards an important realization: they could not succeed as separate entities. And throughout the years, new recruits joined the ranks of the Avengers, amplifying the effectiveness of the team, or for us normal folk, strengthening the company.
Interested in learning more about how you can nail the job interview process?
Images & quotes courtesy of Marvel: The Official Site