The Happy Warrior

by Brian Skory

Who is the happy Warrior? Who is he
That every man in arms should wish to be?
(William Wordsworth, 1807)

If you're at all inclined to read poetry, William Wordsworth describes in extensive detail who The Happy Warrior is. Among other things, "his high endeavours are an inward light that makes the path before him always bright."

In less poetic terms, while reading through HR blogs this week I was introduced to the term Happy Warrior in more of a hiring context. As I've written about extensively, being the candidate of choice often comes down to personality differences when all else, such as technical experience, is equal.

The author of the Happy Warrior article identified two personality traits that were foremost in her mind. The first, relating to "Happy," referred to the tone you bring to the interview. Hiring managers tend to really like likeable people, and a pleasant, happy demeanor goes a long way towards making you more likeable. This is not to be mistaken for putting on a forced or fake positive attitude (which will certainly not get you what you are looking for), but simple things like smiling occasionally and not complaining about the drive in or your previous position will often be a refreshing change for a hiring manager. Having to work with a difficult employee is one of a boss's worst nightmares, so even experiencing you as simply "pleasant" may be the thing that tips the scales in your favor.

The second personality trait is that of the Warrior. Metaphorically, as technologists we do battle with problems on a daily basis. Are you able to convey a sense of "warrior-ness" when it comes to painting a picture of how you've charged into battle to tackle your company's challenges? In reference to your previous work accomplishments, do you exude confidence while describing the problems you have enjoyed solving? Do you convey a sense of confidence that you would love to bring to this company with the eagerness to help solve some of the challenges that your prospective employer is wrestling with? One great way to do that is to be sure to ask in your interview what some of the more pressing problems are that you would be presented with should you be selected for this position.

Wordsworth ends his poem with, "This is the happy Warrior; this is he that every man in arms should wish to be." Hopefully, you can successfully present yourself as the Happy Warrior in your next interview and maximize your chances of being the candidate of choice.
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