Purple Cows and Utter Silliness
November 6, 2006
“If you just canâ€™t get over that urge, and feel you need to break the mold and say something â€œimpressively different,â€ do yourself a favor and DONâ€™T. If you are tired of politicians constantly jabbing eachother, donâ€™t you think that interviewers get tired of someone trying to be cute or clever? Sure, be clever, but know your boundaries. And donâ€™t do anything that will distract!” (emphasis in the original)
What I find most interesting about this that it seems to fly in the face of what we are most told when learning how to interview – that the goal is to stand out, differentiate, be memorable, etc.
Strangely, both are true. To paraphrase an old joke, there’s a fine line between being a flashy dresser and dressing like you’re in a 70′s disco bar. And you need to know where you lie on that line between being a Purple Cow and absolute, utter silliness.
Unfortunately, I don’t think that most people make the mistake of distracting – most of us are too afraid of standing out in a crowd to take the chances that really differentiate us from the majority of the group. That’s why Seth Godin has such useful advice – most people are so afraid to look silly that they forget to try to stand out often enough.
I’d rather see someone blow an interview once in a while by being a bit distracting than permanently fail to get noticed because they were too afraid to really show their own true colors (especially if that color is Purple).