Watch Stephen Colbert prep President Obama for his upcoming job search
Whichever way this presidential election goes, one thing is for sure: Barack Obama has a big career change ahead of him. He’s been in the same job for eight years, so it wasn’t too surprising when he sought guidance from one of America’s leading political thinkers. By which I mean, of course, Obama got help with his resume from Stephen Colbert.
As millennials are bitterly aware, job prospects are scarce these days. It makes starting over extra intimidating for anyone, even the president of the United States. So Obama dropped by The Late Show for some pointers on how to make his resume stand out to future employers and a practice job interview to ease his transition back into the job market. Although he started out chatting with Colbert, the serious, suit-wearing host was quickly replaced by “Randy,” an office manager who (showbiz secret) was Colbert in costume.
The segment conveyed the lesson that being honest with interviewers isn’t always the best policy. If you left your last position because you were legally required to do so, it might not sound great if you put that out there. Meanwhile, interviewers need to be careful to keep on the right side of HR regulations; at one point Randy asked Obama where he was born, which to my knowledge skirts the edge of what constitutes an unacceptable job interview question.
Overall, Colbert and Obama had a lot of helpful tips. For example, taking the initiative gets an interview off to a good start.
Should the interviewer say something inappropriate, keep your cool, but file that piece of info away for later. Either you’ll know this isn’t the workplace for you, or you’ll have leverage against them if you get the job.
As long as you’re not straight-up lying, don’t be afraid to sugarcoat the details of why you’re leaving your current job. You don’t want to give interviewers the wrong impression.
Seriously, interviewers: don’t ask candidates where they were born. Raising that question could be illegal in a job interview. For those of us who are people of color, it’s also super infuriating, as the POTUS knows all too well.
If you’re looking for a leadership position, it’s important to prove that you can successfully delegate key tasks.
In today’s digital world, it’s a huge advantage if you can bring serious social media heat to your potential job.
Finally, even though honesty isn’t always helpful in an interview, don’t be afraid to display passion when it comes to topics you care deeply about.
You can watch Obama’s full interview with “Randy” here.
Also, you can mourn the impending departure of the coolest president we’ve ever had. That’s what I’ll be doing when November rolls around.