Soundtrack of Success: How to Prepare for Your Next Interview with LL Cool J

Before LL Cool J became the buff television crime fighter he was the skinny, Kangol-wearing rapper on a Right-On! magazine poster on my wall.  I can’t vouch for all of the ladies, but I sure did love Cool James!  His classic “I’m Bad” is the perfect way for any job seeker to get in the right mindset for interviewing.  Check out the gold chain goodness in the video and then scroll down below for my thoughts:


“Even when I’m bragging, I’m being sincere.”

Looking for a job is nobody’s idea of fun.  And for the millions who have been searching for a while, it gets hard to keep your energy and confidence up every day. After a string of rejection letters or even worse –  no response – even the strongest people can begin to doubt themselves.    However, to land a job you must fight this urge.  Confidence is one of the most critical factors that you bring into an interview because it communicates competence and credibility.  No matter how knowledgeable you are about the role or industry, the average interviewer won’t believe that you really know your stuff if you:

  • Mumble
  • Hesitate too long
  • Deliver your answer as if it were a question
  • Look down too much
  • Look uncomfortable
  • Demonstrate any of the other vocal and body language cues that come with lack of confidence

This is where LL Cool J comes in.   Rappers tend to be pretty good at celebrating their own strengths, and “I’m Bad” does not disappoint in that category.  Before you walk into any interview, you should feel this same way about yourself.

Get grounded in your strengths.  Remember all of your achievements.  Be proud of the amazing work that you have done in the past and that you know you can do going forward.  Know that you have gifts that need to be shared with the world. Get your swagger back!  Be able to articulate all of the ways that you are the ONE PERFECT candidate for this role.

  • Don’t have the formal management experience that is listed in the job description?   Be prepared to tell them how your informal volunteer management experience makes you better qualified because you understand how to motivate employees without the benefit of positional power or financial incentives.
  • Are they looking for someone with more direct industry experience?  Share with them that you are uniquely positioned to bring innovative thought to the position since you aren’t burdened with “business as usual” habits.
  • Trying to change functions?  Make up some fabulous reason why all of the twist and turns of your career journey that make you different also make you their ideal candidate!

And if you don’t do anything else – walk into that interview like you own it.  Shake the interviewer’s hand with purpose and look her eye. Remember that you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you.

Yeah, you’re bad.


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CC image courtesy of Leigh Righton on Flickr

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  1. Quigley

    You know what, you’re right… I’M BAD!

    • TerraWinston

      It’s true – but if anyone else asks me, I’ll deny that I said it!


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