There are plenty of mistakes you can make during a job interview, from forgetting your resume to being late.
But the biggest mistake job-seekers make is a little more subtle, according to leadership expert and author of "Start With Why," Simon Sinek.
"Traditionally, what we do is we start pitching ourselves and talking about the stuff," Sinek says during a panel at OZY Fest in New York City.
In other words, most people lead with what's on their resume, instead of what drives them. Changing that one thing can make for a much more engaging first impression, Sinek says. "You really want to start with what your cause is, what your belief is."
That's because "People don't buy what you do; they buy why you do it," he says in his TED Talk.
Sinek uses his own career researching leadership as an example.
"I'll say, 'Oh well I've written three books, and I've done a TED Talk that went viral, and I work with some of the biggest companies out there, and I also am an idealist and want to live in a world in which people feel happy at work.'
"That is called starting with 'what' and ending with 'why,'" Sinek says.
"But if I were to give the exact same answer in reverse order, so: ... 'I imagine a world in which the vast majority of people wake up every single morning inspired to go to work ... . And in order to drive this vision that I have, I've written a bunch of books about the subject I have this Ted Talk that went viral and I get to work with some of the biggest companies to help them get there' — same information," says Sinek.
But by leading with his passion, "it is immediately appealing to people who believe what I believe," he says. "Then people are like, 'Oh we need somebody who can do that.'"
Indeed, recent research shows connecting with your interviewer can be crucial to landing a job.
"If you can find even one point of commonality in few moments of interacting, you can shift from outsider to insider in the interviewer's mind," according to the Harvard Business Review. "As an insider, you'll receive the benefit of the doubt, as compared to an outsider who's quickly judged and dismissed."
Additionally, if your "why" matches with the organization's purpose, that could be a good sign that the culture will be a good fit — a factor closely tied to job satisfaction.
Says Sinek, "If you talk about what you believe, you will attract those who believe what you believe."
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