I’m dating myself a little bit here. Back in the 1980’s parachute pants were a huge deal. They were obnoxious for sure. I had to share a picture here because if you don’t know what they look like, then now you do. They were brightly colored, snug fitting pants made out of the same material used to make parachutes! And the more zippers, the better. I can’t make this stuff up, people!

You had to be cool to wear them. I remember only a handful of people in my school could pull off wearing parachute pants. These people didn’t care what others thought about the flashy pants. They were confident. They liked standing out and getting noticed. Man, I admired people who were parachute-pants-wearing cool. I thought those pants were the best thing ever invented.

Did I wear them? No way, dude! When I was younger, I was incredibly shy. I hardly ever raised my voice (or my hand in class for that matter) and I kind of just blended in with everyone else. I was okay with being in the 50th percentile. I was okay being average.

Or was I truly okay being average? Maybe I was just too scared to do something different. What would people think of me?!

See, this is the question you have to ask yourself. Are you okay with status quo? Why is that? Are you afraid of doing something in fear that somebody will think you are an idiot?

You shouldn’t worry so much.

The older I get, the less I care about what others think about me. Why does it really matter what people think? There are going to be lovers and there are going to be haters. That is just how it is. As many people who hate what you do, there will be others who love the one thing that makes you different than everyone else.

If parachute pants were to make a comeback, I probably would wear the stupid pants now. I’m a little different than I was in the 80’s.

So what does this have to do with hiring, recruiting or anything remotely related to finding a job?

Okay, it is simple. Unemployment is low. Companies ARE hiring, but they aren’t hiring everyone. They are in the position to be very being very picky about the candidates they hire. Everyone is looking for the person who stands out from the competition. Being in the 50% percentile will not get you hired.

You have to be good. You have to be GREAT. You have to bring new innovative ideas to the table that others have not thought of before that will GROW organizations.

What should you do? Should you wear parachute pants to your interview?

Probably not, but the bottom line is you need to make yourself “parachute pants different” from the rest. What are your talents and skills? What do you have to offer that makes you stand out?

I challenge each and every one of you who are looking for a job to really think about what you can do differently. Interviewing is all about selling yourself and telling the prospective employer why they should hire you. Know your pitch inside and out before you go in for an interview.

At the end of the day, when you get to the hiring manager- they will see you one of two ways. Someone who will put on the pants and the ones that won’t. The ones that will put them on, will get hired.

Trust me.