Game of Inches

All you need is to be one step ahead of the competition.

It’s almost impossible to enjoy coming in second place; we’ve all been there. You realize that you almost had the victory you wanted, but someone else got to it first.

In recruiting as in life, the difference between the gold medalist (or the candidate who gets the job) and the silver medalist or runner up candidate, is often a mere step or a couple of inches.

Al Pacino’s inspirational speech on ‘Inches’ in the movie Any Given Sunday explains why you should consider each challenge as a ‘game’ of inches – they add up. Most often a few small, powerful improvements will make the defining difference between you and the competition in your next interview. Here are some ways to ‘gain a couple of inches.’


First, consider your mindset as a ‘silver medalist’. You obviously have a lot to offer seeing as you surpassed many other candidates to stand on the proverbial ‘Olympic stage’ next to the gold medalist and bronze medalists. Not many people get to do this. You should walk into an interview confident in your ability, as well-placed confidence is persuasive.


Elite athletes understand that winning gold medals requires hard work and training for hundreds (if not thousands) of hours each year. In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, Gladwell theorizes that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be considered elite or truly experienced within a certain craft.

While most people don’t train to be professional interviewees, reading interview guides and role-playing interviews can greatly improve your odds during an interview.


The best football players watch hours of game tape in preparation for a big game. Consider what, if anything, you could have done differently in your last interview if you could do it all over and make improvements for your next one.

Get a Coach or Mentor!

A coach can help you train effectively, teach you new tactics and strategies, and serve as a guide. Even basketball legend Michael Jordan had a coach. Now if you haven’t already, take a few minutes to watch Al Pacino’s speech on Inches, and consider the impact of what a couple more inches might do in your job search!