Robert Downey Jr. is Hollywood's No. 1 leading man. That's what New York Magazine says, anyway. Last week, the magazine featured its list of Hollywood's 100 most valuable stars. According to the its calculations, Downey's global box office sales combined with his likability among fans, the number of magazine covers he's been featured on and critical acclaim for his work put the former brat packer at the top of the most valuable list. He beat out Will Smith, Johnny Depp, Denzel Washington, Brangelina for the top spot.
The formula to determine each star's value isn't all that different than the calculation done every time a company considers whether to hire an employee. No, they're not counting your magazine covers, but your likability and how critics are likely to respond to you are just as important for a job in the mail roomas they are for a job on the big screen.
If the success of a new employee were based solely on one factor — previous experience, college major or GPA, for example — then hiring would be a cut-and-dry affair. Of course, quantifiable factors are often the least reliable predictors of how an employee will fit into a company's culture and get along with his or her new co-workers.
So what are employers looking for when determining how valuable you might be to their organization? In addition to wanting proof that you've got the skills to do the job, they're also looking for star power of sorts. The next time you're up for a job, make sure you show them you've got what it takes.
Charisma. Even if you're not going to be playing a leading role in the office, there's still a certain charisma every employer wants to see. Whether you're working as a security guard or a vice president, having a certain likability will help grease the wheels of getting work done and keeping everyone happy.
Integrity. How many times has a celebrity gone off the deep end right before his or her movie comes out? (Mel Gibson, anyone?) Movie producers aren't the only ones who have to worry about the behavior of their employees. All employers want to know that you're going to conduct yourself in an appropriate manner. Make sure you don't tell any little white lies in your interview or fib on your resume. Even a relatively benign half-truth could cost you the job.
Work ethic. The most successful actors aren't always the most talented. Instead, they are the ones willing to put in the hard work at the expense of all else. Make sure your future employer knows that you have a strong work ethic, too.
Versatility. No actor wants to be pigeonholed in the same the kind of roles over and over again. And no employer wants a worker who's a one-trick pony. In any organization, there are times when you need to be on standby as the understudy for another member of the team. In your next job interview, make sure you convey how many different roles you can play and your willingness to jump in where needed.
The look. You don't have to have superstar looks to get a job, but you do need to look like you care about your appearance. It doesn't matter what business you're in. The truth is, looks count. Make sure your clothes are clean and up-to-date. Make sure your shoes are polished and well cared for. Make sure your hair is cut and your nails are clean. You might not think it matters, but it does.
Remember, interviewing for a job isn't much different than auditioning for a part. Put your best foot forward and make sure you're well-rehearsed.