Archive | September, 2007

The Interview With The Boss And The Boss’s Boss

24 Sep

This one has been wandering in my thoughts for quite some time.  I am guessing this is going to be low on the entertainment meter and high on the enlightening one.  I think a troublesome interview can include a meeting with the boss and the boss’s boss. 

Let’s establish what we mean here.  You are going in to an interview and you are scheduled to interview with your prospective new boss and that individual’s boss as well.  Yes, you may interview with others but I just want to isolate on these two people.

This can be a tricky one and I am going to attribute this primarily to the more than likely insecurity of the boss.  This does not matter what level you find yourself in the organizational chart of life – people are insecure – some you see over time, some you don’t get close enough to see but it is there -most of the time.

This has a simple solution.  If you interview with the Boss first, no problem – you are golden.  Make sure you tell the BB in this case – how well the interview went with the B – prop up the B.  If, however, you interview with the Boss’s Boss first and then with the Boss – here is the common mistake we make.  Let’s say you, in your mind, knock it out of the park with the BB – DO NOT MAKE REFERENCE TO THIS WHEN TALKING WITH THE BOSS.  We just do not know how the B will interpret – is that cool with him/her or are you now a threat to the B?  Does your new found chemistry with the BB threaten the B because he does not have that level of rapport with his own boss – and he has been working for him for 2 years.

My thought is – Hopefully you are never perceived as a negative threat to your new boss but more as one who strives to get your boss promoted- this never hurt anyone – but don’t put yourself in the position of not getting an offer because you are perceived as a THREAT now.

OK – I know it is a departure from my typical rant, colorful, overzealous pontification but I hope this helps you manage the interview process just a little bit better and helps you THINK prior to your next interview that includes the Boss and the Boss’s Boss.

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“You Summed Up In 30 Seconds What Took Me…”

12 Sep

So I was doing some recruiting yesterday – you know, my job.  I am interviewing this guy, great guy – very personable, forthright – telling it like it is.  Exactly what I am looking for – someone that just opens up and allows me to understand their point of view.  (Note to the elusive moving target candidate: If you are not like this guy – you pretty much suck – if employers have to guess and if recruiters are left to guess – than I guess you won’t be getting that job.)  Back to this call though.

Although I enjoyed the conversation with this gentleman, Man was he a fan of words.  The more the merrier and while he was engaging – my ears were somewhat exhausted.  But that is alright, that is what I do – listen.

When I am in an interview, or any conversation for that matter, I frequently confirm with the person that I am on the same page.  You know – kind of summarize what they just said – it is a good skill so they know you are listening and if you are off track it helps you get back on.  Good communication type stuff.  You should try it.  Use it.

So we are talking about why he wants to make a change and what he is looking for and I go to summarizing.  He says to me, "You know, Andy – I think you did in 30 seconds what took me 30 minutes to tell you."  And I thought, "I know – why couldn’t you be me?"  Not really but..ok..maybe I did.

My point, Mr. Candidate – is you need to be the one to do that.  You are the one that is on the hot seat – the one interviewing.  Brevity is your friend. 

Can you answer the "Tell me about yourself question" without the interviewer yawning or rolling their eyes?  Can you describe what you do and what you have done succinctly?  Can you articulate your skills quickly?  Are you capable of getting to the point?  Can you strip away all the meaningless details and share the heart of the matter with clarity?

If you can’t, you better learn.  If you can’t, you better prepare.  If you answer the tell me about yourself question by starting – "When I was a child, no let’s back up – at the point of conception I proceeded to spend 40 weeks or so in my mother’s womb…" this is not good.  I think the saying is – being aware is more important than being smart.  I am sure someone who was strong on awareness said that but an interview is a time to be aware.  We can help you do this.  Let’s identify the tough questions and brainstorm on the answers together.

What you say matters.  Your words matter.   You need to be aware of your words, how you say them, and how long it takes you to say them.  Do you know when you are talking too much?  Do you have that internal voice that says, "Shut up, (insert your name)"?  Your spouse or significant other can assist you in acquiring this.  Getting to the point gets you the job.

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