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There is a "Big Two" of success mostly overlooked: Presentation Excellence. (My recent riffs ... and yours.) Next: INTERVIEWING SKILLS! (Expect an "Interviewing25" or some such ... coming soon.)
Tom Peters posted this on 05/27/05.
The interview never ends. Just like we're all salesmen, isn't every interaction really an interview? Have I justified what I did yesterday, have I got some ideas about what we're going to do today? What can I learn from that last interaction? What do I want them to take away from it about me / my team / my project? Today's work is a real-time interview for the next project.
Posted by Mark JF at May 27, 2005 1:53 PM
I have an interview next Tuesday. Any chance we will see the post on Interviewing Skills before then? I'd hate to do it wrong. grin
Posted by EGM at May 27, 2005 1:53 PM
Some thoughts both my own and which I heard recently from some recruiters on a panel at an event here in Chicago:
- Before the interview be prepared. This is true both for the interviewer and the interviewee. Know the company/resume, know what questions you have, know what you are looking for, be prepared to be surprised and be open to the interview going other places than you expect
- A small bit of advice I was given years ago, which has actually served me relatively well, and which bears on a large point. "Have something on your resume that demands being asked about" - not a in a bad way, but in a "wow, that's interesting, I want to hear the story about that" way. On my resume for years it was a very simple line "Disassembled particle accelerator" - totally true, and without fail interviewers asked me for the story behind that.
Which is the broader point - be prepared in an interview to tell true stories, based on specific, tangible points. (In my case the summer I spent before college working as an intern at the Physics department of Argonne, including a week spent tearing apart a small, room-sized particle accelerator)
- As the interviewer, you should be listening more than you are talking. Earlier this week recruiters put it this way, if you are interviewing someone over a meal, you should finish your plate while the interviewee should only be a quarter or so the way done - i.e. you should have plenty of time to listen and eat.
- I personally almost never conduct an interview in a formal, staid environment. I always start an in person interview with a "let's go grab a cup of coffee" in the walk down the street, wait in line, and then walk back I learn a great deal about the interviewee.
- For positions where hiring as part of a team, I'm a huge fan of the team interview. However, my suggestion would generally be to conduct it at least in part in a non-formal environment. Grab lunch and do it over lunch, go out to a restaurant. The point being to get the whole team's perspective, and for the interviewee to get a realistic chance to see what they would be doing and who they would be working with.
It is a great topic, we are all interviewing all the time - especially as we sell ourselves, our firms, our clients.
Posted by Shannon Clark at May 27, 2005 2:12 PM
EGM, Thare is a great e-book that will get you prepared for any inteview.
The blog is from Lisa Haneberg, http://managementcraft.typepad.com/ the e-book is called: Inrerviewers' Secrets Revealed: How to Ace Your Next Job Interview for 6.95.
This e-book is a great investment.
Posted by Luis at May 27, 2005 2:37 PM
Best tip I ever heard - do your homework
Posted by Trevor Gay at May 27, 2005 5:15 PM
In 20 years of interviewing, I have never had some one walk into an interview with a portfolio of their work. Ok, I am in the information technology field. But, why canâ€™t we do what every actor and artist does when they look for work. Portfolio management beats resume updating every single day.
Posted by RTodd at May 27, 2005 9:32 PM
I agree Trevor and RTodd - I'm in IT also - seems like if one can show their IT expertise from a laptop that impresses.
Seems also that networking - having friends is key to "interview" success - have the position locked and don't even do the interview.
Posted by Sean at May 28, 2005 6:36 AM
I found them most successful technique was do your homework AND .... visit, visit, visit, people who know the answers ...I researched one job for three weeks solid by talking to about 20 different people to get their opinions about what are the likely questions and more inportant - what are the right answers - it is amzing how people just want to help you - don't forget - it is a compliment to them that you have asked them.
I got that job and nothing in the interview phased me.
Posted by Trevor Gay at May 28, 2005 6:43 AM
Interviewing 101: Use some of the strategies that peak performing athletes use to "get in the Zone" when they perform at their best under competitive pressue. (By the way, these are the same strategies that peak performers on every stage of life use.) They adjust their activation (energy), attention, and attitudes to "be here now." Some of these simple strategies have worked for my clients and for me on snowy steeps with skis strapped on and in interviews with more traditional suiting.
Breathe. Okay, I know it sounds too simple to be smart. But when we breathe too fast or not at all, stress really does make us stupid. That's because the natural chemicals that are constantly bathing our brains and bodies exert systemic effects on our physiology and physical tensions, the breadth of our attention (and our ability to shift attention), and on our attitudes, ie confidence.
Hyperventilating or holding our breath is a dead giveaway that we are too ramped up or too listless to pay attention adequately, which is critical in an interview. The deluge-strength natural chemical onslaught that kicks off high-paced breathing and rapid heartbeat actually narrows our attention. Athletes call it "visual narrowing" but it affects hearing and the other senses too. At this fast pace, we hear only a sliver of the question so our answers may seem off base, not a great place to be in an interview. On the other hand, when the natural chemicals bathing brain and body subside to intravenous drip dilutions, attention broadens. We wonder if we have been hit by attention deficit, which again impairs our ability to hear and respond appropriately. Under these extremes, we surrender to the "stress makes us stupid" phenomenon. To connect or reconnect in an interview, breathe deeply and at a moderate pace. Sitting up helps.
Pay Attention! Use an attention cue to tune in and to ditch the running evaluative narrative of yourself and the other person. Then you can really listen with open eyes and ears (and your gut's insights) to hear the question and to provide a thoughtful answer. One skier I worked with used the cue "zoom!" to zoom in on the space between the gates. The same cue worked for a sales pro who pictured himself zooming in on the words that the other person was uttering. A practice of reframing what the other person has said or asked can keep us tuned in and breathing. Plus it assures the other person that we are working at accurate listening.
Get a new Attitude. Review your own portfolio or anecdotes that represent your accomplishments so you can feel confident that you are the right person for the job. Listen to great music in your real or virtual music player en route to the interview to get the right beat to be upbeat.
Practice in your dreams. Stellar athletes use relaxation and visualization to picture themselves hitting that great shot or landing the puck in the net. But they are practicing more than technique. Powerful relaxation and visualization includes picturing yourself breathing, focused, and feeling confident even when faced with a competitor, or an interview question, that has the potential to blindside you and knock you out of the game. Visualize yourself breathing, focused and confident as you successfully field challenging questions fired by a challenging interviewer. When you get there, it will feel like deja vu.
Posted by Pam Brill at May 28, 2005 9:43 AM
KISS - Keep It (answers) Short and Simple. Elaborate only when required.
Posted by Hesh at May 29, 2005 3:25 AM
As an interviewer, make sure you listen and put as much weight (if not more) to body language and facial expression.
Anybody can make up stories when they answer but very few people can effectively fake their body language and facial expressions.
Posted by Dennis Balajadia at May 29, 2005 4:33 AM
Am sharing some of my tele-interview tips. Hope u guys find it useful. Well, its a lil bit related to interviews @ tech firms. generic viagra without prescription in australia
A. Preparing for the telecon interview.
1. Clearly understand and record the date and time for a telecon interview. You must also know which venue this interview will be conducted from. That is, the cabin, conference room or your residence.
2. You should carefully go thru your resume and reflect on the different roles and responsibilities that you have carried out on various projects. This helps in coming up with smart and confident response during the interview.
3. You should inquire before hand the technology and the role for which you are being interviewed. If there is a special emphasis on a particular technology or domain, then you should studiously brush it up before the interview.
4. If the project requirement is for an existing client, then it is possible to know the interviewer's name and expectations before hand as he/she would be interacting with the team here in India. Try to get know if you can, about the interviewers specific areas of interest or responsibility to anticipate the interview content.
5. Identify areas of your resume that may fall directly in line with the required position. Some times your past experience and not the current one may be relevant for the position for which you are being interviewed. Do remember to emphasize on these areas during the interview.
B. On the day of the interview.
1. Confirm with your contact from the HR or the resource management group (RMG) representative who is responsible for organizing the interview regarding the date and time of the interview. Sometimes it is possible that the interview may be organized by the onsite Sales person but the India contact will / should have this information. It is also possible that there may be some change in time, day or venue that someone has forgotten to convey you.
2. Reach the venue of the interview that is, be present in the room, cabin or the conference room from where the interview is to be conducted at least 15 minutes in advance. This will take care of any 11th hour changes that need to be done in case the of any exception condition. In case the interview is to be conducted when you are not in the office, choose a location (at your home or elsewhere) where you could spend 45 minutes to an hour to participate in the interview without getting disturbed.
3. Always keep your resume handy with you so that you could refer to it when you are responding to questions related to your experience etc.
C During the interview
1. You must start the interview with a positive feeling that you are going to pass the interview with flying colors.
2. Do not harbor any tension about the interview. At the same time be attentive and perked up about the questions that would be asked to you.
3. It is quite possible that you as a candidate may have a strong Indian accent while you speak in English. It is generally advisable to speak slowly and clearly to take care of a strong Indian accent.
4. Respond to the interviewerâ€™s greeting in the same way as he would commence it. Donâ€™t say
â€œGood morning John â€œif he says â€œHi Krishnaâ€. If you have a long name suggest him a short form (Subu for Subramanianâ€ ) which will be convenient to the interviewer.
6. If the interviewer starts with a little banter or weather talk, match his conversation by giving suitable answers.
5. During the course of interview, make it certain that the interviewer has completely spoken his bit before you start responding to a specific question. Do not interrupt the interviewer as this interrupts the interviewerâ€™s thought process which could make him irritable of uncomfortable.
6. If you do not understand a particular question completely or partially, request the interviewer politely to explain the question again.
7. If you cannot hear a question properly on the phone, do not attempt to respond assuming what the question was. Request the interviewer to repeat the question and also inform him that you could not hear him properly the first time.
8. If a question is asked on a particular topic or technology where your exposure or experience has been limited, then first respond indicating the extent to which you have been exposed to or have experience with that domain or technology. Same thing about the roles that you have played in a particular project.
9. At the end of the interview, do not forget to thank the interviewer for his time.
( Something like â€œthanks for your time John. Its been nice talking to youâ€ )
D. After the interview
1. After the interview, give your feedback to the HR or RMG representative about the interview. The feedback should contain details about how you fared in the interview, whether your choice as a candidate was suitable for the position or what were the areas where you fell short of an appropriate response.
2. Document the questions that were asked to you. These questions can form an input to the repository for questions on technology of domain for subsequent associates who would appear in future for such interviews.
3. Get to know from the HR or RMG representative about the approximate time frame when the result would be known and how you would come to know of it.
Posted by K.Sriram at May 29, 2005 11:44 PM
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