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On catching the red dot

So I’ve been covering for a vacant position for a while now and recently was given permission to post the job (yay!) and the autonomy to make my own decisions (double yay!).

Let the games begin!

But before I start let me say that I’ve interviewed for many jobs in my life.  I’ve won my share and lost just as many. Looking back, there were roles I wasn’t ready for, others someone (Divinely) guided me away from, and still more where I just wasn’t the one.

In 1989, before an interview for my very first *big* corporate break, I spent the afternoon at the library researching the corporation and discovered they were breaking ground on a multi-billion dollar plant in Saudi Arabia.  During the interview, when asked what I knew about their company,  I spoke in general terms but also referenced that project.  I saw the HR Director’s eyebrow shoot up and a smile cross her face.  And in that moment I knew I had it; I started soon after and stayed (and grew) for 12 years.

  • Lesson: If you’re not selling it no one’s buying it. It’s up to you to help a hiring manager see you as their solution.

9 years ago when a Territory Manager announced her retirement, I asked to be considered.  No I’d never been a manager but I was doing similar work and knew the processes & department inside out.  I was able to articulate to the powers-that-be that they’d be wise to choose me – and they did.

  • Lesson: If you’re not selling it no one’s buying it. It’s up to you to help a hiring manager see you as their solution.

4 years ago I applied for and won the position I’m in today, leading the Department.   I endured 4 grueling interviews but I knew, just like that first *real* opportunity, that this job was mine.  I knew there was no one more qualified: it was on me to convince them of that.  I prepared my list of accomplishments, practiced questions and answers with Hubbs, read up on my list of awards, best practices and process improvements.  I was ready. I brought my A-game and trounced the competition.

  •  Lesson: If you’re not selling it no one’s buying it. It’s up to you to help the hiring manager see you as their solution.

So now, when I find myself on the other side of the interview table, I can’t help it, I look for candidates who prepare like I would.

I look for people with passion for the work, not just a way out of what they’re doing now.

I look for someone who can see themselves in the job and help me see them as part of my team.

So here’s what actually happened, in no particular order:

  • A woman wrote a compelling cover letter detailing the reasons why she’d be a great fit.   Except she cited the wrong job.  Oy.
  • Two (men) tried to cut to the front of the line by emailing or calling me directly for an interview, ignoring HR protocol.  Not cool, back in line you go, and, by the way, neither made it past “go.”
  • One person never bothered to read the job description ~ during a phone screening he admitted that the part of the state this job covers is the part “he hates.”   Yeah, we’re done.
  • Another (man) winked at me at the close of an in-person interview.  Lysol, please.
so awesome

Don’t be this guy

~ Sigh~

People are fascinating and the things they’ll tell you in an interview (or anywhere) are astounding.

Example:

  • Question: This position manages many deadlines and details ~ describe for me what tools or tips you use to stay on top of multiple projects.
  • Answer: “I’m not a detail guy and I’m not very good at managing deadlines either.”
  • My thoughts:  Dude!

Another example:

  • Question: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  • Answer: Well I plan to move south next summer so I’m hoping you guys have something down there I can transfer to!!
  • My thoughts: Holy hell my head hurts.

There was one exception however.

She arrived early, calm and well-spoken.

She had a pleasantness about her, confidence without bravado.

She listened.

She articulated relevant experiences.

She asked good questions; she’d done her homework.

She connected the dots.

I am not indecisive: When I meet someone with passion and potential, I know it.

It wasn’t long before an offer was extended and thankfully accepted.

caught the red dot

 

** How about you?  Have you been on the other side of the interview table?  How do you prepare? What do you look for?  Do you know a dot catcher when you meet one?**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Categories: Joy, Life, Politics, Thoughts, Uncategorized, Wisdom, Women, Work | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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11 thoughts on “On catching the red dot

  1. Very good points. So glad you found the perfect person for the job. I just know the two of you are going to work great together! Happy weekend!

  2. I do! I had someone come for a corporate interview in a men’s oversized tee shirt and jeans (this was a woman). I had a middle aged woman interview and kept reassuring me that she wasn’t after my job. Bad choice. I needed someone I could train to replace me when I retired. Glad you found your candidate.

  3. I have been on both sides of the table as well. My best interview was for a job I didn’t care if I got or not…(I was completely relaxed/ had my game on) They’d approached me so I knew there was already an interest. I slam dunked it and all of us had several laughs by the time it was finished.(teaching high school kids in a local community college setting) When I interview (and I’ve probably done a dozen the past 15 years) number one thing I am looking for is attitude and teach-ability.

    • Yes and yes – attitude and teach-ability — and one more: do they care? I can teach a lot of skills but I can’t teach someone to care: care about the company, the product, the customer etc. It’s becoming more and more scarce (scary!)
      Thanks DM!
      MJ

  4. Shirley Matthews Dunn

    MJ, I love how you take job, home, etc and run with it with a well laid plan. This lady is very lucky to work for you.

    • Aww thank you, what a kind thing to say. I really do care about my team and am happiest when they’re doing well – conversely one lazy or non-productive employee can easily drag me and the rest of the team down. I don’t really love supervising people, unless they’re self-starters!! MJ

  5. Pingback: On first days | Emjayandthem's Blog

  6. I worked HR in a department store, pre-screening basically. There are SO many who don’t really want the job, they just need to show they applied. I’m glad the cream rose to the top and you found your hire.

    • I am glad as well ~ some people honestly talked themselves out of the position. The one that winked at me? Later emailed whining about not getting the job and asking what he could do to improve – I answered as diplomatically as possible without stating “stop whining!” 😀 MJ

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