Doing The Interview Dance And Leaving A Lasting Impression

Original Post: Doing The Interview Dance And Leaving A Lasting Impression

photo by jeff medaugh
23:52:37 reyhan: For me interviews are me interviewing them
23:52:51 Boon: totally
23:53:06 Boon: i so need to write a blog post about that
23:57:58 reyhan: Yes
23:58:06 reyhan: You totally should

Why do you attend interviews? Do you do it just because it’s what you need to do to get a job? Or do you see it as an opportunity to see if this company is really a right match? There’s a difference here.

Companies are Human, Yes They Are

I feel that we’ve become so accustomed to dealing with cashiers, customer service representatives, helpdesk assistants, nurses, telephone operators, salespeople, waiters – so much that we’ve lost the appreciation for understanding how businesses run and make money, and more importantly, how inherently human organizations and companies actually are.

If you strip away the branding, the corporate logos, the job descriptions, the products, and the impressions people have about companies, it’s not difficult to appreciate that managers and recruiters have lives just like anyone else. The people who get paid to hire people represent companies as much as they represent themselves – much like how you discuss with your flatmates about accepting the new guy who’s interested to come on board.

Interviews are like Dates (not the Edible Kind)

This is why Richard Nelson Bolles, author of the famous career book, “What Color is Your Parachute?“, compares interviews to dating.

Sometimes I feel that job seekers prepare for interviews with a series of answers to interview questions like “tell me about your strengths and weaknesses”, “how would you move mount Fuji” – in some kind of formulaic fashion. I think that companies who do hire people who succeed in formulaic interviews, are companies that are formulaic themselves. That’s not a bad thing, unless you’re not interested in working for a formulaic company.

Not all companies hire the same way. Some have fine-tuned the art of finding the fakes from the gems. And this process really isn’t about selecting who’s the better person – it’s just about finding the better match.

If you’re approaching an interview in the same way you did the previous interview – ask yourself, are you doing it because you’re perfecting the art of interviewing (which isn’t a bad thing), or are you really interested to find out what this company about, and take advantage of the interview time to really get to know them as real people. Maybe it’s worth tweaking your interview strategy a little, if you know you’re going to meet someone who was quite different than the last guy.

The Interview Dance

Sometimes, even though I’ve done all the research about the company and I know about the products that they sell, who their customers are, and what their company values are and all that – I still ask them the same questions to find out about the company, just to see if these people really are what they say they are on their company blog and website and stuff. I do it to satisfy my curiosity, and to probe deeper about what makes this person who is interviewing me excited about the job that they do.

I try to come up with questions that, when asked, catches them by surprise and causes them to pause in a way that I can see tiny sparkles in their eyes. And this is one of those things that doesn’t have a formula. When you’re on a date with someone, and you’re genuinely interested to know them better – do you verbalize rehearsed one-liners that you studied from a how-to book, or do you wait for a certain opportunistic moment in the conversation, when you pop interesting questions that make them smile and laugh?

There’s something magical about interviewing someone who really seems like they can understand the heartbeat of the people that work there. Researching companies will get you to a point, but taking a chance to initiate that ‘interview dance’ is really what creates the whole encounter a lot more memorable.