Having survived dozens of interviews, I’m finally beginning to understand the best way for potential employers to get to know me as a person and a prospective team member and the conventional interview is NOT the way.
A friend once told me something about hiring that I’m not recalling quite right, but basically it’s this: You can likely teach anyone to do anything in terms of the job, but you can’t change their personality. Finding the person who is the right fit is more important than finding the one who looks perfect on paper with all the requirements checked off.
Unless the position you’re trying to fill requires spontaneously answering questions in front of complete strangers, how is an interview the best way to evaluate someone’s potential? If a role requires certain skills shouldn’t those be assessed in a real world scenario applicable to your company rather than completely based on prior experience?
Whenever I have doubts about my marketing abilities, I remind myself that I’ve gotten a lot of interviews and that’s because I know how to market myself, on paper at least. When I think of the ratio of resumes submitted to phone screens to second or third interviews, I think I am doing pretty good considering the current climate. However, I can’t help but think that my aversion to the standard interview and my inability to play the game of first impressions has been the reason for only two offers. I know that I’m not going to change who I am and I’d rather show my true self from the get go, but part of me wishes I could have the perfect interview - one that is a real conversation, an open dialogue, an exchange with honesty and authenticity.
ATTENTION HR MANAGERS: Please share the majority of questions you may ask in an interview beforehand. Have candidates record a short video or submit written answers prior to meeting so that the interview can be more like a conversation. If you’re following a script, asking the same questions in the same order to all candidates, why keep it a secret? Wouldn’t you rather see who prepares and who doesn’t? Don’t you want to find out right away who cares enough about the process to research your company and think about what they have to offer and how they see themselves fitting in to your work culture?
I really love the section on Interview Questions in "The Ideal Team Player." (see sample questions below) I've decided to compose answers for these sample questions because I know it will help me learn more about what I have to offer and what I need to thrive in my next position.
* Tell me about the most important accomplishment of your career.
* What was the most embarrassing moment in your career? Or the biggest failure? How did you handle that embarrassment or failure?
* What is your greatest weakness?
* How do you handle apologies, either giving or accepting them?
* Tell me about someone who is better than you in an area that really matters to you.
* What is the hardest you've ever worked on something in your life?
* How would you describe your personality?
* What do you do that others in your personal life might find annoying?
* What kind of people annoy you the most, and how do you deal with them?
* Would your former colleagues describe you as an empathic person? Can you give an example of how you've demonstrated empathy to a teammate?
In the middle of writing this I had another great conversation with my Dad about my frustrations with the job hunt. I’ve been really struggling lately with what feels like a broken system in terms of the standard hiring process.
I can’t help but find comparisons between scrolling LinkedIn and Match.com. It’s a tedious endeavor filled with hope and despair. I’m quite grateful that I have been married for almost 22 years to someone I’ve known since 1994! Looking for a new job feels like searching for future husband on a dating app that has resulted in nothing but a lot of awkward first dates.
Sometimes I feel optimistic and determined. Other times I feel powerless, ignored, and desperate. I know that I’m one of a kind. I know that I have high standards of myself and others. I know that I throw myself 100% into everything I do. I love learning and growing. I thrive on being creative and responsive. I’m honest and I’m intense, but I’m also empathetic and supportive.
I want to be evaluated not only on my resume and personality, but on what I can do for the organization I’m trying to join. My greatest strengths are best demonstrated in my work and that’s why I’ve appreciated the opportunity to submit a specific writing sample, social content, or presentation tailored to the particular role. I’ve only been required to do this a handful of times, and I didn’t always get an offer, but I knew that I did my best and that’s all that mattered to me.