The Hiring Games: Job Interviews as Conversations

Thank you all for reading and commenting on my last post. It was so well-received that I was inspired to write a bit more about the hiring process I’m going through for the five vacant positions on my team.

I recently had the good fortune of interviewing three finalists for one of my vacancies. I always enjoy the job interview process regardless of what side of the table I am on. I know they can be very stressful for some people, but I generally find them fun. Ok, so right about now you’re probably thinking I’m weird. That might be true, but hear me out for a second.

FindSpark Interview

Photo courtesy of Philip Robibero

It’s probably safe to say that we all enjoy a good conversation; a chance to engage with interesting people on a variety of topics. Well, to me, the best job interviews are conversations. If you’ve made it to one of my interviews, then I’m already convinced of your experience. Now it’s time for me to get to know you, the person. Here are some things that make for good job conversations.

Authenticity

What I’m ultimately looking to find out during an interview is whether I, my team and my colleagues can work with you. That means I need to know the real you, not the constructed resume version of you. So, be yourself. Let me get a sense of your personality. You still need to be professional, of course, but when I ask what you’re biggest failure has been and what you learned from it (and I will ask you this), show me you’re human. That you can laugh at your mistakes. Everyone makes them and I’ll make many more. Plus, authentic people are way more interesting than overly polished, canned versions.

Thoughtfulness

I love people on my teams who think deeply about our work, processes, failures, successes, etc. I like to dig into people’s thought processes because it makes for really good conversations. Show me that you don’t act on a whim. Let me peek inside your brain a bit to get a sense of how thoughtful you are about strategies you develop and actions you take. It’s why my first question in any interview is “why do you want to work here?” Show me that you’ve thought seriously about why. What appeals to you? What are you excited about? How will you grow from this experience? All of that makes good conversation fodder. Oh, and I’ll also ask you to tell me what part of your skill set needs the greatest improvement. You sure as heck have better thought about that.

Humility

Yes, the interview is where you are selling yourself and telling me how great you are, so humility might seem an odd thing to display. But, let’s be real. NONE of us have gotten this far in our careers (or lives, for that matter) without help from others. I’ve been around the block a few times and I’ve yet to see an organizational success that was the result of only one person’s efforts. Brag about yourself, yes, but be humble enough to also tell me about the role others played in your success. One of my favorite things about building teams is surrounding myself with really smart people. I know what I know, but, more importantly, I know what I don’t know. My team fills in my gaps and then some. Talking about others as part of your success stories will not make me think less of you. It will do the opposite. It will show me that you have what it takes to work with others and that you know the value of your colleagues. And, frankly, your own sense of “place” in the greater scheme of things.

This post originally appeared on The Quiet Communicator.

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