Friday, May 8, 2009

What if I wasn't a tree?

I led a seminar on interview techniques for job candidates the other week. Wouldn't you know it that I don't come across this article until now (H/T Steve Levy)? So, does this article render all my tips moot? Thankfully, no.

First, I'll be honest, I gave some typical interview advice (stress positives, context-action-result answers, etc). Some are applicable no matter what. Some might be a little fluffy. That being said, it seems to me that most HR/recruiting/interviewing people don't follow strict or aggressive interview strategies, so if they're asking fluffy questions, fluffy answers aren't necessarily a bad thing (I'm writing really superficially here; I'm not advocating fluffy answers).

But I think I scored a few good points that this article backs up:

1. An interview can be confrontational.
I'd read in a government pamphlet that "interviews aren't contests, we're all trying to work together to get the best result we can" (I'm paraphrasing... and kind of sarcastically). You know what, sometimes the interviewer is messing with you. Sometimes s/he doesn't want to be your friend. Sometimes it is an uphill battle.

2. Don't lie
This is pretty obvious. Address deficiencies in your experience head on, but move past it.

3. Some questions are wretched, so your answers will be wretched.
There's often not a good answer as to why you left a job or didn't finish your degree. Not much you can do about it. Move on and do better with your next answer.

4. Stress interviews
I warned them. They may still react poorly to these interviews, but at least I warned them.

All in all, I think my seminar still stands up, but I definitely have some things to think about for the next one (assuming there is a next one - which I hope there is).

I agree with some other comments I've read about this article, that despite its title, it's not about going negative. Interviewers will challenge interviewees. That's life. I probably don't do it enough. I'll work on that.

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