I’ve been fortunate in my career that I haven’t had to interview too much – though I enjoy the process and learning from those interactions as I hope this post will illustrate.
There was a handful of times I didn’t get the gig. Of those, I was usually in the final 2-3 candidates; however, there was one time in late 2009 when I flat out BOMBED an interview.
Let’s talk about that time.
The interview was with an up-and-coming social business firm based out of Austin and I fell in love with the work they were doing from the onset. The interviewer was a brilliant strategist who I admired a lot. For the first time in my life I was a little intimidated.
When I found out that I would have the opportunity to interview/have a conversation I started reading EVERYTHING I could about social business. I read everything the company had written, and I didn’t just read it, I thought about it.
I took an inordinate amount of notes and dove deep into the content. I thought about how it was applicable to marketing, the workplace, organization architecture and much more. I pored over it for hours and felt like I had something semi-insightful to offer from almost every vantage point.
On the day of the interview, I was nervous, but felt like I was more prepared than I’d ever been for anything in my life. I had notes scattered out (it was a phone interview) and thought I was ready to answer ANY question.
I thought wrong.
We didn’t talk about social business. We barely talked about the organization at all. The interviewer asked me questions about myself.
“What did I want out of life?”
“Where did I see myself in five years?”
“Why did I want to leave sports marketing? Sports marketing is fun.”
Ummmmmmmmm… I wanted to talk about measuring a social brand and capturing value from today’s emerging technologies and evolving operating environments.
The funny thing is that I’d learned more about myself in 2009 than I ever had before, but I was completely unprepared to articulate most of that to someone else.
This company was full of brilliant people that could teach me social business. They were looking for someone who fit their culture, who wanted to learn, and consistently push him(her)self beyond their level of comfort. Hint: That’s what most companies want. They can teach you the rest.
In a world where most people are looking for a quick fix, (popping Adderral and anti-depressants like they’re candy) most of us are completely unwilling to turn the lens on ourselves. To think deeply about what we think, feel and believe. And how experiences, thoughts, and feelings impact our lives and they way we interact with others.
Understanding who you are is crucial in understanding what you’re capable of and how you fit into our fancy little ecosystem.
Had I done that, I might not have gotten the job, but I wouldn’t be writing posts about that one time I bombed an interview.
What about you? Have you ever bombed an interview? What would you have done differently? What are your favorite interview tips?
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