The good news is that I got a new job. It’s still within the same company, but it’s an appreciable improvement upon my present role.
I’m thankful for it. It’s what I’ve been striving for, and not only that, is absolutely necessary. I should be over the moon, except I don’t really do over the moon. I tend to take things in my stride and, rightly or wrongly, see this as no more than a decent step forward on a long path ahead.
I interviewed for the role Monday. I left the interview with the usual grumbles. Once more the bulk of the interview was behavioural. There’s value to behavioural questioning, but I think it’s been given too much weight. My issue with it is that there is little leeway to express yourself. Basically you’re re-hashing things that you’ve done before, with no provision for what you intend to do, and little space for original thought.
After the last interview experience I thought long and hard on the exercise. If I was looking to engage someone I would be naturally interested in their relevant experience – they don’t make it to the interview stage without it. But I’m interested in the so-called ‘irrelevant experience’ also. Most of all I’m interested in how they think. I want to get a size and appreciation of the person.
I might ask a candidate what their take is on the Trump- Clinton dynamic. It’s left field, but in their response you catch a glimpse into the individual. It’s provocative and maybe even controversial, but the dull and predictable produces dull and predictable results. While I’m interested in what side of the equation they come down on, I’m more interested in how they work through such an unexpected question. How do they think on their feet? How do they articulate their thoughts? What are their reasoning skills like? What communication style do they have?
I’m interested in what people have done, but the truth is that for many tasks there are well established formulas to follow. A recitation of that is sufficient to explain the steps in an achieved outcome. What will they do tomorrow though? How will they approach that? How will they interact and communicate? How do they think? What do they see?
The role I interviewed for Monday was in a function I once managed. There’s no doubt I have the expertise and experience, but in actual fact there was not one question about any of that. Instead the two of them referred to the sheet of paper in front of them, asking questions off it and ticking them off. I felt like crying out, folks, I’m over here.
Fortunately the manager of the area sought a second, less formal meeting. She was very impressed by my experience and expertise she said, the only reservation she had was how passionate I was.
I sort of get this. I don’t like it, but I get it. I run cool. First and foremost I’m a rational man. It’s rare that emotion is my first response. I approach things intellectually and size them up, and then respond. I’m almost always calm and collected. I used to get told all the time how nonchalant I appear, except that it’s not nonchalance at all, or even reserve, it’s just the way I receive things.
It’s why I’ve survived so long. I can separate the things worth worrying about from the things I can do nothing about. I’ve kept the temperature down because mostly I don’t take it personally, and because I’ve figured things out, even if I don’t have an answer.
Generally you would think these are worthwhile attributes, especially in pressure, decision focused roles. Except that it seems people misread it and it frustrates the bejesus out of me – these pages are evidence of passion and curiosity and perpetual engagement. They’re mine though, and there’s nothing that says I have to put it on display.
It’s not that I don’t feel, it’s just that I keep it hidden from the world unless I choose to share it. The one exception to that is that when I’m moved tears come to my eyes, and that’s quite regularly.
The good news is that I was able to convince this lady that actually I was both passionate and driven – and so at 6pm last night discovered the job was mine. Onwards and upwards from here…