Stupid Interview Mistakes: Being a Drone | No BS Job Search Advice Radio

Stupid Interview Mistakes: Being a Drone

EP 886 Jeff discusses two examples of people who did not toe the line and what happened afterward.

Stupid Interview Mistakes: Being a Drone | No BS Job Search Advice Radio

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There are these two articles I've seen recently that really spoke well to unconventional responses to unconventional situations.

The first one was a cover letter story. It involved an intern and the young man (and I know it was a young man) wrote to a senior individual at a fund or an investment firm in New York. It's probably a better way to describe them and what he did very simply was write a letter that basically said you know, " I know that I've gone to mediocre school. I had good grades with a bad school. You normally don't hire people like me. You consider people like me for internships. However what I'll do is whatever you want me to do. You want me to get coffee I'll get coffee. Want me to shine shoes? I will shine shoes… whatever it takes, I will do in order to get this opportunity." And he wound up getting hired for the internship and he's there and he is there now on full time staff.

So, what does this really say? Well, I'll give you another example. This one came from an article I saw yesterday on LinkedIn that Liz Ryan wrote and the article basically described the situation where a woman went for an interview. She's kept waiting for about 15 minutes. And, at that point, she's invited in to speak with H.R. and H.R. has a cup of coffee and doesn't offer anything. So she responds by saying, " Oh, coffee great! I haven't had a chance to have any today. Can I have a cup as well?" The H.R. person was kind of stunned and you kind of pointed toward the break room was where someone helps her with getting a cup which was the guest mug and things like that. Then, she comes back and she sits down in the room in the interview room with the H.R. person who then says, " You have 20 minutes. Impress me."

And the response that she gave was, "If that's what you want me to do, I'll just sit here and have my coffee and you can leave. BBut I have no intention of doing that."

So after a minute or two of a staredown, the person started to ask conventional questions. She didn't expect to hear back but did a day or two later from the hiring manager who said, "I heard that you had spunk. I like to talk with you."

There's a message that you should take away from here and I hope the one is they are looking for real people. They are looking for clones. And if they are, it's not good to be you. Do not conform to behavioral things that are going to subjugate you to torment . . . particularly on a first interview. If you're in a situation where you're trying to get an internship or trying to break into or for firm, taking a tried and true method is going to get you the tried and true results. Better to do something that makes you standout.

Also go the extra step of saying that if you're put in the situation of having a tormenting interview like this woman was offered up, the best thing to do is kind of slap it away because obviously you wouldn't want to go to work there anyway and get to the other side.

In her case, she was able to break down the resistance that the HR person had to we're giving a more typical interview and got invited on to the hiring manager. Maybe that works for you. Maybe it doesn't. But so what? It's like if they're not going to allow you to get any further because you're not going to be all performing monkey with an organ grinder there for them, trying to guess what it is that they want you to do in order to move on, that you are going to want to move on to the next person that you are going to want to work for their firm, better to just do something different and break down the doors in as gentle a way as this woman did and move on.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game HunterJeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2200 episodes.

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