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Successfully acing the Interviews ::
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The Beware Factor

Interview: 10.00 AM
What if......
I hire him…
He wins Pitches…
Impresses Clients
Mr. Popular…
He Takes my Job!!!
So, I better not hire him.

What we discussed in the last issue on "The Beware Factor" has been amply demonstrated in the recent ad on TV by Nokia.

The power of negative imaging generates fear in the hiring manager – and it is a power that is abundantly & universally present among all professionals. Hiring manager, therefore, tend not to select people who appear better than them

One notable exception was Henry Rockefeller. He was asked by a news magazine as to what was the secret of his success.
"I always select professionals better than me."

The stark reality is that almost cent per cent of hiring managers either go for a professional appearing a shade or a couple of shades lower in ability. The hiring manager is not the owner of the organisation, and he doesn’t want to have nightmares about losing his job. He find the easiest solution: REJECT THIS MAN under one pretext or another.

So where is the solution for the candidate?.

Either try to appear a shade lower than the interviewer or try to appear like his alter ego (again a shade lower) as a bit of narcissism is present in everybody. You see your face everyday in the mirror & never hate it. Even Mogambo likes himself. Being a hiring manager’s alter ego needs a careful research of the interviewer both offline, before the interview and online during the interview. Relating is a deadly tool & coupled with Alter ego tool generates a strong Potion to effectively nip the "The Beware Factor" in the bud.

Common Ground

One of my readers could not fully understand the Relating concept & called me up. He was to appear in an interview in a durables company & the hiring manager was some Bannerjee. He thought that relating meant the interviewer would select one of his Relations or a Bengali fellow. It took me half an hour to explain the concept of relating which is Continually Building Common Ground. You are not being interviewed for a govt. job where Bhai Bhatijabaad(nepotism) matters the most. It is a case of one of the private sector organisations, where delivery & results are most important. Selection tool "Relating" dwells on the comfort level. More the comfort level you can generate into the mind of the hiring manager, better are your chances of selection.

Now, why the hell he is looking for comfort level? Because, he would find himself comfortable in generating results for the company with you as a subordinate. Comfort level, Relating Concept and Beware factors have been sufficiently discussed.

Another psychographic factor I am gonna discuss now is "Handle Tool Factor".

Interview the Company

When you go for the interview, "Interview companies for your job - don’t let them interview you".
For most job seekers, this is an important attitudinal distinction. Many of us forget that the decision to accept a position is far more critical for us than it is for the employer. If they make a mistake, they just go through the recruiting process again. You, on the other hand, have invested an amount of your professional lifetime that is gone forever. Viewing it that way, your "selection" takes on a different perspective.

A majority of job seekers go to the interview simply to get grilled. You don’t get an opportunity for asking any questions during an interview, except sometimes in the end. The interviewer is bombarding you unknown missiles & you are trying your best to answer. The "Handle Tool Factor" helps you in turning unknown missiles into known missiles. You ask a small question or make a statement somewhere in the beginning, so that the subject of discussion revolves throughout around your expertise. For example, In case you are exceptionally good in network marketing and you have done enough homework on knowing the weak points of the interviewing company in marketing, casually mention in the beginning itself that you know the company is facing problems in network marketing. Now, most of the questions shot by the interviewer will be known missiles & will revolve around the subject of your core-competence. Other nasty questions on your probable weak links elsewhere will most probably be warded off. In the final analysis, you don’t get a job — you pick one. You must develop an attitude of not falling prey to the unpredictable situations but instead try to foster or help create development of a situation favourable to you.

How much do you expect?

How much do you expect? This is the most frequently asked question in an interview. Giving a figure right in the beginning to the HRD gatekeepers doesn’t help. If you need a job badly & that too on your terms, try to delay answering this question till the interview with the hiring manager is over. As a headhunter, I have utilised this delaying tactic in getting higher salaries for candidates I have sent to my clients. I train the applicant into replying differently to the HRD folks in the first phase, or otherwise HRD will bid him good bye, feeling he is expensive or is not cost effective without realizing his worth (the worth can be realized by the hiring head only).

Once you have the hiring manager on your side i.e., he has started liking you immensely, it is the time to play your "Taking Advantage of the Situation" card. Now you ask for a higher salary & you get it only because suddenly the hiring manager is pleading with the HRD into hiring you as he has developed a strong feeling that you would be an asset to him (probably he has realized that you alone can put, let’s say, the hydraulic system in order, or lift the dwindling market share) and he is damn interested in preserving the asset.

Normally the jobseekers give in right in the beginning. Either they are outrightly rejected for asking for too much, or they settle for too little or even peanuts as they know they need the job badly & they don’t risk negotiation. Job seekers who give "yes, but…" excuses for accepting less than they’re worth suffer from Negotiating Impairment Syndrome, which is characterized by a discounting or outright denial of opportunities to negotiate for more money.

Back to Mr. Disaster

Lemme continue with Mr. Disaster attending a mock interview session with me.
Now, I am sick of this man & shoot a question to him. "You left company XYZ in January 1984 & joined company ABC in October 1985. What were you doing all these months? The man, who was no longer slouching, starts tapping his foot more furiously. This is fidgeting. It is criminal to indulge in fidgeting like playing with your hair, clicking pen tops, tapping feet or unconsciously touching parts of the body. Nobody likes others indulging in fidgeting & rejection in the interview is guaranteed 100%.

I have been trying in vain to make eye contact with him for the last 25 minutes. You must build chemistry with the interviewer by looking the interviewer in the eye. You don’t want to stare, as this shows aggression. Occasionally, and nonchalantly, glance at the interviewer’s hand as he is speaking. By constantly looking around the room while you are talking, you convey a lack of confidence or discomfort with what is being discussed. The bugger is nervously giving incoherent reply to my question on the gap in service again without eye contact. Check your CV for possible gaps! Make sure you know how you are going to explain time gaps on your CV. Write down and practice possible questions! Writing them down and practicing them with someone will make it easier to remember when you get to the interview.

Mr. Disaster is nervous? Neither being nervous nor being incoherent helps. Both these unwanted traits drive the final nail into the coffin. Take a deep breath and remember you’ve already passed the first test, generally a screening of your resume by either a placement consultant or HRD fellas or by both. You better know they’re interested or they wouldn’t be taking the time to interview you. Therefore, go into the interview knowing you’ve already got them on the hook. Be confident, yet not boastful.

I think space constraints signal me to sign off now.
No two interviews are the same, so you can’t plan exactly how the interview will go, but it is important to have a Interview Strategy. It is imperative that you face the interview as a selling meeting; meaning building personal chemistry and establishing an open dialogue for free information exchange.

Success is not necessarily what you say, but how you say it.

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