The “Let’s Catch You” Interview

ImageI had a great learning experience last month I kept on meaning to write about. I was on the other side of the table as the “interviewee”. Not totally foreign territory, especially since I do primarily contract work in change management, system overhaul, risk assessment, and policy development, for anywhere between 2weeks-2years for a single company, nevermind the policy writing and training seminars I hold on the side. However, a lot of my work has me by recommendation so the interview process is very lax and usually involves a CAO/CSO, Director, and possibly a senior management personnel or the former HR (yes, the one who either quit or was let go), and myself having lunch or a brief meeting on what my proposal for the company is, and how we can tailor it specifically for their needs. This interview however was just stellar.

I met with the CAO, and the HR Director. Originally it appeared to be laid back, however the questions were so broad and general, and yet they sought such specific details, it kind of threw me for a loop-but in a good way. The questions were designed to see if you were telling the truth. Bravo! Questions such as, What do you think your day would look like? (as opposed to, list some of your typical tasks) How do you think managing employees would be best here? (as opposed to, what’s you’re management style) What kind of retention programs would you like to implement? (as opposed to, how do you earn the trust and build relationships to keep employees) What do you think it would be like to coach our team of Executives and Floor Manufacturers? (as opposed to, how do you build relationships with people), etc…. And then mid interview they expressed that they would give me an opportunity to ask questions now, but not at the end. Huh. Interesting….. I realized they give no room for error. How great is that! It allows basic human error, as people are supposed to have nervous reactions to stressors, however it makes it much harder to bluff your way through basic tasks and responsibilities that you should already know about. I must say, this is my new favorite interview technique! Good on them!

As it was, congratulations are present, as I was offered the job. After pulling their files on interviews, I have no idea who their former trainer and change manager was, but they were a genius! The questions and programs are a goldmine. I wish more people took this initiative in their career!


10 thoughts on “The “Let’s Catch You” Interview

  1. Sounds like the exact opposite of my last interview. I did a two-fer, as I was applying to two divisions of Sears Financial (way back in 1991). The HR person talked to me for about 5 minutes, confirming all my details (schooling, past jobs, etc.), then turned me over to two fellow mainframe programmers. After about 10 minutes of hemming and hawing, we ended chatting about something silly – a sci-fi show, or something, my memory fails. Oh, for a fast but tight interview!
    Congratulations, and Happy New Year!

    • Haha, sounds like a good interview! :) It’s funny because sometimes, (I find especially with people who value personality and character), it can be the little things like a tv show, common interest, or something… that seals the deal. I’m glad you fit into their workplace culture! And thank you for the congratulations!

      • Oh, but I didn’t! Well, I fit in better than my first job at Ameritech. At the time, I was single and flying all over the country going to sci-fi conventions. I frequently ended up with duplicate autographs, so I brought a number to my work cube – all of them from women, I should add. I quickly found out that my cube had officially become the 2nd place visitors from the Bell Operating Companies checked in, immediately following reporting to our highest-rank manager, 3 levels above me. (Mind you, the B&W photo of the truly gorgeous Grace Lee Whitney with an autograph of “To John, my very special friend, thanks for everything” really sealed my rep – I had been her escort on a cruise and that was part of my reward. :D )
        I only weirded out the Sears folk on Halloweens. Especially the year I wore my chain mail and my 54″ long two-handed sword, along with two others. Everybody steered WAY clear of me that day, for some odd reason…. 8O

        • Oh dear, really?! Haha, if you wore chainmail into my work, you’d be hero! lol I just love that good ‘ol medieval craftsmanship! :) Your work sounds lucky to have had an enthusiastic character though. I wish more people had their own sense of character.

  2. it’s always difficult to discern if a person truly knows their subject matter. I know someone who hired an accounting guy who had all the buzz, wasn’t able to do the work. It’s easy to ask questions that lead the interviewee to seem to be the person we want them to be.

    • I would agree. Sometimes I think we are too concerned with being “nice” in an interview when really there is a terrifying amount of people that lie about their credentials and fraudulently represent themselves. Yikes!

    • For sure, relevant and spot on. My work is always interesting to see because you must be put in the field before you can do anything else. It’s sort of “sink or swim”, and if you sink- well then, don’t come back! You find out fast, but it can be a let down if you really like someone.

  3. As an HR professional, interviewing techniques do hold a special bit of interest for me. When I was a manager our interviews were very structured. It took me years to figure out the wiggle room within the structure to get the best out of the interviews. Congrats on getting the job. You’ll be wonderful at it I’m sure. Change management is always such a bold endeavor.

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