4 Tips to Ace Your Interview : Un-Anchor and Sail Into Your Next Job

These are advanced interview techniques that came to mind after reading this very good article on the basics of interview prep. H/T to Major Lindsey & Africa.

ROLE PLAY – If you are currently employed, and you are taking an interview for a new job, leave behind your current job title and company affiliation, leave behind your frustration with the corporate expense report software, leave behind your favorite client account. Leave it behind and be a clean slate to write a whole new direction. If you aren’t employed, leave behind your “unemployed” identity. Be fully present so you can try on your new identity. What does it feel like to be in this new role, company, team?

WIFM? – The person across the table from you believes you have something of value to them, whether its skills, information or relationships. Be clear about what you are going to do for them and this company – what can you do, right now, today? If you aren’t sure point your questions to show you are finding a place to add value, ask about other team members and their strengths, ask about the direction of the product or services, ask about the efficiency of their workflow. Ask directly what is the pain/need on the team today? How can you make a contribution, and will it make you more valuable in the future?

PRETEND YOU HAVE THE JOB ON MONDAY – The interviewer is desperately hoping you are the person to fill this job. They want you to be the one to put an end to this search. Act as if you are going to start on Monday. In sales this is called a presumptive close. I don’t mean, act cocky. I mean, put yourself in the situation – you can even use the words, “So if I started on Monday…” to direct your questions, to present your value “I would do…” Can you succeed on Monday?

DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF – Some candidates I talk to, even senior ones, can get insistent on vacation days, pay increases, commutes, working hours or working from home policies. This is especially true if you have established credibility in a position which has allowed you some flexibility to shape these elements of your work-life. Set aside these issues, until you are in a position to negotiate them. The more you leave open (un-anchor) the more leverage you'll have on the things that matter to you. If it’s a no-work-from-home blanket policy you should know that, but during your interviews you should shy away from specifics and avoid appearing demanding. Wait to demand when you have leverage. Then you are free to ask, "What really matters?", in the offer negotiation.

All four of these techniques will help you un-anchor from the labels, limitations and expectations you are putting on yourself today, and allow you to fully experience an interview as a future employee.

How LinkedIn is Scaling Marketing Ops

Above: Ian Scherr of CNET, Nicolas Draca of LinkedIn Image Credit: Michael O'Donnell/VentureBeat

Above: Ian Scherr of CNET, Nicolas Draca of LinkedIn
Image Credit: Michael O'Donnell/VentureBeat

At GrowthBeat, Nicolas Draca, Head of Global Marketing Operations for LinkedIn gave three secrets to their success in rapidly scaling the team.

  1. Culture fit first.  All staff have veto power in the interview process. 
  2. Express your passion.  LinkedIn is looking for "owners."
  3. Know the next move.  Always look ahead to growing the team and paths for individual players.

LinkedIn is constantly looking to train individuals in their ability to interact and influence.  A skill they believe helps employees be more effective leaders on internal teams, but undoubtedly a skill that helps in promoting the business to partners and end-customers alike.

Recruiting Women Execs: Women 2.0

I recently attended Women 2.0, where female founders, CEOs, investors and executives gathered.  I was inspired by mentors Leah Busque of TaskRabbit and Glam Media cofounder Dianna Mullins insight into how they defined their company culture, recruited staff and built teams through various stages of growth. In the midst of all this leaning-in, one (male) panelist ,a  recruiter with well-known executive staffing agency, threw out some sobering stats: out of 330 searches only 16% were filled with female executives, and the majority of positions filled by women were in HR and Marketing. The candidate pool was reported to be a similar statistic - that only 15-20% were women for top executive positions.

His advice: more women should learn to code. This recruiter's firm has no female partners on the West Coast. He has worked with only 4-5 female investors, and less than 6% of their clients had women founders and CEOs.

I'm not sure if there's some comfort in pointing out that recruiters are sourcing candidates that their clients will hire. And finding candidates with the cultural fit, founder fit, fit with the hiring manager is what great recruiters do. The candidate pool and the hired executives are going to reflect what his client companies ask for not necessarily a representation of the overall talent pool.   So if you want to hire more women - and attention bros, diversity of your workforce has been shown to produce innovation, Silicon Valley's holy grail - start asking for more women. A good recruiter will fill binders for you.

Or if you don't want to hire women, you can always name the interview room the "Bromance Chamber."

WHY INVEST IN FUNDRAISING?

"Philanthropy is the Market for Love," says Aids Ride founder and activist, Dan Pallota, and we are looking at non-profits all wrong.    In this persuasive analysis of the way we handicap the non-profit sector in five areas, he presents a case that puts fundraising and capacity building on the same footing with investments in the for-profit sector.

But if it's a logical world in which investment in fundraising actually raises more funds and makes the pie bigger, then we have it precisely backwards, and we should be investing more money, not less, in fundraising, because fundraising is the one thing that has the potential to multiply the amount of money available for the cause that we care about so deeply.

 

TWESUMES, RLLY?

funny

Twitter "is becoming the new résumé,"  reports the WSJ, with quaint accent aigus .  At least this story is clearly labelled in the "trend" column because there is nothing in it to suggest that Twitter is somehow disintermediating the job hunting powerhouse LinkedIn, good old fashioned face to face networking or the industry standard, resume (with or without accent aigu).  Once again, social media is imbued with special power it doesn't deserve. Twitter is simply networking in 140 characters. Best response to the WSJ article.

When hiring a social media expert, a community manager, or a Pinterest intern, the Twitter platform and its Twesumes are just the thing. When hiring a CFO or a Category Manager, those guys better be busy mastering spreadsheet macros, not spending alot of time on hashtags.    Reporters love social media, "#twesumes #trending!" and they love promoting their stories so they live on these platforms, so therefore it must be an important trend.

ON BEING PROVOCATIVE

provocative

You know you're supposed to be "doing" social media marketing, so you are reposting interesting content, commenting on other people's news, and possibly offering professional advice.  But if you have to ask the question, "Is anyone reading this post?"  The answer is probably, no. Tumblr real estate post

Playing it safe with general interest content will guarantee you don't get heckled or defriended but it also will probably relegate you to invisibility.  Effective content typically offers a provocative point of view, from a credible subject matter expert.   How do you walk the fine line between stimulating and offensive to keep people's attention?

In a recent campaign to drive awareness for a new luxury real estate broker, we applied the same principals that have been established in B2B demand generation. When you are developing a content strategy start first with the reptilian mind of your target customer, find a unique perspective and offer helpful information.    Go backwards in the buying process and engage the buyer as they are learning about their need, and researching their options.

1. What is keeping them awake at night that you can help them with? 2. What unique perspective can you offer? 3. What information, tools and resources can be truly helpful?

We asked what life event triggers cause a shift in home buying or selling decisions.   In the case of a divorce, up to three real estate deals could be up for grabs:  a joint property sale and two new purchases.

Suggesting that you should think about what you'll do with your joint property in a divorce, is not your usual real estate message, but we went with Divorce Your House or Your Spouse? A Checklist for Joint Property Decisions.

Is it a gratuitous headline grabber?  Yes. And it resulted in a 67% open rate and a 27% click through rate.  The article itself generated multiple reposts and comments as well as replies.   It engaged the audience in a dialogue and serves to keep Katrina top of mind with her prospects.

Why, because 50% of your audience is reading your email newsletter while lying in bed next to their spouse thinking about getting divorced.  Since a majority of real estate deals are secured through referrals, she is building a long-term pipeline.

 

GET MORE DONE, IN LESS TIME, MORE SUSTAINABLY

Be Excellent By Working Less In a recent Opinion Ed at NYTimes, Relax! You'll Be More Productive, Tony Schwartz author of “Be Excellent at Anything”  recounts the research proving over and over that performance is tied to rejuvenation and humans are "meant to pulse between spending and recovering energy."

Here are a few of the stats:

GET MORE SLEEP

- study of nearly 400 employees, published last year, researchers found that sleeping too little — defined as less than six hours each night — was one of the best predictors of on-the-job burn-out.

-  Stanford researcher Cheri D. Mah found that when she got male basketball players to sleep 10 hours a night, their performances in practice dramatically improved: free-throw and three-point shooting each increased by an average of 9 percent.

TAKE VACATIONS

- In 2006, the accounting firm Ernst & Young did an internal study of its employees and found that for each additional 10 hours of vacation employees took, their year-end performance ratings from supervisors (on a scale of one to five) improved by 8 percent. Frequent vacationers were also significantly less likely to leave the firm.

WORK In 90 MINUTE INTERVALS

- Professor K. Anders Ericsson and his colleagues at Florida State University have studied elite performers, including musicians, athletes, actors and chess players. In each of these fields, Dr. Ericsson found that the best performers typically practice in uninterrupted sessions that last no more than 90 minutes. They begin in the morning, take a break between sessions, and rarely work for more than four and a half hours in any given day.

To this I'll add one additional suggestion.

DELEGATE STRATEGICALLY!