- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Ships from: san francisco, CA
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
What an Interview is Really About
Employers and job candidates alike tend to get lost in the formalities of the interview. These formalities include a slew of standard interview questions that are almost meaningless, except that they produce a lot of anxiety. People forget that there are just a few core questions that an interview is intended to answer. All the other nerve-racking questions are mostly fluff. They can cost you the job if you let them become more important than they really are. In this chapter, I will discuss in detail what interviewing is really all about. I will teach you how to focus your interviews on what's important, and how to use your newfound understanding to make your interviews comfortable and successful.
Knowing how to think about job hunting is more important than just having a collection of techniques that you can whip out when you need them. You must consider your approach carefully before you act. You won't be doing this alone. We will walk together through some fundamental concepts that will help you to understand why the most common job hunting methods don't work. We'll also take a look at the misconceptions that may have caused you to waste your time in the past.
I don't expect you to change your way of thinking about finding a job just because I say you should. I am also not claiming that you will improve the way you interview if you just follow ten easy steps. But if you devote the energy required to think about and practice the ideas presented in this book, a big light should go on in your head, and job hunting will never be the samefor you.
Most people don't know certain things about job hunting and interviewing because they don't do it for a living like a headhunter does. (If you've been out of a job for a long time, you might think hunting for a job is a full-time job. It's not. Don't let it become one.) The first thing the headhunter knows that you don't is this: interviewing is not about what you think it is about. Interviewing is not about being asked questions about yourself. It is not about your credentials or your past jobs. It is not about salaries. It is not about job descriptions. It is not about titles.
Interviewing is not about where you see yourself in five years. It is not about your weaknesses or your strengths. It is not about your most challenging experience or greatest accomplishments. It is not about wearing the right clothes or about being aggressive. It is not about answering questions or getting an offer.
Interviewing is about the job.
The Four Questions
You can judge every job opportunity by applying the Four Questions. The Four Questions will reveal your knowledge, attitude, and ability regarding a specific job. These are the true sources of success in any interview, because they are the things an employer needs to know.
1. Do you understand the job that needs to be done?
2. Can you do the job?
3. Can you do the job the way the employer wants it done?
4. Can you do the job profitably for the company?
If you can answer yes to each question and do so honestly, your chances of winning the job offer will be excellent. Yet, one of the most frequent responses I hear from job hunters is, "Are you kidding? Answering those questions about every job I apply for would be a lot of hard work!" My reply is always the same: "So is any good job, isn't it? Why should anyone offer you the job if you won't do the hard work necessary to prove you're right for it?"
If you can answer yes to the Four Questions for a particular job, you'll eliminate almost all doubt and anxiety from your mind when you enter the interview. You will be powerful, you'll be relaxed, and you be one of the best candidates the employer will meet because you will know there is a match between you and the job.
The Power of the Four Questions
The Four Questions will serve as your guide to many aspects of work, including finding work, winning the right job, doing your job, becoming better at your job, and keeping your job.
The Four Questions will help you find the right job by helping you to avoid the wrong jobs--as well as potentially disastrous interviews. Always keep in mind that if you are considering a work opportunity but cannot answer the Four Questions, you probably have not done your homework. My suggestion is, don't go on the interview at all--you'll bomb. If you've asked and answered the Four Questions and all the answers aren't yes, the job is not right for you or you're not right for the job. Because the Four Questions will give you an in-depth understanding of every job opportunity you consider, you'll be able to select only the jobs that are right for you. In turn, that understanding will give you an incredible edge over every other candidate.
How will the Four Questions help you win the right job? Because in the course of answering them all with a yes, you will:
Q: How did you get started in this business?
A: My start was unusual for the headhunting business. I joined a firm right out of grad school. I had just earned an M.A. in cognitive psychology from Stanford and found myself job hunting in the middle of Silicon Valley, which I knew nothing about. I targeted three potential careers: commercial real estate, management consulting, and headhunting. I joined a small search firm, where I learned the basics. I quickly realized that the best way to develop relationships in the Valley was to be honest and to ask questions, to never pretend I knew something when I didn't. Because of the fast-changing and highly technical nature of the electronics industry, this was critical. Insiders recognized phonies immediately. That was a joke. I let the clients and candidates I worked with tutor me. They shared their knowledge and insight generously and enthusiastically when they felt you were more than just another salesman. So my clients taught me more about how to be a good headhunter than any other headhunter ever did. Headhunting boils down to one thing: sharing useful information with the right people at the right time. And the key, as I discuss in my book, is to make an investment in knowledge before you address anyone about a job.
Q: What was it like being a headhunter in California's Silicon Valley?
A: It was incredibly satisfying to match a person to a job and affect the standard of living and future of their living. It was especially fun to relocate families from the East Coast and watch their reaction to the quality of life in northern California. But for most headhunters it was a grind, a sales job like any other. My partner at the time, Harry Hamlin, to whom the book is dedicated, taught me that integrity was the coin of the realm. And he was right. Most of the competition was out to make a quick buck, and they sank quickly, too. That left very little real competition. The depth of the relationships Harry taught me to form made the business more exciting than anything I could have imagined. Once a good headhunter earned the trust and respect of the Silicon Valley community, business almost came by itself. The headhunter is at the same time a hub and a channel of insider information. When people rely on you to use that information judiciously, and for their benefit, you get incredible satisfaction from making deals happen. The Valley was a volatile place. I loved being in the middle of it, helping things along.
Q: How would you describe the current job market compared with years past?
A: I love seeing the monthly unemployment figures: up and down, up and down. And the government and the media make so much of it. It's all bunk. Any good headhunter will tell you that the job market never changes. It's always good. One of my big clients in the Valley was Memorex, a manufacturer of mainframe computer disk drives. When the electronics industry took a dive in the '80s, I remember my terror when I saw the headline: "Memorex Lays Off Thousands." An hour later I got a call from a Memorex executive. "We've got these new openings. They're critical. Can we get to work on finding good candidates?" I learned a very important lesson. Any significant company that's laying people off out one door is hiring other people who can contribute profitably to the bottom line -- no matter what the economy is doing. I recently did a project for AT&T, coaching downsized managers in how to find new jobs. The company was still hiring. Never use "the job market" as a gauge of opportunity. If you're good at what you do, and you focus on making your employer more profitable and successful, there's always work for you to do at a good salary.
Q: Have you read anything recently that you would strongly recommend?
A: Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. Anyone who needs to revitalize their "American work ethic" should read it. It should be taught in every school. American media -- newspapers, magazines, TV news -- are rife with ill-considered conclusions about life and opportunity in our country. Opinion polls are presented as news, and people mistake others' opinions as the truth. That's why job hunting is so depressing -- everyone tells you how difficult they think it is. Few pundits think carefully anymore, or present anything other than attention-getting drivel. I regularly read Robert Samuelson in Newsweek, John Rutledge in Forbes, and Bob Lewis in Infoworld. They're my regular dose of reality. My best reminder of the importance of thinking for yourself is a book called The Motley Fool Investment Guide, by David and Tom Gardner. It will remind you that your success -- financial and otherwise -- depends on you, not on "experts."