Lee Grossman sends in his thoughts about persisting towards a professional position he wants. I think the most important line in here is, "In addition to sending off the all-important thank you email, crafting emails at fairly regular intervals in between interviews is also a prerequisite to staying in the race. As was the case for myself, a 1-month gap took place in between my first and second interviews. I am certain that were it not for my persistence in staying on the hiring manager’s radar, there would have been a far greater chance that I would not have made it through to round 2." - I wanted to highlight that, that's a key insight. Okay, here's Lee -
Really enjoying your blog posts! You seem to have this knack for always touching on relevant and practical topics that add value and meaning to my life as well as I’m sure a great deal of your readership.
On that note, I thought I would write a little piece on something that recently transpired for myself and that I feel would align well with the experiences of those in the midst of job-hunting. So without further adieu…
Persistence Pays Off
The search for the ideal job is as much art as it is science. Crafting the perfect resume and cover letter, meeting all the necessary requirements (deadlines, qualifications, etc.) and navigating your way through the mysterious web that companies like to call “HR” are all critical elements to being considered for an interview. However, once you are in the door, the rest is dependent on your ability to persuade those in positions of hiring authority that you possess the right mix of professional capabilities and personal characteristics absent from the other candidates.
To provide a little context of my own experiences, I recently interviewed for a position within the Global Consulting & Research division of a top-tier bank. When all was said and done, I ended up going through 5 rounds of interviews; met with the hiring manager, interviewed with a senior individual, completed a research assignment, interviewed with 5 team members and finally interviewed with the group head. The whole process from end-to-end took around 2.5 months. Job offer was extended to me last week.
To say that I was up against stiff competition would be an understatement. Did I like my chances from the very beginning? Not really. Not that I didn’t think I was qualified enough for the role, but when you are up against at least 100 other people, all it takes is a tiny slip up on your end or some crazy differentiating factor (Harvard MBA, ex-McKinsey Consultant, son of Bill Gates) from one of your competitors that shines right through and appeals to the hiring manager.
What I have come to learn is that none of this is within your control. That said, it is simply not worth the effort to sweat over factors out of your reach and let it consume your thoughts and actions. The key in working your way through the interviewing process is to first only concern yourself with your own actions and the variables that you are able to influence. This element is HUGE and something that often hinders people from moving forward before they really even get started.
Another crucial component to being successful in the interviewing process is to leave a lasting impression on the people that you meet with. It is almost safe to say that follow-up emails are standard practice these days but many seem to overlook this. While you are simply a number at this stage of the game (mid-interviews), failing to send a note thanking the individual you met with for their time and consideration is almost certainly a recipe for getting lost in the shuffle. In addition to sending off the all-important thank you email, crafting emails at fairly regular intervals in between interviews is also a prerequisite to staying in the race. As was the case for myself, a 1-month gap took place in between my first and second interviews. I am certain that were it not for my persistence in staying on the hiring manager’s radar, there would have been a far greater chance that I would not have made it through to round 2.
I want to leave you all with one lasting thought. At the end of the day, those in the driver’s seat are looking to bring aboard someone that fits within the mold of their company/group’s culture. They want to be able to say to themselves, “this is the kind of person I know I can have a beer with at the end of the week or get stuck in an airport with.” If you fail to pass this basic test of humanity, your chances of getting the golden ticket are unlikely to say the least. That said, be proud to show off your character and your human side when interviewing for a role. Let out a laugh or two, smile, and above all else, displaying eye contact is the quickest way to one’s soul.
Best of luck to you all!
Gorilla Theory says: We're all a bunch of fucking gorillas, and acknowledging this and acting accordingly will lead to better results.
So today was Saturday, I was hanging out in the office trying to catch up on work when one of my younger staff come in. He's German, really high upside and talented guy. I hired him to do sales because he's got iron willpower, he's massively cocky, he understands rapid learning, and he's fanatic about measurement and metrics and systems-thinking. When interviewing and I asked him to rate himself on a scale of 1 to 10 in every skill, he gave himself mostly 10's. When "sales skills" came up, he said, "I've never done sales... but once I get started, I think 8 out of 10."
This, of course, rubs people the wrong way. My colleague had a, "Who the fuck is this kid?" type reaction. Me? I love it! I told him during our second interview that he's either an A-player or an F-player, and asked him some questions as to whether he's coachable, whether he can learn, how he handles (inevitable) rejection, etc, and I took him on.
He's blowing my expectations away.
One of many things I admire about my dad is his persistence. This is demonstrated through his desire to be self sufficient. On the other hand it has taken me a lifetime to develop this skill. It may have taken him a while also, but I can only speak to the time I have known him.
Recently I tested my own persistence and self sufficiency with my lawn mower. It is is 25 years old. My son had been using it for a lawn service this summer, so it had received far more use than in the first 25 years. As a result a back wheel had disintegrated.
I went first to the local hardware where I purchase a generic wheel. First the wrong size. Next I realized the wheel needing replacement had a gear in it. New mowers are $300. I am frugal in some ways. The mower has a good engine. So I decided to order a replacement part. Once it arrived I was able to quickly fix the mower. Right parts + right tools = success.
Years ago this would not have happened. Maybe the first part of the sequence, but not the outcome. I had failed many times in the past and my reaction had been that I was somehow deficient. Why didn't I know how to do everything? (Note see posts on ego).