Interview the interviewer
with George Wordlaw // @WordlawIII
Favorite ice cream: Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla
First job: McDonald’s
Current job: Product Specialist at Unitive
What’s the secret sauce you look for in every candidate?
There is one thing, or secret sauce, rather that I look for in every candidate and that is self-confidence. Even if you’ve shown me that you have the right competencies for the job I have available, if you don’t believe you can do it, then neither will I.. There is something about when an interviewee is not only qualified, but they also believe that they are the person for the job—that will absolutely come out in their interview. Self-confident people can’t help but be noticed. They are usually extremely positive and have the ability to see problems as opportunities. This is a clear advantage in the recruitment process and can ultimately be a deciding factor when hiring. Every interviewer loves a candidate who knows what they want and has a clear plan on how they’re going to get it. I truly think this is the single most important way to woo your interviewer. As you grow in your career, knowledge, and expertise and have more successes in life, you will naturally become more confident when interviewing. Experience and confidence usually go hand in hand. This makes it very important to always continue searching for avenues to increase in areas you’re interested in. Seek assistance from relevant books, the web, training courses, and a mentor. Good resources and a commitment to study will give you all the confidence you need. Yes, the secret sauce for me is self-confidence.
What’s one way an interviewer has impressed you?
When asked this question one particular interviewee stands out to me. Several years back a young lady walked into our small conference room and at first glance I assumed the interview wouldn’t be much different from previous interviews. At best I’d hoped to find a candidate that matched the position, at the very least I’d meet a budding young professional. As I proceeded into the interview process the initial Q&A was average, however as I began asking about specific skill sets, thus “putting the ball in her court” so to speak, the interview took off! The interviewee highlighted a few of her best skill sets and strategically wove them into 1-2 minute short story form examples. The interviewee paired her skill sets with specific instances of challenge and how those challenges presented her with the opportunity to showcase the skillset. As an interviewer I am trained to transcribe the answers given so that I do not forget the skills of each interviewee, however no one forgets a good story! After a while I could not wait to ask the next question in anticipation of the next answer or short story. Her answers gave me a more intimate look into her character. I was able to ascertain that her values were aligned with the values of the company. It was apparent she had done her homework in preparing for her interview and she was excited for the opportunity to work with our company. Very impressive.
What was your first job interview like?
My first job was at a McDonald’s. It seems like so long ago, but I still remember how frightened I was to be interviewed for the first time. When I got the call that they wanted to interview me I was very excited. I didn’t sleep at all that night. When I arrived the interviewer made me feel really comfortable. He was very laid back and told me to relax. When looking back now the job questions were not that difficult, but back then they sounded as challenging and complex as a technical engineering interview! To a 16-year old, “Why do you want to work for McDonald’s?” is as daunting a question as talking about implementing a robust testing strategy would be to a brand new software developer. Not knowing any of the things I know now about the interview process I was just grateful that I made it through it. It was a welcome surprise when I found out that I had gotten the job. It was a wonderful first job and I was very proud to work for McDonald’s.