Thursday, February 19, 2009

There's three things you should know about me...

Almost every time I've ever been in an interview, they have given me a warm-up question. It goes something like, "Can you tell us how your education and experience are suited for this position?"

It's the one question where they're not looking for anything in particular. It's a great opportunity to give them something you want to deliver.

I've got a set of things I'd like to interviewer to know about me by the end of the interview. Call it my "Nevin in a Nutshell" list. If given this softball question, I'll make sure to use it to talk about what I think is really important.

It will go something like this:

"I would be really pleased if you remembered three things about me by the end of this conversation. First, I'd like you to know that I'm a generalist. This is important for you to know because this is how I approach problems and this is how I solve them. I'm objective and open to all elements of the issue. When I come to a solution, you can be assured that it is considered. This isn't a particularly fast way to work, but it gets effective results. If you hire a specialist, instead, they can work a lot faster. Their bag of tricks just might be limited.

Second, I'd like for you to know that I'm committed to challenging every assumption and worldview I have to make sure it's the right one. This has changed the way I do a lot of things, and we can go through some examples. Suffice to say, the most effective choice is rarely the one that "feels right" or is socially expected.

Third, it's important that you know I'm passionate about innovation and change. This might just be a side-effect of being a generalist and committed to challenging status quo thinking, but I really like pushing to see how effective my efforts, and the efforts of my organization, can be. I'm not necessarily interested in incremental improvements like squeezing more of the same from the budget. I'm interested in asking if we're doing the right practice. Often, that means revolutionary change."

This isn't necessarily what most employers want to hear. Man, am I going to be excited if I find one who likes it.


emmaline said...

If I were interviewing you, those are the things I would want to know!

emmaline said...

Nevin, Dan Pink replied to you on Twitter! You're famous!

Nevin said...

Thanks Em. I think most employers want to know it, too. Then they know for sure they don't want to hire me... and I know I wasn't going to be happy there. Lots of time saved for everybody.