Sunday, February 5, 2012

Doing the Job During the Interview Benefits Everyone at Work

As I mentioned in this post last November, one of my best experiences of doing the job in the interview was when Bill, the best mentor / manager of my career to date, gave us both a break from the formal interview and asked me to write a press holding statement based on a chemical accident scenario he provided, giving me 15 minutes to do so.  I loved it.  I banged out the holding statement in 5 minutes and handed it over to him.  Bill looked at me, looked at his co-interviewer and smiled.  I knew then that I had the job.  More importantly, I had the wonderful experience of witnessing Bill's appreciation for my talent and abilities as part of the interview process.  Because Bill had the insight as the hiring authority to ask me to do the job in the interview, we had each other at hello.  It was the beginning of a rewarding work experience for both of us.

This past week, a colleague took this best practice one step further and invited their lead candidate to work in the office with them for 3 hours.   Clever Colleague wanted to see how Lead Candidate conducted themselves as they completed a key task together.  Both Colleague and Candidate were pleased, and both are now truly ready to seal the deal with a job offer.  

Clever Colleague was also smart enough to know (without prompting from me) that they should pay Lead Candidate for their work demonstration time.  

This is a best practice because it takes the hiring process out of the theoretical chatter that is the banal and tired employment interview and brings it into the realm of actually demonstrating the work that needs to be done by the prospective employee (vendor) to successfully fill the needs of the job at hand.

It just like good theatrical writing:  show me, don't tell me.  If you don't have the skill to demonstrate how you can you best meet the needs of your next employer (customer), you become like a forgettable movie ending:  like the bad narrative that someone else forced Harrison Ford to do at the end of Ridley Scott's first theatrical release of Blade Runner.  It just doesn't ring true, and it does not do you as the candidate (vendor) any justice at all.  (Or, as illustrated by my favorite line from Human Resources interviewees who have no HR experience:  "I'm really great with people.")

Work demonstration does not need to be just the hiring authority's idea during the employment sourcing process:  how have you (and will you) proactively demonstrate by doing the job in the interview that you will concretely meet / exceed your new employer's needs?  Is it a press release, a custom Crystal report, a draft marketing plan for your first 90 days in your new role?  The creative possibilities are endless, for both vendors and customers.  Make your best work demonstration offer to the decision-maker.

This week:  show us what you can do at work.

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