Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Interview Panel: If we were to ask any of your colleagues, chosen at random, about you, how would they respond?

Every prospective employer would want not just a technically capable employee but also one who has interpersonal skills to get along to achieving collective purposes with other work place colleagues. Sometimes this is misconstrued by job seekers to mean that you have to be absolutely liked. In real life being absolutely liked is abnormal and therefore saying that any staff asked about yourselves will almost sing praises is out of the blue. Result focused work at times involves getting a balance between stringency in terms of company policies and specific responsibilities and enabling others to appreciate their work through collaborations and commitment. Wholesome approach to working through others may involve one having to embrace a sense of comfort in terms of the kinds of communication in which other feel more relaxed. This may as well go off depending on how far it is taken. Below are samples of responses to the question of personality perception among colleagues.

Ruth: An average person at my place of work knows me to be a joyous, outspoken and open minded person in the company. Many find me approachable and easy to talk to.

Interviewer's mindset: Then all an employee needs to do to gain favour from you is to structure an emotionally appealing excuse to be exempted from their responsibilities. Wait a minute, do you have a negative side of you.

Timothy: I am not so outspoken and many find me less approachable. Some even think that I am shy. Some fear opening up to me; may be thinking that their thoughts may sound undermining. Nevertheless, I have found myself very instrumental in staff deliberations, especially on issues where emotional inclinations may lead to lack of focus. It is common that every work place has staff cartels – those who share certain biases of preferences. Believe me – I don't belong to any.

Interviewer's mindset: Quite a strict impression. How will you impact on staff if you don't know them nor are you interested in the undercurrents? You certainly cannot make a very in cohesive work force. Try consulting – but even consulting you may be subjected to highly politicised assignments that require political manoeuvring to enable solution acceptance.

Dorothy: They know me as very exciting to interact with but at the same time very strict in terms of company policies. They do not know much about my social life and I want to keep it that way. Peers know that I talk issues and I am hardly engaged in personal conflicts. My actions and thought process are predictable and reliable.

Interviewer's mindset: You sound like you are the best thing that ever happened to your company. Staff around you may as well have developed the impression that work cannot be enjoyed and life is so hard that you have to struggle, even if it entails inhuman competition. Your actions are so predictable – you do things in only this specific way. What is unique about you? You certainly sacrifice your own self esteem as a human being to serve the company.

 In all these scenarios, none of the candidates was right or wrong. In fact, with this kind of question, there is no one answer. What exists as a result of all the right answers is the level of fit to the required organisational culture and the specific person specifications.

Questions that reflect healthy work place personalities should bear in mind the following;

a)      Everyone has at least some slight negative perception about themselves at the work place that affects both their being liked or otherwise
b)     Impressions at the work place differ in various staff categories. Where the differences may be significant make it stand out. You cannot be the same impression to all people
c)      Work place traits should focus on how you make people comfortable with or around you, how you strike a compromise between interpersonal relations and official obligations, how to be effective and pleasant or at times your role in complex situations.

In the three sample responses there are positive aspects as well as negative aspects.

Friday, February 03, 2012


Interview drills have for the past two months been one of the most intense activities that careerpitch has offered to clients. The most interesting thing about interview drills is that most clients hardly get to prepare for them as much as they do for real interviews. Besides the understanding that at the end of the drill, the consultant is supposed top provide a feedback of some sort makes the candidate not to put their level best but rather to expect to learn more. However, this is to some extent and advantage because it has enabled us to be able to see candidates for what they are in ordinary circumstances.

Of the total time spent in interview drills, or perhaps ordinary interviews 30% of the time could be saved if the candidate has invested time and effort in knowing themselves well. Many times candidates going for interviews spend more time getting to have theoretical knowledge of the target jobs as well as the target employer but fail to develop knowledge of themselves. What does knowing yourself involve? Certainly, it is about going beyond what one physically does in their jobs to what competencies their present, past or mix of jobs has established in themselves. Here are key aspects of knowing oneself.

a)      At what level are you in your career (hands on – beginner level, quality assurance – verification, initiative development, assessment, supervisory, leadership, systems and policy formulation or strategic management)?
b)     What has your career exposed you to? (special contacts, extraordinary business environment, unusual market dynamics, special euphoria – technological breakthrough, specialized systems and procedures, mixture of external and internal influences, unique and induced traits)
c)      What does your career profile present? ( professional cross pollination – mix of careers, professional due diligence, loyalty – lengthy professions, adaptability, demonstrable progression)
d)     What career alternatives do you have? (advancement in your profession, change of careers, enrichment of roles – addition of responsibilities, change of work set ups – from organisation to networks or associations)
e)     What can you not do as of now? ( new careers, level of promotion)
f)        What do you aspire to be?
g)     Does you present position and market orientation make it easy for you to get there?

Personal appreciation enables one to save time on opportunities that are not necessary to pursue as well as enable the candidate to be in charge of any interview. Candidates who have detailed personal appreciation do not just apply for any position. They may get into an interview competitively within a notice of 30 minutes. How much does your personal knowledge about yourself empower you?