Episode 8 – “Nailing the Interview” FOBO (Fear of Becoming Obsolete

Episode 8 - "Nailing the Interview" FOBO (Fear of Becoming Obsolete

Happy FOBO Friday! Today’s episode is about “Nailing the Interview”. A 30 minute conversation that can change everything.

Today’s video is sprinkled with pop culture references including; “Baby Goose”, Steve Carrel, Tigger and Pooh, Dumb and Dumber, Succession, John Lovitz, Steve Jobs, a math problem, and many, many more.

There is also a true story from “Interview Fridays” where Jeremy Witikko, Aaron Hemmila, Andrea Metz, Business and Technology Thought Leader, Nate Ashford, and Wes Strait helped build one of the best consulting offices ever.

#Scrum #ScrumMaster #ProductOwner #CertifiedTraining #RegisteredTraining #FOB #FearofBecomingObsolete #ScrumMinneapolis #ScrumMinnesota #ScrumMidwest #ScrumIowa #ScrumSouthDakota #ScrumWisconsin #ScrumNorthDakota #ProductOwnerTraining #ScrumMasterTraining #AgileLeaderScrumTraining #AgileTraining #AgileLeaderTraining #AuldConsulting #AuldConsultingLLC #AuldTraining #ThomasAuldTraining #TomAuldTraining #AuldCoaching #AgileCoach #AgileCoaching #90dayconsultingsolutions #90daysolutions #DitchtheDiscoveryPhase #Ditchthediscoveryphaseandletsgettowork #RegisteredScrumMaster #RegisteredProductOwner #RegisteredScrumatScale #RegisteredScrumatScale

Full Transcript here

Hello everybody! Thank you for joining and welcome to Episode 8 of FOBO. I am your friendly neighborhood product owner, Tom Auld.

So, you have decided to leave your job. In episode 6 we talked about what to do before resigning. In episode 7 we talked about getting your resume ready in 30 minutes.

Today we are going to focus on the interview. A 30-minute conversation that could lead to a whole new career.

We have seen some pretty bad interview examples right in front of our eyes.

Today, let’s avoid those pitfalls and get you ready to nail the interview.

Grab a coffee, tea, or your favorite adult beverage, and let’s talk about staying relevant at work.


Let’s take a minute to calibrate:

– Two episodes ago we talked about how to improve your skill set and find your next job before leaving your current job.

– Last episode we talked about creating a killer resume that would instantly go to the top of every hiring manager’s list.

Today we are going to talk about the moment you get the call from a prospective employer when they say: “hey, we would really like to learn more about you. Can you come in for an interview?”

Excitement is quickly overtaken by panic. “Oh no, this is really happening. I have to get ready”.

I am glad you are feeling this way. It is professional and it shows you care. That is a good thing.

I am lucky. I have conducted well over 1000 interviews. At one consulting firm, we dedicated every Friday to do nothing but interviewing to keep up with our growth. @jeremywitikko, @aaronhemmila, @nateashford, @andreametz @wesstrait

Colleagues and I would invest all day, conducting a dozen interviews, comparing notes and identifying the people that helped us build an amazing consulting office.

There is something about getting a chance to meet another human being going through a pretty important moment in their career. This person is putting themselves out there to be judged. Getting a “no thanks” after an interview hurts. Trust me, I have gotten plenty.

So, what can we do to get to a “yes”?

First, you must prepare. You only get one shot to make a good impression. Make the most of it.

Start by knowing your resume forwards and backwards. The interviewer is using the resume as a guide. They have no other context about you.

You want to use your deep knowledge of the resume to help the interviewer connect the dots in your past to show how you are perfect for this job.

The interview your chance to give context and color that just doesn’t come from the text on the resume.

Next, do some research on the company you are interviewing at.

Search for recent news. Have they had a big newsworthy event? Did they get an important award or recognition?

Make of note of it and be sure to bring it up during the interview process. It signals to the interviewer that you are invested in this opportunity. It will differentiate you from the other candidates.

I always advise that you have ~5 questions you could go to when the interviewer ask you the question “Do you have any questions for us?”

Next, do some research on the person or persons that you are interviewing with.

Do some professional investigating. Put their name into LinkedIn and see if there are any connections between you and the person.

That connection between you and the interviewer turns you into a human and not just a candidate.

I can’t tell you how powerful it is for you to say something like “I see you know Jane Doe and XYZ company. Jane and I volunteer together.”

It will almost guarantee that once you are out the door, the hiring manager is contacting Jane to hear about you. But, before you drop Jane’s name, be sure to ask her permission.

Nothing more embarrassing if the hiring manager makes the call and it blindsides Jane. Sure, she will still put in a good word for you, but it might be awkward for a minute. Try to make sure that interaction goes well.

Now the date is approaching for your interview.

Print off at least one copy of your resume for every person you are expected to meet with PLUS 2 extras for anybody that might be asked to sit in (always a good sign) PLUS 1 for you!

You want one to have just for yourself so you can make notes on it and highlight areas people are asking you about. If you have to go through a series of interviews in one day, you might start seeing a pattern of where people are focusing, and you can make sure to give a powerful example of your experience or the approach you would take given the chance.

Next, what to wear:

Dress for the job you want, not the one you have. Yes, business dress is evolving. I always encourage a candidate to dress “one notch” above where they think they should. I have never seen a candidate get dismissed for being overdressed.

I know there are the urban legends about engineers cutting the tie of a candidate who came in with a tie, but I have never personally known anybody who that has happened to. If it did, I am not sure that is the place you would want to work anyway.

But if this is a more casual environment, you want to stand out while still blending in.

If you are just lost on this point, ask the recruiter or HR person you are working with. Just be honest. Tell them you want to make a good impression. “What would you suggest I wear that would make a good impression?”.

Don’t forget, these people are invested in your success. They look good if you make them look good.

Next: Make sure to get clear instructions on where to go, where to park, and if you need to bring id to get through security. Map it out the day before and then give yourself a nice buffer in case of traffic, road closures, or bad weather.

I always encourage a candidate to walk into the building ~15 minutes early.

Much earlier can cause some stress for the interviewer because they want to make a good impression on you too, so having you sit in the lobby too long is not a good look for them. If you get there way too early, just hang out in your car, or get a coffee before going in.

Now you are in the building. Take this chance to use the restroom and check out your look one last time. Be sure to take a power pose while you are in there to start building up your confidence and energy.

Now take out your resume and keep scanning it over while you are waiting. And breathe! Just breathe. Everybody in this interview process wants you to succeed. Nobody is going to pounce on you if you make a mistake.

Here comes the hiring manager. You are ready to go with a big smile and a strong handshake. This is the first impression. Make it count!

Now a little chit chat. “How is your day”, “how was the traffic”, “would you like some water/coffee”. I always say “yes” to water. I like to have it in front of me if I need to take a beat before answering a question. And if I have a series of interviews, you will want to keep hydrated.

Fully listen to their questions. Make a note or 2 if you have an idea come up about how to answer, but make sure to let them finish their question before you start.

Now try to give them the most direct and relevant answer you possibly can. Sure, give it some color and context, but keep is concise. They have a full list of questions and if you take 20 minutes to answer just one question, they are not going to get fully know you. And that will almost always lead to a “no”.

Shoot for an answer that is less than 5 minutes in length. If you have a much longer answer than that, do your best to keep it to five. But then end your answer with, “I have more details I can share, or we can get to the next question on your list. What do you prefer?”

You have just given them control of the interview and they can make the choice between hearing more or move on. Trust me, they will appreciate your self-awareness.

Let’s strategize around some common occurrences during an interview:

If they ask a question that you don’t have an immediate response to. Take a beat. Take a drink of water. Glance at your resume. Maybe there is something there that will jog your memory. It is not rare if you go blank during an interview, even when you have a great answer to give.

Now you could either ask them to restate the question or you could just let them know that you are having a hard time coming up with a good example. Maybe we could move on to the next question and come back to this one.

The big thing I advice here is to not lie and make up an answer. It is better to be honest. Maybe you don’t have the experience. If that is the case, try to share the approach you would take. “I have never done that in the past, but I would approach it by doing X, Y, and Z to come up with a solution.” Now you have shown them how your brain works under stress. The interviewer will take that as a positive.

Another interview problem comes up when you don’t fully understand the question. Maybe they used an acronym or context that didn’t make sense to you. Ask them a clarifying question. “When you asked about the scrum master role, is this scrum master fully dedicated to the team or are they spread between multiple teams”?

Don’t try to answer the question until you are clear what the question is.

Now the interview is starting to wind down and they either need to get you to your next interviewer or walk you out. Usually, they leave the last 5 minutes for you to ask questions of them.

As an interviewer it is really awkward if you don’t have any questions about the job or the company.

Have a few of those questions ready to go. If you really don’t have a question about the role or the company, ask the interviewer about their job. Everybody loves to talk about themselves so give them the chance. Great conversationalists know the power of getting a person to talk about themselves.

One thing to try to get clear before you leave the final interview is what is the timeframe for “next steps”. Either a Yes, no, or a we need more time with you. See if you can just get an idea so you don’t stress yourself out waiting to hear back.

Now that you have just nailed the interview, don’t relax just yet. There are some follow up activities to take care of to get that offer!

Join us next week and we are going to talk about “Closing the Deal”. There are some tips and tricks to use after the interview to get that offer letter in your hands.

So, there you have it. How did we do? Did you get any value from us today?

If you did, please hit the like button, and subscribe for future updates.

Every little bit helps us get the word out. You never know, you might help a friend, or an enemy, stay relevant at work.

This is your friendly neighborhood product owner, Tom Auld, signing off. Have a great week.

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