How Did I Get Here (part 2)

This morning I mustered up the courage to ask a few co workers why they chose me.  Like I had said in Monday’s post, I knew I would be capable of the new job but I had hoped that my now co-workers saw that I those qualities in me.  Well as Monday began my new adventure I decided to ask what I had that they wanted.

Their response: 

While I learned that they did like my background and expeience, I was pretty much hired based on things not indicated on my resume. One co-worker said that they had liked my ability to answer the questions directly. I wasn’t going in circles, but cut to the chase and gave a clear, but detailed answers.  I also received feedback that they enjoyed the initial phone interview with me.  

Hello, give me a job

I had no idea that the few questions they asked me about my application was considered a phone interview.  It was great to get the feedback to learn a little more of what they considered as good interview answers and such.  Turns out, what I thought was just a simple phone conversation was truly my first impression.  My phone interviewer even had me pegged as their favorite candidate. 

My takeaway:

So I really did learn a lot about myself and my interview skills.  I’ve noticed in the last year and a half (where I’ve accepted 3 “big girl” jobs) that those that have hired me have done it based on their ability to detect that I’m moldable.  Meaning they can turn me into a devoted employee to that company.  They have all been completely right thus far.  I still LOVE going to target even after quitting.  And working for a school district makes me point out a school whenever we drive by one.  

Photo credits: Wikipedia
To get to my point I did learn that I have good interviewing skills in terms of showing employers that I’m a hard working dedicated employee. Those are some great qualities.  But I have a lot to learn still because I now have some decent experience in a few areas, but I need to convey that previous experience in the future.  This isn’t a failure this is just something I need to work on if I want to get where I want to be.  

How Did I Get Here?

Today was the first day of a new job for me. While usually the first day is the worst, (because who actually likes walking into a company and having no idea what is going on) today was pretty cool. It’s a great company. I had a bunch of tasks already listed for me to work on. Thus far in my career, I haven’t had that happen.  Typically, I am placed in a position and am either expected or encouraged to just figure out my tasks on my own.  

While it was a great day today I couldn’t help but repeatedly ask myself  how did I get here?  And I didn’t ask myself this in a surreal, holy-crap-I-got-a-job way.  I was trying to understand why they picked me in the hiring process.  The further into the work I got, the more invested I became (already)! At the end of my first day, I was feeling like I had not only accomplished something but made a contribution that will impact my team positively down the road.  That is huge. 

So why was I questioning how I got to where I am? 

If your like me, you’ll understand when I say that I replayed the interview in my head, over and over and over again.  Each time I thought over what I said,  and kept thinking “oh I liked what I said but I should’ve added …..”  When I got the phone call last week about the job offer I nearly flipped out of my seat with excitement.  I had honestly thought that I wasn’t going to get this position.  I felt I provided decent answers to the questions, but nothing spectacular.  I wasn’t any Moses parting the Red Sea.   Apparently, I was wrong.  

With this being said, I think I want to ask one of my interviewers what they thought of me in my interview, and furthermore ask what it was about me that stuck out.  I’ve heard before of my peers getting some good feedback from supervisors at their interviews before, but it has never happened to me. My previous boss simply said “you did fine with our interview” of course I did fine, you hired me! But “fine” doesn’t tell me what employers think of me. If they’re was something that this company liked than there has to be something that the next company will like too. Maybe I can play on the strengths my interviewers saw in me. It’s all about building your career, which takes time. These little wins or pullers, are going to help me in the long run! 

“Do you have any questions for us?”

In light of my upcoming interview I thought I would discuss the question that comes up at the end of every interview ever.  This question is essential to be ready for.  Your interviewer(s) will ALWAYS (and if they don’t, comment and let me know!) ask you this question and there is a right and wrong answer.  First the wrong answer:

Q: Do you have any questions for us?

A: No

OR

A: No I think I understand everything

Why it is the wrong answer:  No matter how you say it, even if you are very nice, polite and say that you fully understand everything about the position it is still not a good way to end an interview.  You might think you are doing everything right by letting your interviewer know that you have a grasp on the position and that you would be the ideal candidate, but the interviewer wants to hear you ask something to show more interest in the position/company.  By saying “no” you are not showing that you want to go the extra mile for this position.  Think about it.  If you fit the criteria for a job and the company feels that you would be a good fit for the position then you might get the job.  What if John Smith who was also just as qualified in every other way decided at the end of his interview to ask his interviewer, “what is your expected growth for ASDF Company over the next several years”?  If you were an interviewer who would you be more interested in, the guy that said “I’m your ideal candidate” or the guy that said “I’m the ideal candidate, but while we are talking about your company let me ask you more about it”.  If you still are not quite convinced that John Smith would be picked over you keep reading.

Right Answer:

Q: Do you have any questions for us?

A: As a matter of fact I do….

OR

A: Yes.  You mentioned QWER and I was wondering…..

Why this is the right answer: Saying “yes” followed by asking your question is clearly the right answer from what I discussed before.  If you do ask a question it means you are invested.  However, I like to take a psychological approach behind this as well to understand why having questions are so important.  In most interviews, the interviewers have a piece of paper in front of them with a list of questions.  They go round robin, ask you their questions, you answer them, they interview the next candidate.  One key piece to an interview, is to get them to remember you in a positive way.  So what if instead of following the known procedure you mixed it up a little and get them thinking of something else?  Believe me, I’ve been the interviewer before too, they want to hear/think about something other than doing this interview.  If you ask them something about the company, it takes their mind away from the interview and gives them a chance to talk to you more about what they know and their interests.  When you give the interviewer a chance to talk about themselves, you can leave them thinking that you are the ideal candidate.  People love the opportunity to talk about themselves and have someone listen to what they have to say.  It makes us happy.  If you give them that window of opportunity to speak about themselves/company, you make yourself a better candidate.

My go to question of choice:  “What is your favorite part about your job?” I like asking this question because it gets them to think about their daily job duties and is making them think of the positives.  If they are thinking positively about their job, their last impression of me is that I could have a positive impact on the company.  It’s totally psychological and maybe it is just my theory, but I think it works pretty well.  Furthermore, I like to ask because I am genuinely interested.  Yes, it is kind of a manipulation tool, but I do want to know what people like about their jobs.  I know that I want to have passion in my career options, so if I see that passion in someone else I can get a better sense if I will get what I want out of the company.  It depends on what drives you but for me this is really good feedback to have at an interview.  At my latest place of employment, the answer that I got to that question in my interview was “I wake up everyday and look forward to everything about my job, the good the bad and the ugly.”  That answer was a selling point for me that I wanted this job just as much as he wanted me there.  It bounces off the idea that you are interviewing them as well.

There are so many other questions you can ask as well.  This is just one of my questions I like to ask.  There are more depending on the job.  Don’t use just this example and make it fit into your interview always.  We are all different and my experiences are not going to mirror yours.  Let me know what you think are good or bad interview questions.