As a manager and business owner, I am always looking for people to be on my team, even when I don’t have a position open. I’m always watching for someone with something special… customer service, ambition, etc.
I think there are thousands of people in my position who are continually watching and looking. That means that we are always being interviewed. Let me emphasize ALWAYS. You are interviewed (aka, watched) when you walk in a room, when you look at your phone too many times, when you say something nice or rude to anyone, when you show that you are engaged or disengaged in a conversation… always.
This morning I was reading how Afterburner hires. Afterburner is a cool consulting company that hires veterans who become business consultants… Jim Murphy shared this part of the hiring process (read the article here):
When he does hire, the first step in the interviewing process is to take the candidate out for a fancy restaurant dinner, the kind a client CEO might host. The interviewee is escorted to the bar to swap military stories with the interviewers. While the Afterburner people are limited to two drinks, the candidate can have as many as he or she wants. At dinner the interviewers watch how the candidate behaves, which fork he or she uses. Murphy says he wants people with the business poise to sit with C-suite clients.
I wonder how many people at that interview think that, while swapping military stories, they are being watched on how many drinks they order. Or on which fork he or she uses. I’m sure they are watched on every little detail of how they interact at that dinner.
This interview might seem casual, but it’s a tool to see how you would act with a company owner, as if you were the consultant. Would you embarrass the company?
This is one example of how we are being watched. An interview isn’t just about what we say, how smart we are, how we say it… it’s about a lot more than that. When I “interview” people informally, I am immediately wondering these two things (among others):
– would they represent my company well?
– would they ruin, or add to, my culture?
So what do we do with this information?
Act nicely. Act professionally. Realize that what we do or say might be the thing that gets us the job… or adds a few more months to our job search.