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Defiance at Work: Have Conversations, Not Interviews

April 24th, 2013 / - filed under Client Relationships

I had two hours in between meetings yesterday, too far from the office to schlep back and too busy to schedule a coffee date on the fly.  So I found a snazzy little bistro and sat down to work.  At a table nearby, the restaurant owner conducted interview after interview, apparently seeking a new GM to run his booming bistro.  It was like speed dating, and probably just as (un)successful.  Prospect after prospect sat down with the owner and ran through their resume with such rehearsed prose and posture that I marveled that neither fell asleep.  Of course both were at fault; the interviewer’s questions were vanilla lame and the interviewee did what seemed right and responsive.

It’s not unlike any opportunity meeting – whether a blind date, a job interview or a law firm seeking new business.  Convention tells you to focus on qualifications.

Here’s the thing: Defy convention.

An interview – for any engagement – is a relationship runway.  Qualifications, awards, accolades, pedigree, experience…all of that can sit tightly on paper, bulleted just so.  Don’t waste face time on paper.  Inspire, engage, invest. Should you focus on the personal? If it works, absolutely.  Ask smart questions.  People love to share thoughts, ideas and aspirations. Ask what hasn’t worked in the past.  What must work in the future. Explore ways you can add value – specifically and credibly.  Be authentic…no one likes the bait and switch in personnel or personality. Most of all, make it a conversation.  Get to know the prospect and let the prospect get to know you.  Having qualifications isn’t enough to get hired.  Ever.  Being a memorable, engaging person is a much safer bet.