There are stacks of books on examples
of the concepts demonstrated showing
that a person is a leader. For the most part,
we assess that leadership it is based
on action and behaviors that can be
The curious question is how is
leadership explored in interviews?
There was a nice symposium on
Leadership in the Workplace at the ACS
SF meeting, coordinated by Herb
This blog has mentioned one facet of
leadership pointing out one author’s
perspective in ‘The Only Trait of a Leader’
(see Leadership in blogroll).
In the interview setting, how can both
sides of the table ask for and reveal
leadership and leadership potential?
Revealing Questions might be:
How did your project evolve from stage
to stage? Was there a planned strategy,
where did it come from?
All projects need funding. So, what
triggered people’s interest in supporting
your project? Who was involved in
securing the funding? Where will this
project go next?
Who has shown you how to be a leader?
What are concepts they displayed
have you have put to use?
If you can ‘wordsmith’ a phrase
for your approach as a style, what is
your leadership style? Can you provide
an example of your leadership approach?
Tell me about a time when you had to
select a project, a direction, or a candidate
from several strong alternatives. What
was your basis? What was the outcome?
What did you learn from the experiences?
Give me an example of a disagreement
you had with your supervisor. It could
have been a serious one. How did you
handle it? What was the resolution?
Did you learn anything form the process?
These questions may reveal how you
acted in previous situations but they do
not give the complete description, since
only a brief snapshot of the situation is
ever revealed. And the snapshot may
really not include competing factors,
ability to work constructively with people,
and situational factors.
Be interested in readers’ comments
and experiences with assessments of leadership.
This blog has written about telephone interviews
before (see 7-19-06). We have talked about
preparation and small talk.
Sarah Needleman authored “Four tips for acing
interviews by phone”
She is “right on” in her points. She mentions that
‘phone interviews can be put off until the optimum
conditions and timing are met for you’ and the
She highlights the importance of being a good
‘phone personality’ displaying passion, confidence
and enthusiasm.’ As important are listening skills
to understand what is asked and for the little cues
that suggest various things. This comes with practice
and experience. Speak to mentors about this
and try yourself out in ‘mock interviews’.
Do homework on the company and understand
the purpose for the conversation.. to obtain an
in-person interview. Perri Capell has offered a
good suggestion that one should not just “hope
to be asked questions” but have a mental strategy
to provide two or three key messages. She
attributed to Jeff Braun, the Q = A + 1 analogy,
meaning: Question is followed by Answer (which
I prefer Response) + the bridge to the message
you wish to convey. See:
Finally, Ms. Needleman mentions follow up with
a thank you note. It might be expressed as ’complete
business courtesy’. Complete business courtesy
includes a note, but also initially receiving the call
and saying ‘thank you’, exploring the caller’s name
and ‘correct spelling’, contact number in case of
an unforeseen termination of the conversation
(perhaps, even, an email address). Smile and
display a positive feeling during the interview.
These suggestions will give you confidence to
allow you to perform well and move to the
next stage in the process.
Just encountered a nice job hunt improvement article
by Penelope Trunk–Reiterating several of her points:
- small per cent of jobs (~10) filled via big boards
- social networking is catching on (likely to vary
from field to field)
- EXPERIENCE section: use your accomplishments,
not responsibilities (except certain management
- place most signficant things related to how you
match the position’s needs on first page.
- practice for the interview, organize your thinking
and presentation skills, prepare for even minor
- seek assistance, bounce ideas off mentors,
help others in their quest
Did you see the potential out there for social
networking but so far it has had limited benefits
for you? I have.
Two recent articles talk about growing benefits
for specific groups. A new software platform
Lotus Connections is expected to connect
employees in corporations in a “virtual world”
to exchange information and ideas to improve
productivity. Laurie J. Flynn,
NYTimes.com, “IBM to introduce workers
Also, “Google” lotus connections. It may be
an exension of the former product Lotus Notes
with updated components– blogs, bookmarking,
profiles and communities.
Contrasting in-company networking is another
article that interested me by Kristi Essick on
networks helping mid career people find new
Please read the article for some details.
But connecting to the sites may prove more revealing–
Sites identified were:
enge.us (employment network for retired government experts)
Matt Villano authored a nice Q&A about mentoring
that answered many of my questions. “Won’t you be
my mentor?” describes both sides of the mentoring
interaction referring several leading sources. It is
Eugene Raudsepp offers some nice ideas for responding to
interview questions in “Don’t let tough interview questions
sabotage your interview”
He offers not only pros, but also some watch-outs. Not
mentioned in the article are three things that should be in
Interviewees need to be acutely aware of body language
and “meta-language,” the voice utterances one makes when
we hear but don’t listen, or are thinking what to say.
Interviewees will feel more confident if there is a chance
to do mock interviews to practice responses to questions.
Be aware of the importance of voice intonation, voice
pace and minimizing background noises especially in phone interviews
where visual cues are absent. Using mirrors to remind yourself
to smile and have good posture is one positive action to take.
Sarah Needleman listed several terms in an article that reveal what
you and I, job-seekers, are called under various circumstances. In
“A job-hunter’s guide to recruiters’ code-words” http://www.careerjournal.com/jobhunting/interviewing/20060509-needleman.html
you will learn that:
WD is a “working description” or a perfect match for a position,
mortician is someone who’s appearance is dated or drab,
“purple squirrel” is an ideal candidate.
Does anyone have terms not mentioned here that they can share?
It is the first week of 2007 and one of the common things we all do is
make new years resolutions. The tradition goes back about 2160 years
to Janus, a mythical king of early Rome. Janus could look back on past
events and forward to the future.
A fellow who I know well learned just after new years that his position
was eliminated. His supervisor told him, it was not due to performance.
He had done a very good job in his first year. Everyone in his area was
It is not easy to predict if and when things like this can happen. What
could I suggest to this fellow that would help him. He had already updated
his resume and taken one interview, as he sensed business goals weren’t
being met. He had spent time networking with people who might assist
him in searching. Probably not too much. But there is something for all
to learn from.
Most people are reading this blog to obtain information and ideas about
finding positions, applying for positions and progressing in their careers.
Nonetheless, job change and job loss is commonplace even though one
is in a position. Each of us needs to be equipped and prepared for the
unexpected job situation. One of our goals might be, and our new years
resolution could be, to have our project list and accomplishments
up-to-date, our resume updated.
One of the key points about professional employment is that JOB
SECURITY is based on your ability to REMAIN employed or
FIND new employment that achieves your PERSONAL GOALS,
or in one word, EMPLOYABILITY.
Now, I know that many who will look at this are lookng for positions,
either their first or one in mid-career. I hope that no one gets faced
with losing their position. It is a reality of today’s complex, fast
response, short-term business results culture.
THINGS TO DO FOR THE NEW YEAR:
-Perform a personal self assessment: Compare what you and your
network (including your supervisor) think you should be skilled or
experienced in with the actual.
-Create a working list of personal advisers: Find an effective way to
interact with a 2-3 people who you admire for counsel,
feedback on performance, introductions, and ideas.
-Find positive ways to make your contributions known: Presentations,
representing a team’s contribution, requesting internal or external
compliments be offered in writing to decision-makers. Develop
-Plan your continuous learning effort: learning can be through
experience, individually or as part of a team, or formally, through
training and implementing in a continuous improvement model.
-Focus on an effort that will benefit your enterprise and your
personal skill set
-Add information in S-T-A-R format to your accomplishment list,
perhaps using your career journal for details.
-Evaluate your company where it is and where it intends on going:
Management, organization, technology and products.
-Be more of a professional: in education, training, mentoring,
professional associations related to your career (ACS) and
-Build relationships and show interest in others:
-Expand your skills: look for a real opportunity to challenge your
inner self in ways that you feel make a difference.
Please read J. Badal, “Eight resolutions to enhance your career,”
and S. L. Bradford, “Experts offer their tips for fruitful networking,”
Do readers have other ideas for career resolutions?