Recently I got to participate in a two-day set of interviews for openings at a local agency. The candidates were each given a one hour appointment during which they would make their presentation and receive questions from our group.
This was the first time I had ever participated in a process like this one, and I was fascinated by how the interviews were conducted as well as by how much could be learned in only one hour. I was also impressed with how uniform the observations of the group were.
I came away from the experience with some observations that were interesting and helpful to me. They included these:
- You better do your homework. If you have a group that you need to impress quickly, one of the best things you can do is find out all your can about them. Find out history, demographics, who they serve, and what they want. The more information you have about them the better.
- It’s really easy, and often fatal, to shoot yourself in the foot. You can fire the fateful bullet by speaking ignorantly, by not having enough information, or by making too many assumptions. In a one-hour interview there is no grace, no opportunity to recoup or regroup, and no call backs. Time is of the essence.
- You probably can’t fool a group. This goes back to the need for preparation. However, it also addresses the important matter of not filling a presentation with bells and whistles. They very quickly get brushed aside for the hard question of “how do you propose to use our money and accomplish our task?”
- A well-stocked toolkit is extremely important. One dimensional approaches will lose every time. When a group is looking for someone to represent and implement its interests, they look for someone/s who have several ways to approach the situation. If one doesn’t work, there are other approaches also being used.
The group process is very important for making good decisions. In the group there are different experiences, different educational backgrounds, different eyes looking, and different points of view analyzing the situation. It is a good way to prevent the skewed, jaundiced eye of an individual.