I came across an interesting piece by Scot Herrick, writing for Dice.com, about three ways to turn off a hiring manager during an interview.
He's in the process of hiring someone for a consulting gig he's working on. He hasn't been satisfied with the candidates, not because they lack the technical skills needed, but, as he says "m not impressed enough because I’m not convinced they can use their job skills to achieve my goals for the work I have for them."
His first pet peeve is that, instead focusing on what they did themselves, many candidates talk about their prior experience in terms of a team, as in "we took this approach..." He wants the candidate to talk specifically about what personal steps and skills came into play to make a project successful.
Second, he is frustrated with answers that are all about buzzwords or methodology: "When I ask a question about how you would approach doing something based on some information I give you or an experience from your past, I expect you to answer how you would use the information to achieve your objective. And not spout all sorts of Corporate Speak or hide behind all the methodology as being the real answer" and "Following methodology is a job skill, not how you get stuff done."
Last, he has been unsatisfied with the answers he's been getting to the “Tell me about a time when” kind of question. Herrick says to answer it with a “well, it depends on your situation and how you want to do it,” is the kiss of death in his opinion. "I’m not doing the work, you are and I want to know how you would go about doing the work. If you answer as whatever I want to do as a client, it’s a cop out."
I think these are very good points that everyone should think about. Be sure to read the discussion following the piece as some more good points are made.
Toni Bowers is the former Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.