Breaking Down an Influential Interview
So let's go ahead and hit play on the beginning of the interview.
Well it's a pleasure to meet you finally I'm sure we've talked many times over email it's glad to have a person in front of me.
Nice to meet you too thanks so much for taking the time.
Alright of course. So please tell me about yourself.
Yeah thanks so much for agreeing to meet with me I'm really excited to be able to be here to tell you about myself.
Pause it. So she thanked him once, and that's enough. And then she thanked him again the second time so she's kind of diminishing herself in perceived value already. Maybe not diminishing herself but she's definitely elevating him up. You really want to make these job interviews as we are equals. That we are in this together, we are collaborating together to figure out if we're a fit. And then the second phrase that she said was I'm excited, I'm happy to be able to tell you about myself. Instantly right away I was like oh. (laughter) so I think maybe an alternativ...
e could have been I'm excited that I get the opportunity to meet with you and I really am interested to learn more about your company and how we might be able to collaborate find if we're a fit. Any of those type of phrases. Cause that puts you more on an equal footing. And then towards the body language that people have mentioned in the chat room which is phenomenal. I think she definitely could have improved some of her body language. I am giving her a little bit of a pass because she is on these highly awkward stools.
We'll take the blame on this one.
Because if you notice he has almost the similar body language, maybe just a little more territorial he's changing it up right now because I mentioned it.
I think we all are. We're all getting higher.
But he was kind of leaning forward as well. It registered more as relaxed. And hers registered more as tension and nervousness. But again when it comes to body language it's not just one thing that you're looking at. It's the whole and the whole picture is that we're on some slightly awkward stools that's all. Okay let's go ahead and hit play.
So I started working five years ago. I graduated from university in with a degree in international relations. And my path up to now has been a little bit winding but everything happens for a reason so I've learned a lot along the way. I started in a very structured corporate environment working in corporate retail and doing product development for a big company out at Macy's.
Go ahead and pause it. And so right away she starts describing speaking out her resume. Like typically he probably has your resume or has seen it. And already knows when you graduated from where and all of those highlights. So I think right out the gate you want your first sentence to be when he says tell me about yourself, really it's tell me about yourself and how it applies to my business. So right away you could say something along the lines of well I mean obviously I have, as you can see from my resume, how very interesting story going from corporate to corporate and then to a startup in India, but a few of the key experiences that I think apply most to your company are. And then if he is interested in the story of your India journey if that's his personality type he might prompt you toward that. But we wasn't and so you went down the story path with somebody who's more of a cut to the chase type of a person. Right ish? Do you disagree on that one?
When it's I, I, I, then cut to the chase. If you want to go we and collaborate together I'm with you to talk for hours on end. But if we're talking about you tell me about yourself, cut to the chase.
And I think that that's great for people to understand at home is that the question is tell me about yourself. The real subtext is tell me about yourself and how it applies to my company. And you have to operate in the subtext. Yes?
I think something that you could do to address that maybe is because his company has is working with a bunch of different organizations to highlight what they're doing and you have a background in international relations and you lived in two different places. I think you could say something along the lines of how that education and experience has helped you build contacts that are broader in terms of number but also in terms of the types of people and the cultures and how that could potentially be beneficial to his company. Alright so hit the play button then.
It was a perfect experience for me at the time coming out of college was a safe structured environment that allowed me to learn processes and methods, allowed me to be mentored. But at the end of the day.
So I don't know can hear that but she's got a little bit of that waver in her voice and that's totally normal. That's what happens when nervousness kicks in so one thing that we probably could have done to help her out is for her to take on some of those power poses that we talked about before. Because I know she had a little bit of that nervousness as we threw this on her in the middle of the workshop. And so I probably would have had her do some breathing techniques because she has this tension that's building up and that's what's getting that little bit of waver totally normal and not a problem, but how we could counteract that before the interview is take on some of those power poses to get more of that testosterone up and flush out some of that cortisol. Alright next.
I committed myself to that job and the content that I was dealing with on a daily basis was not aligned with my passions and my values so I made a decision to go more towards what I felt like I loved. And that was an adventurous decision for me I'm not necessarily a risk taker but I found it within myself to move to India and pursue something that I really identified with. I found an amazing company that was working on water access in a business setting.
Already I've heard three opportunities where she could have tied this back to his business. Not necessarily a risk taker, and the journey to India I feel like that could have tied into I mean her global experiences is important for his global business. Let's focus on world issues. And then also the water access is definitely a key point in some of the things that Clifton highlights in his magazine and publications and some of the things that politicians are dealing with that he highlights in his magazine. So there are multiple opportunities that we still can tell your story but then hook it back into and focus on him. So remember people love to talk about themselves people love to listen about themselves. So we just need more of that in our next go around. Okay Chris?
So just word choice. I'm not a risk taker but I found it within myself too. Which is good but it's as if you're unsure if you could find it again. So word choice could be but I overcame which means I've got the power to and then if you're tying that into his business that also comes across the connotation of I can then go ahead and do that for you. This is now a skill that I have.
Right like you know I found this adventurous and I know you guys are an adventurous part of your business anything along those lines. We still don't know Clifton's cue words yet. His influential vibes, but if we had some of those adventure may or may not land with him that's why asking some of those questions back would help use with that. Okay let's go.
And so it kind of melded my giving back sensibilities with my business sensibility. It was an amazing experience, not only being in a different country and being thrown into scenarios that I had never found myself in previously. But also working in a three person company and having to take on a lot of responsibility, learning the value of.
That's another place she could have hooked in his company is small and still growing. And I think part of where this nervousness is kind of ramping up throughout. I think it's because she's having to talk about herself and she's trying to find her way out. She's trying to find the off ramp off of this long story, I mean it's her life, so of course it's going to be very detailed. And those off ramps can be bringing it back to him. I think I also started realizing I was talking too much. But I couldn't figure out how to get out.
You had so much momentum like we're doing this, exactly. Yes.
When you talk about hooking in when she hooks in does she stop talking or do you hook in and then continue?
My initial reaction is to hook in and stop talking because it gives him an opportunity to validate what she says. Oh I'm so happy to hear that because actually we have a new project on getting clear water to third world countries or if he doesn't have a reaction then she can continue on with the story or normally what will happen is when there is a pause or a break he knows okay I need to ask my next question now. So it's either he's going to validate what she said or he's going to move on to the next point. Or another thing is when he asks a question you're not entirely sure how you want to respond yet. Like if he says I know near the end, near the end is where you hit it out of the park of when he asks you why are you interested in this company. And his ears perked up, you did a really great job there. So at any point when you're not entirely sure how you want to respond about yourself, you could say oh my goodness I could come up with many different angles. One thing that I'm curious about is and then bring it back to his company. So you're off ramps in conversations are always how to get them back to talking. So and it gives you time to process okay what am I going to highlight next.
I actually had three or four questions I was trying to get in it. Like oh so what are your passions and values but then you continues to a whole other tangent I'm like okay. I'll just step back a let you continue to talk.
So I love that that's a great point of the need, the feeling of having to fill the silence we think is what's going to communicate power potentially. But it's actually the silence that communicates confidence when you can be still and be that blank slate that we've talked about before you'd be okay with the silence it's just like it's your turn. That's a power move in a lot of ways. I don't know if you want to go that strong in this scenarios but it's definitely much more strong than I'm gonna keep on talking until you cut me off. It's a different dynamic. Okay let's hit play.
Self teaching, asking for help from others, a lot of humbling things that I wouldn't have learned in another environment. And after two years I started thinking about what my move back to the US would be like which is why you find me here. I'm really interested in looking for organizations that are working in the development.
Looking for organizations, it makes him feel less special. And so that's why I'm looking for a certain type of company and that's why I was so happy that I found yours because you guys do x y and z. Yes.
You sound desperate.
She's just nervous.
No I understand it's nervousness I've been on the stage too and it's nervous when you speak on the camera and you're not used to that. But the words that she used is looking for the company and that gives me some sense of desperation. I'm looking for something.
It's interesting that how that can be interpreted in different ways. She's interpreting it as desperation. I mean however the interpretation is we know what the core of it is. We just have nervousness going on.
It's so funny because I think this I'm just gonna skewer myself while I'm up here but I think this interview definitely highlights like a lot of the trepidation I have about my, since I'm still searching for it, my value in companies. So I think one of my strengths is speaking and eloquence and in my mind I think I'm like a pretty well spoken person that should come off as a strength and that should kind of blur everything else but going through this everything else is very loud now and the speaking has actually become a detriment more than a benefit. I wouldn't say, I don't want you to go completely in the opposite direction.
I mean that in such an extreme way.
I understand, how maybe in the past you've been able to talk your way to of something or talk your way into something but once we're in the high pressure situation it's like it may not be serving you as much, your eloquence and your poise is still going to serve you very well. It's just simply the one, you have all those elements, it's just that one step we keep referring to is we gotta hook it back into him. Hook it back into him. Hook it back into him. Okay play please.
To bring good to others who might not have opportunities in their lives currently and I love that your company is aligning this with a media strategy. With a content strategy, I personally have an interest in writing and communications and I would love to be able to tell stories about the organizations out there doing well and bring it into the light in this country in a way that hasn't been done before.
And that's another opportunity for her to say like I love the piece that you did on x y and z. And then that could be an opportunity for her to present, to piggy back off of that article I even thought about a great idea for you guys is to highlight this company. I don't know if you've heard of them, so right away in that interview she could give value by making a connection for him even before she has the job. That would definitely set her apart from others. For sure. Okay play please.
You spent a few years doing the corporate route and then a few years doing the entrepreneurial route. What ultimately lead you to come back to the United States and to leave India?
Yeah I think that while learning and such a fast paced and dynamic environment was a huge learning experience for me. I think that ultimately structure and mentorship.
Now mentorship part can go one of two ways. If he values mentorship he could see that as a big plus, otherwise that could read into you're already asking something of me from the job you don't have yet. You're already adding additional job responsibilities that not only do I have to hire you but now I have to mentor you too. It could work against her. So again it's with our lack of knowledge of what is of interest to our mark that we're not sure if that's landing or not. So what do you think? Did that land or not?
Yeah I mean I think that one of the first things she said was how she craves stability and then my mind was like we are not stable at all. We are a startup like what is going on. Is this the right person? And then so that kind of jaded a lot of the other things you said. And so it's great watching on video you actually said that? Like my mind was still wait how am I gonna, this doesn't make sense?
And so I think that even if you don't know your interviewer maybe even going through the field guide and figuring out the vibes of the company itself can really help you shade how you answer your interview questions. Okay play please.
And I figure that coming back to the US and seeking out organizations that have a really strong grounding and footing here would be the right move for me. I've developed a huge network in India and within the development space itself, so coming here to leverage that in a way where I can still find myself in a place where I felt at home, where I felt like I could do things with funding that wasn't allowed before.
Interesting, so you are familiar with our publication right? We are a fairly new business and so things are a little nebulous in terms of structure and whatnot.
I find that fascinating that he held on to that conception that idea for so long. And it wasn't until he was finally able to bring it up in that question so he's had this objection in his mind this whole time. That we probably could have alleviated much earlier on if we brought things back to him and get him in the conversation a bit. Okay play please
Why do you want to work for this company?
That's a very a good question. The first point is that it's very much based and founded in something that I deeply identify with which is your mission to highlight organizations that are doing such great work in sustainable ways.
I'm not sure, but in my notes that's the first you that I heard. That's about three fourths of the way through. Yeah yeah I wanna highlight that. I remember when I heard the your mission. I was like I think that's the first time we heard the you. Okay go ahead.
In ways that might not be recognized by the mainstream. And I have a background in these organizations I've met and done a lot of business with them in India and the community in and of itself is actually quite small so I feel like I have a strong network that I can bring to your company and use it to help you grow faster at this early stage while you're trying to get a grasp of where this is going and what sort of content you wanna put yourself out for.
So she's fixing a problem that she's not even sure exists. She pulled the problem out of thin air that I could help you with a network in India. And we don't even know if that's a need or problem that they need solved. So you see how she's making certain good decisions where just not entirely 100 percent yet. So I feel like I got a reaction out of you at that point. I felt like you wanted to say something.
Just my follow up question. You can see that there may be some synergies but I wanted to see if there was another possibility another angle we could take on how she can use her skills, and her resources to help.
Cool, cool, question?
Can you give us how you would have said, so you said she's solving a problem that she doesn't know, can you pretend that you're her and ask him?
Yeah yeah, so what was your question to her?
I just asked why do you want to work for this company?
Okay so assuming that we kind of answered it similarly is well first of all I kind of see myself as a really great problem solver. And you certainly don't have to share you biggest deepest issues because right now you're a start up and I know you have many balls in the air but for hiring this position. What specifically did you have in mind? What kind of activities or problems did you see them fixing or facilitating some issues? I'm a little bit in the dark on that could you help me out. That's the naivete technique is I don't know and I'm going to admit I don't know and then I'm leveraging the tendency to be polite and helpful could you help me out. And there's a little bit of the vak I feel in the dark on that. So no knowing if he's visual or not but it's a fairly strong metaphor. Okay good, question?
When she talks about the bringing the community to benefit his company. But then there is a community small in itself like for the second time I'm trying to get I don't really get it. It's like at once point you have value you have something big that would benefit the company, and at the same time you are telling them that it's something small in itself.
I understand where she's trying to go with that.
It was very confusing.
I understand how I think the nervousness kinda kicked in what she was trying to say the I'm editorializing it's the community isn't as, well how about you explain it instead of me guessing.
In the development sector compared to other industries it's quite small. The number of organizations and people that are working in this field is comparably small, so when I first said small I meant compared to food industry or restaurants or hotels.
And then so it has the power behind it because it's small I know everybody in that industry.
From his perspective that's the realm that he's concerned with so my network within those existing organizations and people is quite large.
Close knit right? Which means powerful and I'm engaged in. Just a word choice that gives it much more power.
That will probably be the word choice about you have access to the entire community of this particular field, but not making comments on how small it is within itself.
Okay let's go ahead and hit play on that one.
And I do feel that while you are grounded a way that my previous organization wasn't, you're still new enough that I can exercise a sense of creativity and ownership.
Clifton you reacted on ownership, and I was behind you so I couldn't see if that was a positive reaction or a negative reaction. Can you tell us?
Yeah it was definitely a positive reaction. You asked what are some of the things that I need or I'm looking for in terms of come join us. It's ownership, it's initiative. So that's awesome. Now let's talk about ownership.
And so this is sort of the balance that we have to play of speaking but still observing. Because he had a significant shift.
I'm blind to Clifton. I have no idea what's going here. It's like there's a wall between us.
Right, so once you make the decision to make it more of a discussion and once you turn up that observational awareness you would have seen that significant shift and then honestly if we had just shut it down and shut up for a second he probably would have piggy backed off of that and said I'm really happy to hear about that ownership part in fact that's one of the things we're looking for. But once we keep on talking over that then it's just he had an opportunity to engage, but we didn't allow him to.