Recently, I have been interviewing people to work on a night shift, for company in London. In addition to the candidates’ skills and experience I am keen to find out what thinking, beliefs and attitudes they hold and get some insight into what makes them tick. As you might expect I have my own style in order to get the right people and talent for the positions on offer.
Interviews are tough; we only have a very short time to make an impression and sell ourselves. We all make promises at job interviews, but do we mean them, or keep them? Read on and let’s look at this further.
It is important to recognise that the interviewer is representing the whole company, including the directors, managers, team members as well as the shareholders and stakeholders. Many of the questions asked at interviews are similar for all jobs. For example, what are your weaknesses and strengths? Do you prefer working alone or in a team? What have been your most significant accomplishments? All of these questions can be prepared for in advance so that you can answer directly and confidently.
Interviewing and hiring people to work within a deadline driven, night shift team can be particularly difficult. Night shifts attract a diverse crowd that may not fit into the normal corporate nine to five. Some people adapt well to an almost vampire-like existence while others collapse after a few nights; it is mentally, physically and emotionally demanding work. Appearances count for nothing; talent, attitude and stamina count for everything. With this in mind, the essential question is:
If we hired you, what could we rely on you for, without fail?
How confidently and congruently could you answer this question? Would you say things like honesty, reliability, enthusiasm, and determination, hard working, going the extra mile? Many people do, so I ask what these words and concepts mean to the interviewee. I then write down their answers in full view, so that we are both clear. I also note their confidence; body language, expression, voice pitch, skin tone, pulse, breathing and eye contact.
I will then advise the candidate that I expect them to hold true to these written and agreed promises; that they should always keep this in mind. I will further advise them, that if they do not live up to these promises and commitments, I will consider that I have been sold faulty goods, which do not do, what they claim to do or “what they say on the tin”. I will consider this a breach of trade descriptions and expect a full refund.
We will all fall down on our promises and commitments at some point; we are all fallible human beings. However, some of us are clearly more fallible than others. In business there is no end of people who will let you down, mess you around and waste your time. In some ways this is good news because if you can make a reputation for yourself as a person with integrity, then you will stand out and shine against a sea of dull mediocrity.
What about other areas of our lives? Do we make similar promises to others who are important to us? Are our replies given with true conviction or are we just mouthing empty words and going through the motions?
What about you? Are you a person of integrity and honour? Are you true to yourself? It’s worth taking some time to think about and consider. We all need to establish our character, our brand name, our mission statement for work and life. In essence, what it is we stand for. Getting this right gives as inner confidence; we are surer of whom we are and where we are going.
Now, suppose that your present or future partner was going to interview you and ask you the same question – what can I rely on you for, without fail? How would you respond?
What if your present or future son or daughter, asked you the same question?
What about your mother and father?
Finally, stand in front of the mirror and ask the same question of yourself.