Wednesday, December 03, 2008

A last-minute, second interview

Coinciding with my layoff notice was an e-mail from company recruiter asking if I was interested in a job opening. Curiously, this was a position I had hoped for way back in January. The company did in fact post an opportunity of interest the same week I accepted my now former job.

I couldn't help think it kind of odd that they've been unable to fill the position for over six months, still it seemed like great timing for my new job search. They seemed quite interested in my resume and eager to schedule a time for me to interview. It's always nice to feel wanted.

Finding a new job is going to be challenging. My most recent job really was ideal because it matched so much of my search criteria. I wanted something in a new product area, something that challenged me to be more strategic, and an environment where the people I worked with were more similar in background to me. We were a small group of similar age, experiences, interests, and we could also laugh and have fun together. This on top of being smart people who were comfortable consulting and learning from each other. With all my work history, I've learned that it's nice to like the products you work on, but the key is to respect and enjoy being around the people with whom you'll spend forty hours of your week.

The interview with the company seemed to go well. I'm very excited about the company and its products. They have a very cutting-edge and impactful product. I've been interested in the company since I went to an association meeting where the president talked about the company. The three department people I talked with all seemed intelligent and friendly. The challenge was figuring out the work style of my potential manager and whether or not we'd be compatible. While she is probably incredibly competent, I worry that she could be pretty intense. I want to learn, but I don't want to feel like I have to be serious all the time.

That was two weeks ago. This week, at the last minute, I received a call asking if I could come in the next day and meet with the SVP for one hour. It felt a bit unnerving to have to sit with management for that long. Would I be grilled with technical questions and have to endlessly discuss my qualifications?

The hour felt like it was mostly spend listening to him talk. He repeated much of the information we discussed before though with more detail. I felt somewhat like an analyst listening to a investment presentation. It was like trying to be sold on the product. In my mind I kept wondering whether he was expecting me to interrupt with critical questions to demonstrate my strategic thinking and vision of my responsibilities. He stated that the next step in the interview process depended on whether I was still interested in the position. He tossed out the rhetorical question of whether I might be happier in a larger, more stable company rather than this start up (of 350 employees). They want to be sure I'm interested and prepared to take on the responsibility of managing a new department.

At the end, I was told that if I expressed interest that they'd consider me in the pool for a 2nd round where candidates would be asked to give a presentation to demonstrate speaking skills and analysis techniques. I'm excited about the job but still a bit unsure whether this is a group of people I will be happy working with.

Overall, I'm just still trying to understand the point of this interview. Granted, I had only spoken to the SVP via phone. This was probably his chance to confirm his stamp of approval. Are they unsure of whether to continue with me or are they unsure of my level of interest? And was I supposed to talk more? I mean it was strange how much of the hour he talked. Why not also touch base briefly with the hiring manager? I know I'm very intelligent and have a great resume, but I suck at reading people. I never know what to make of interviews.

1 comment:

teahouse said...

I'm sure you did great! It's very heartening to have an interview. I bet you have a good shot at this job.