My sister’s granddaughter visited last week with two other lovely young graduate students. They are finishing up advanced degrees in the fields related to data, analytics, etc. The conversation turned to job interviews and their excitement and concern upon this next step. I noticed an odd thing about the three as they spoke without consulting their phones. Five years ago my Sister asked me to talk with the same young college applicant about college admissions and related interviews. I now remembered I had rebuked granddaughter about her watching her phone while I was giving her my time and best advice. I had wondered if I had been too harsh. And that now, she had warned her friends of that day.
So I did remain quiet for a while. Then I blurted out “what have you decided to do on your interviews?” Silence. I then asked my Wife the same question, reminding her of her role as head of selection for National Merit Scholars where she taught, She caught on and remembered crucial fundamentals. I bit my tongue and did remain silent for ages it seemed. After related discussion. one of the aspirants opened the door by asking if I had conducted interviews?
“Hundreds”! Who? Mostly coaches and /or teachers. Plus I’ve been interviewed a number of times.
Bright one #2 : “What is your advice?”
Here are some ideas: 1. Somewhere before the session is over ask the panel or person this basic question: Is there anything you have heard or noticed about me that may not be true. If it influences your thinking I’d like the opportunity to address this criticism.
2. Keep in mind that even if you are not selected, these people in your arena may be able to recommend you to someone pulling the trigger on the next similar (maybe better opportunity). Headhunters often go to this panel to search for the next best candidates they are aware of.
3. Or you may have been the best, and missed this once. I can tell you that very often when the candidates have been studied, it is often really hard to chose a “best” one.
4, I asked about books that they have been impressed by? Having an interest in their field I wondered if they had read Sapiens? Yuval Harari? Homo Deus? 21 Questions for the 21st Century? Malcolm Gladwell. Bill Bryson’s A Short History of Nearly Everything? One said, “My dad has that book” (Sapiens).
5. I asked for those who had helped them. I told them of a really impressive teacher on their faculty who had broken some “ceilings” and maybe they could look her up. I offered to call her.
At this point I notice they one by one pulled out their phones, taking notes: “…How did you spell her name? What were those books again? Tell us about jobs interviews you had or hosted.”
The phones didn’t bother me.