Thursday, December 04, 2008

A Lilt In My Voice

So says Joyce.

What am I talking about? A voice mail she left me today, after we had talked about an hour earlier, stated that she heard something today that has been missing in my voice for months, maybe even a year. The lilt.

What brought it back?

Retelling the story of today's interview. I applied to an employer online last week and took a very unconventional approach to the cover letter. Fortified by years of blogging, rather than do the typical "Hi, I'm Suzanne and you should hire me because I can do XYZ, which is exactly what you are looking for!", instead, I told them how much I love their store and their products. It spoke of my first visit to their store in 1991 (and how I still own the item I purchased on that day) and that when I moved to Florida, I didn't want to leave them behind.

Apparently, it made an impact. About a day later, I got a call from a manager. We talked for a while in an informal interview mode and she frequently referenced things that I'd written in that cover letter. Blogging may not pay (much), but it gave me the confidence to venture down a different path and write something that set me apart from the rest of the applicant pool.

I was invited to attend a group management interview to be held this morning. In that room, there were plenty of people that I would hire, if I was back in the hiring manager role. It was a diverse blend of people and we spent the next three hours much like you would at a new hire orientation.

We did an icebreaker to introduce ourselves and found that the majority of the room was native New Yorkers (and only two native Floridians). We were presented with a case study and each table had to come up with a solution and then one person would present the decision. After a break, we switched tables and picked apart a PnL statement, and presented our findings again. For each, members of the management team present observed and made notes.

After another break, we were told what the next step would be. Some would be interviewed today, and the rest would be asked to return for interviews over the next week. I was asked to participate in one today.

It went very well. I love giving situational interviews, and I still enjoy it when the tables are turned. Those interviews asking 'what is your greatest weakness' are boring. Once we finished talking, I filled out some more paperwork and asked a few questions about when they'll be making decisions and beginning training.


I've thought interviews have gone well since losing the job, but I was passed over or didn't receive the promised call back. My internal barometer isn't trustworthy anymore. However, I gave them the best Suzanne they could get-they got me in a group situation that I miss and that helped me shift into the one on one interview better than I've been able to in recent memory.

I'm not getting my hopes up. At the same time, I was very happy with the way I presented myself and answered their questions. It felt good to be back in the saddle, if only for the day.

Joyce heard it in my voice. It made enough of an impression for her to point it out.

Let's hope it's a sign of good things to come-and a permanent return of the lilt.

1 People talked back:

Saffa Chick said...

Oh that sounds promising! Good luck and I'm holding thumbs downunder...