Career Profiles: The Two-Minute Drill

THE UNFAIR INTERVIEW

Lanelle was stunned.  She had tried for months to network her way into the premier cosmetics company that had been her first choice even as she worked for two other companies over eight years.  Every one of her attempts had been frustrated in one way or another until she spoke with one of her neighbors at a block picnic.  The neighbor had a great contact with the head of recruiting for the company, and he had enough leverage to help Lanelle establish a meeting.  It happened very quickly and Lanelle didn’t have an opportunity to do much specific research on the people she might meet.

Despite that, her industry-wide research had given her enough background to have an intelligent conversation, and she was not going to pass on her chance to have a meeting. Lanelle and Mila, the head of recruiting, really hit it off.  They had numerous friends in common, one of them a great friend to each of them.  They also had at least one common interest, bicycling.

Mila was equally pleased with Lanelle’s academic background and job experience.  Suddenly, Mila stopped and looked at her watch.  Then she looked back at Lanelle and smiled.  “Look,” she said, “How much do you want to work here?”

Lanelle said, “A great deal.  This is my number one choice.”

Mila said, “This may not be totally fair, since you haven’t had a chance to do all of your preparation, but you have enough industry knowledge.  We are in the final stages of the first round of interviews for a great position at the appropriate level.  You are definitely competitive with our other candidates, and we will not be interviewing again until another appropriate position becomes available.  I can schedule you in for an interview but it would be right now.  I am sure you’ll do well, and you can do further preparation before your next round.  What do you think?”

Lanelle said, “Wow, thank you very much.  I’m definitely interested.  How much time do I have to prepare?”

Mila responded, “Probably five minutes.  The interviews are just about over.” Lanelle did her best to look in control, as she accepted.

Mila took Lanelle to the interview site, wished her well and left. Lanelle’s first thoughts were to panic.  Normally, she was a set a plan, do analysis and preparation, practice and arrive early kind of person.  Here, she had only a few minutes to get ready.

Instinctively, she thought how she had been taught the “Two Minute” drill.  She had notes about the company with her, so she took them out.  As she went over the notes, she began to calm down.  In terms of psychological preparation, she reminded herself how lucky she was to attain this interview, and the importance of positive attitude, self-confidence with humility, and passion for the work.  She reminded herself that the interviewer was taking valuable time to meet with her, and she should help make the meeting interactive and stimulating.  This would require focus on the interviewer’s agenda, especially in an initial screening interview, and keeping her answers within 60 seconds and on point.  She had prepared long and hard on her competencies and accomplishments, and had prepared a short statement on what she felt made her unique.

Suddenly, the interviewer appeared but Lanelle was ready.  She got up and greeted the interviewer warmly with a smile and a firm handshake.  She really was ready. Lanelle had a great interview, went on to the second round, and eventually landed the job.

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