Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Interview Strategies When Looking for Underemployment

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The other day, I was talking to a security guard who was wearing his uniform on his way to work and he stopped into Starbucks. As we got into a conversation it was obvious to me that this individual had a lot of worldly experience, was well-traveled, and was a former corporate executive in his earlier life. He is now retired, and he just wants something to do to occupy his time because he doesn't want his mind to melt, which is probably why he engaged me in conversation at the coffee shop. Okay so let's talk.

You see, he was completely underemployed, he knew it, but he didn't dare tell his employer or his manager because he wouldn't want to intimidate them, or for them to think he was going to go after their job. He explained that he worked in various industries, but didn't say he was practically the head of the company, or the fact that they were doing hundreds of millions of dollars a year around the globe. I thought that was kind of funny, but I totally understand where he's coming from and I realize he is not alone, especially in our desert resort community here in California.

We got to talking about interview strategies and what to do if you were looking for employment but realized that you would be severely underemployed if you took the job. You see, this gentleman went to a very famous business school, and he had an MBA. If he had written on his application that he had an MBA from Harvard, it's very unlikely they would have hired him. They would have figured that he would try to take over the company, or would quit within a few months. The thought actually cross my mind, and apparently he had thought about quitting several times because he did admit that the management was inept.

"By whose standards," I asked him, and of course his answer was by his standards, which is pretty funny coming from a Harvard MBA graduate with lots of corporate experience spanning some four and a half decades. I asked him how he was able to dodge the questions without lying during the interview process. He told me that when he went into the room there were many people there all applying for the same job. He just acted a little smarter than all the people in the room, but not too smart to make the interviewer look bad or stupid.

He simply listened intently to the interviewer and then repeated back to him everything that he had said in a quick summary, kind of like what we are teaching our AI robotic androids to do today. All he did was develop rapport, mirrored the interviewer, and he got the job. There was nothing more to it. Indeed I hope this helps you if you are looking for something to do part-time but realize you will be completely underemployed if you do take the job.

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