By Rob Starr, big4.com Content Manager.
Dr. Dennis J. O’Neill shares a story about a personal situation where he was in the hot seat during an especially tough interview process.
“It was at the point where the hiring manager already wanted me to get the job,” he said. “So, he had to send me through a sequence of people I’d be working with, mostly as my clients, to give them a courtesy interview.”
One of these interviews, however, was with the executive vice president of sales who was notorious for not liking personnel people. O’Neill found himself having to jump that highest
“ I walked into his office and he had quite the sour puss on, but when I looked over I saw a little bronze model of an airplane on an end table. I asked him if that was a model of his and it turned out to be a model of a plane he flew in the flying club he was a member of. After that I could do no wrong.”
O’Neill is in private practice as an executive coach in the New York tri-state area. He holds doctoral and master’s degrees from Columbia University and has been in the field of Human Resources Development for over twenty-five years. So obviously, there’s a deeper point to the story of how the model of a Beechcraft Bonanza helped him through a veto interview.
“ My theory is that everyone’s office is essentially a shrine to what they believe in one shape or another. People have pictures of their families or their pets or vacation places they love to go to, models or gifts and other curiosities there,” he says adding the job often goes to the person who puts the interviewer at ease since they often spend more time with colleagues than family members. Because many of the applicants for any high level position are fully trained in the technical aspects, sorting through them can become a personalized matter.
So, O’Neill furthers the way to establish yourself is by similar interests or values. You need to scour the office of the interviewer who will make the call on your employment in the five to fifteen seconds you have as a candidate after you’ve entered the room and your eye contact isn’t required by anyone else as everyone settles in.
“That’s your free time to take a quick scan and look for something that you can talk about with some authority, conviction or familiarity.”
Learn more about Dr. Dennis J. O’Neill’s executive coaching practice by following this link.