Category Archives: Interviewing

Entries that pertain to job interviews–both as the applicant and the interviewer.

What should I wear to a campus interview? (Men’s version)


I over-use the Bell Curve when describing averages. Though it’s so applicable in so many and varied situations that I can’t help myself. And believe it or not, what people wear to a campus interview falls into the standard deviations laid out in the Bell Curve.

We all know the curve. The bulk of the curve, the hump, represents 70% of the populace. They’re all within expected norms of this measure. In this case, it means 70% of campus interview candidates dress alike. This is true. It also means that 15% of candidates dress impressively, while 15% dress unfortunately. This is also true. And while some may argue that there are more nuances and degrees of appropriateness, there aren’t. There really aren’t.

So let’s take a look at the three different groupings of male attire for campus interviews. I’m not necessarily going to recommend anything, but at least I’ll highlight what’s happening with the competition.

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How to hold a phone interview


As with many of my posts, like How can you tell if someone’s arrogant?, this one is written from the perspective of an employer.  The thought being that job candidates can benefit from knowing how the interview process works from the other side.  I’m writing this as-if I have a new employee to train on the phone interview process. Continue reading

Dumb Interview Questions


You have to bring more than your 'A' game to an interview. For instance, you have to bring a pen.

There’s no such thing as a dumb question, right? Wrong. During a job interview, there are many dumb questions. Even candidates with perfect resumes and outstanding soft skills come to interviews unprepared in key areas, which is why I feel compelled to write this. You can practice for hours a day and follow all the tips and still forget to brush your teeth.

Questions reveal just as much about us as answers. Probably more. Some stem from great insight, while others highlight true ignorance.  Asking about a company’s strategy, the requirements for the position, or a list of common activities is never a bad idea. I’m not talking about that type of question. Continue reading

Question 2: What does the John Doe brand stand for?


Another in the line of Great Interview Questions, this one helps me understand if the candidate has critically thought about what they bring to the table.  I find a certain amount of self-awareness in the best candidates, and this is a great way to uncover it.

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How can you tell if someone’s arrogant?


I mentioned in my post yesterday that the most common failing I’ve seen in both junior and senior consultants is hubris.  Arrogance.  I received three follow-up questions, all asking me “How do you know if someone’s arrogant?”  The boring truth is that I know it when I see it–we all do.  Though failing that, I do have a method to employ if I get a hint that the candidate may be over-confident.  Because during a 60 minute interview (or two), it’s easy for candidates to mask a trait or tendency, sometimes you need to coax it out.

Fortunately, most arrogant people don’t see their swagger as a failing.  In their minds they replace Arrogance (bad) with Confidence (good).  Yet I see it this way:



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Of the traits I look for in new employees, intelligence is not in the top three


Shocked?  I was, too.  But last week I was ranking a group of traits, and I found intelligence consistently falling somewhere between 3 and 8, depending on the granularity of the list.  Wow.  I look at it this way: There’s no such thing as too hard-working.  There is such thing as too smart.

The most common failing I’ve seen in consultants, both senior and junior, is hubris.  Hubris’ co-pilot is usually intelligence (or, more accurately, perceived intelligence).  Confidence is important, but only when balanced by humility.  I’ve known far too many people who combine intelligence with confidence and attitude and stop working hard.  Instead of prolific production of amazing work, these people work hard only when absolutely necessary and otherwise find ways to do the minimum level required to succeed.   Continue reading

When Senior People Apply for Junior-level Jobs


Though the employment index climbed to its highest level in two years (and that’s good news), from a  job-search perspective, it’s still a jungle out there.  Not only are companies still reluctant to resume hiring to any meaningful degree, overqualified candidates continue to compete with recent grads for jobs in the 0 – 5 year range.  How do you handle an interview when you suspect the competition has you beat by ten years? Continue reading