Monday, June 17, 2013

Assembling Your “Win” Book, Pt II

Take your “win” book with you when you attend a face-to-face interview. It’s up to you when you want to present it; think strategically. You may want to present it in a first interview, or you may not. In my opinion, presenting it to the interviewer at the end of the second interview is the most powerful. Consider for a moment you are meeting for the second time, which means a number of other applicants have been thinned out and the stakes are rising. You’ve referred to your job performance and, to back up your claims, you are offering documentation and, in addition, you are providing written reference letters before your references have even been requested. Presented in a professional way it suggests, “Go ahead and check me out”. This projects a measure of confidence, does it not? If you fail to present it during an interview and have second thoughts, you can always go back and drop it off, sending it to the attention of the person you recently met. Depending on the situation, it likely will have more impact by leaving it with a hiring official who is in line management. Leaving it with HR during an initial screening interview may not have the same impact. Rarely does an initial interview with human resources result in a serious, nuts and bolts discussion about the job. But you never know, so have it with you, at the ready, and play it by ear. Perhaps you will wait until the herd of applicants has been thinned a bit before leaving it with a hiring official you have met. An example of an exception, when it would be suitable to leave your “win” book at a first meeting, may be a group interview or a job fair, when you have limited time to make any kind of impression. Ensure your “win” book contains only copies of your original documents because, once you leave it, you will look a little silly chasing around and asking for it to be returned. Leave your originals at home unless you are later asked to present them for proof.  

If you are concerned that you don’t have any significant materials because you may be in the early stages of your career, utilizing a “win” book may not yet be feasible. It could be an effort in futility when you bang your head against the wall trying to find or rationalize suitable material. Don’t worry, it is helpful but it is not a must-have item. If you can assemble and make use of one, great, but this is just one more of many tools for you to use in reaching your goal. 

If you worry this technique might make you stand out a little bit, if you are new to this blog, that is the whole point! Like everything else I share, my goal is to help people to help themselves by being just a bit different, which I think is necessary in our current generic, bland, plain-vanilla world where they say, “stand in line over there and wait until summoned”. If you resign yourself to be a part of the herd, surely you’re not surprised if  your results, or the lack thereof, match those of everyone else. If you choose not to be any different, you won’t be. I’m not just a number, I’m an individual, is how to see yourself. Last I checked, beyond the institutional bureaucracy, most companies still seek innovative and self-starting individuals – ironic, isn’t it. If I am wrong, if companies actually wanted to hire cardboard cut-out people, why even conduct interviews when they could just hire anyone lining up and competing for the same jobs, if only having a pulse mattered, eh? 

Next time we’ll talk about the most basic and essential thing to which we all have access  when we search for a job and interview, but sometimes fail to capitalize on.

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