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Interviewing Suggestions

Interviewing Suggestions

Interviewing Suggestions

(OP)
I have worked for the same company for 20 years and now there is an opening for a Manager within my department and I have decided to apply.  It is a local government and is in the IT department for data and voice services.

The interview will be with people that I have known and worked with for a number of years.  

The whole interview process terrifies me actually.  

Does anyone have any advice or similar experience that they could share? Thanks.

RE: Interviewing Suggestions

Quote (Dabble):

The interview will be with people that I have known and worked with for a number of years...The whole interview process terrifies me actually.
Fear and Faith cannot exist simultaneously in the same being. So, have faith in your 20 years of experience, and have faith in the professionalism of the people whom you have known for a number of years. Unless they are jerks, they want to see you succeed !

Identify either a) one of the potential interviewers or b) one of your capable colleagues, in whom you have particular confidence and trust, then invite them to conduct a mock interview with you...the practice will do a world of wonders for dispelling your fear (again, because you will be increasing the faith in yourself). Then do it again if you wish...That which we persist in doing becomes easier, not that the nature of the thing we are doing is changing, but our ability to do it is increasing.

Another practice methodology is to locate a community-based, no-fee job-finding service (there are typically one or more in most communities). Such organizations will help you update/refine your résumé, and they will be delighted to conduct mock interviews with you...even video taping your interviews so that you can see for yourself how you come across! Cool ! If have a directory of such services worldwide. Let me know if you need a referral to such an organization.

Go for it and let us know how it went.

santaMufasa
(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
[I provide low-cost, remote Database Administration services: www.dasages.com]
"Beware of those that seek to protect you from harm or risk. The cost will be your freedoms and your liberty."

RE: Interviewing Suggestions

In this situation I would say be yourself.  The people that are interviewing you already know your work habits and your skills level.  I think if you try to put on any acts you might send the wrong signal.  I've work with the gov't before and they like to promote from within.  So as long as you don't do something complete out of line you have a great chance of landing this new position (from my own experiences).  Don't be scared or nervous because you have something a lot of people off the street do not have...that is knowledge of this department and its inner workings.  Put on your best suit and go in there with your game face and get that job.

Well Done is better than well said
- Ben Franklin

RE: Interviewing Suggestions

My chubby fingers typed, "If have a directory of such services worldwide." I meant to say, "I have a directory of such services worldwide." Sorry.

santaMufasa
(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
[I provide low-cost, remote Database Administration services: www.dasages.com]
"Beware of those that seek to protect you from harm or risk. The cost will be your freedoms and your liberty."

RE: Interviewing Suggestions

Quote:

The people that are interviewing you already know your work habits and your skills level.  I think if you try to put on any acts you might send the wrong signal.
While I agree 100% with the second sentence, I would not assume that just because you know and work with the individuals who will be conducting the interview, that they *fully* know your work habits and skill levels.  Even if they do, it does not hurt to remind them of your abilities and accomplishments.  Talk about what you have accomplished in the past, and how.  Talk about what you hope to accomplish in the future.

Susan
"An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't."
 - Anatole France

RE: Interviewing Suggestions

Confidence can go a long way to help dispel fear and nervousness.  

Start by asking yourself why you are the best candidate for the job.  Interview yourself.  Once you're able to convince yourself that you truly are the best choice, you should be less nervous (or at least have thought of some good answers to their questions).

Unlike an interview with an outside company, you already know a lot about the position, the company culture, the company's inteview process (you already went through it once), and the interviewers themselves.  Use this to your advantage by predicting what they are looking for.  This will help you better anticipate the interview process.

Good luck.

RE: Interviewing Suggestions

Excellent suggestions, all, from the other contributors above.

An additional suggestion that will both help increase your confidence, and be an excellent resource reference for your interviewers, is to create an inventory of all of your technical and professional contributions/accomplishments during your tenure at the organization.

When you start listing all your accomplishments, I'll bet your anxiety level will dissipate.

santaMufasa
(aka Dave of Sandy, Utah, USA)
[I provide low-cost, remote Database Administration services: www.dasages.com]
"Beware of those that seek to protect you from harm or risk. The cost will be your freedoms and your liberty."

RE: Interviewing Suggestions

(OP)
Thanks to all who took the time to respond.  I appreciate all the comments and suggestions! Thanks.

RE: Interviewing Suggestions

I also work for a government agency and we have internal training for interviewing....you should NOT assume that the interviewers know anything about what you do or the things you know.  We have people who interview for internal positions and get situtations like this:

Interviewer:  So tell us what skills and tools you have that will allow you to excel in this position?

Interviewee:  Well, I have worked in the division for 10 years and have done every job there is.  I know everything about the division.


well unfortunately not everyone on the interview panel works in your division, doesn't know what work there is and doesn't know what skills it takes to do those other jobs in the division and how those skills transfer to the job for which you are interviewing.

An answer that details the skills and tools you have learned over the past 10 years and how those skills will transfer to your new position is much better:
I have worked in the division for 10 years and have worked with case files in every possible way: intialized cases, reviewed case files, closed case files, audited case files.  I have worked as a trainer for all new employees and consistently share my knowledge of the system with answers to all staff.  I believe that my knowledge of our filing system and my ability to share information with others makes me the best candidate for the position.

Leslie

Have you met Hardy Heron?

RE: Interviewing Suggestions

I did a lot of interviewing when I worked for the government. The people we found most impressive were the ones who pointed out actual accomplishments rather than talking about the things they were responsible for. If you had a work sample of something your were particularly proud of, then bring copies and give them to the panel.  (This is the government so you shouldn't have any proprietary information isssues in showing a work sample but do be aware everyone on the panel (especially HR) might not have the correct clearance and scrub out any classified parts of your sample).

Rmember you are selling yourself, it is up to you to let them know why you would be a better person for this job than someone else. If you can take the job responsibilites of the new job and show direct experience you have that would make you the person who can do the job that will really help. Make the connection for them explicitly, don't rely on them to know why it is better for a C# programmer to supervise other C# programmers doing programming projects than for a network engineer.

Since the manager job is in your department, make sure you let them know how well you understand the processses that have to be managed and give some thought to what you see as the trouble areas and how you would handle them. You may or may not be asked about this, but being prepared to answer will help your own nerves.

If you are afraid you will get too nervous, note down the points you want to make about yourself and take the notes with you to the interview. Note the questions you want to ask them about the job. (Always have some questions prepared about the job - not the salary or benefits) If something doesn't come up naturally through the questions they ask, almost every interview gives you a chance at the end to ask any questions you want to ask or make any points you still want to make about yourself. Pull out your notes and ask. It doesn't make you look nervous to pullout notes, it makes you look prepared.

"NOTHING is more important in a database than integrity." ESquared
 

RE: Interviewing Suggestions

Treat it like an external interview. If you're lucky, the interviewers want to give you the job (keep that happy thought in mind!). So you have to make it easy for them. If you look as good as the external candidates, it's easy for them to justify a decision in your favour. The worst scenario is a highly competent internal candidate who hasn't tried to prepare, and bumbles through simple questions relating to the everyday job; everyone wants to scream.

The fact you're worrying about it is a very good sign, because it means you are preparing yourself.

Don't feel afraid to ask questions about the new role, even if you're internal. There may be plans to take advantage of staff change to modify the role. Asking questions shows initiative, and takes the pressure off you (while they're talking, you don't have to talk...)

Remember, too, that the interviewers will possibly be just as psyched out by interviewing someone with whom they've worked for years, as you are. I've been on both sides of this one, and find it very weird from both angles.

Good luck!
 

RE: Interviewing Suggestions

(OP)
Well, just dropped off my resume to HR.  Posting closed today.  Closes externally next week so probably won't get called for an interview for a couple of week.

I will be reviewing everyone's suggestions a few times - thank you to all for responding!

RE: Interviewing Suggestions

Good luck!

________________________________________
CompTIA A+, Network+, Server+, Security+
MCTS:Hyper-V
MCTS:System Center Virtual Machine Manager
MCSE:Security 2003
MCITP:Enterprise Administrator  

RE: Interviewing Suggestions

Please keep us posted.... and I will keep my fingers crossed for you.

Susan
"An education isn't how much you have committed to memory, or even how much you know. It's being able to differentiate between what you do know and what you don't."
 - Anatole France

RE: Interviewing Suggestions

Something that may be of use to you: When I worked in (UK) Local Government, we had an equal opportunities policy when interviewing.

What this meant (in theory) was that the questions asked, and the answers given, were to be marked "objectively". Specifically, questions would be asked that had multiple correct answers (e.g. "a process that you're responsible for failed last night, how would you go about fixing it?") and candidates would score one point for each answer they gave.

If you don't know this, you might give one answer in depth (one point) instead of many superficial ones (many points). When interviewers try to guide you to add to your score, it can appear that they're never satisfied with any answer you give! So be aware that this may happen in your case.

Personally my performance as an interviewee improved after taking the course to become an interviewer. Mind you, being involved in conducting interviews was one of the experiences which convinced me to become a contractor and never have to do so again!

-- Chris Hunt
Webmaster & Tragedian
Extra Connections Ltd

RE: Interviewing Suggestions

(OP)
UPDATE.  Wanted to provide an update on this thread since so many of you were kind enough to respond.

Received call from HR this morning.  My director wanted to talk to me before her holidays (March break) but couldn't get a hold of me - meanwhile, I am always in my office, I have a blackberry and she has access to my calendar.  So the HR manager called to say that they will not be extending an interview to me for the manager's position.  She said it was because of my insufficient supervisory skills and my lack of network knowledge.  I agree with the supervisory aspect but I have been living an breathing our network for the last 15 years!

At first I was really ticked off, but then I settled down and thought oh well....I wasn't really sure I wanted it but I thought for sure I would be given an interview.  

Anyway....I will survive to work another wonderful day here!

RE: Interviewing Suggestions

Sorry to hear that you didn't even get the opportunity...

Kinda hate those HR people and their minimum "quals"...

Leslie

Have you met Hardy Heron?

RE: Interviewing Suggestions

Sorry you didn't get the opportunity.
Your director is a coward! He didn't want to tell you so he pretended he couldn't contact you. What a wimp. Of course the reason why he didn't want to tell you is because he probably doesn't lie well and couldn't tell you you didn't have network experience where you could point out to him that you do. HR is usually clueless enough about IT that she may even believe you aren't qualified.

I suspect they had someone in mind for the position. Be interesting to see if he has as much network experience as you do or any supervisory experience.

Since this is the government, you could probably request a review of your qualifications and have a chance to point out to them why you are qualified. If the hiring manager didn't have someone in mind (especially if HR filtered you out before he even saw the application) and doesn't like anyone he interviewed, this could get your foot in the door, but it's risky. When I worked for the government, we often got applications late in the process because someone could prove they were at least as qualified as the people who made the interview list. Never bothered us as we often found these people were more qualified than the ones we saw. But if they have someone in mind for the job and the hiring manager already saw your application, protesting could label you forevermore as a troublemaker.

"NOTHING is more important in a database than integrity." ESquared
 

RE: Interviewing Suggestions

As far as supervisory experience goes, maybe you should bring it up with your boss as something you'd like to develop. Are there some people/projects that you can be given some responsibility for? Otherwise you're going to stay in this Catch-22 situation.

On the network side, are you sure you spelled out your experience in your CV/application form. They may be legally constrained to rely entirely on what you've written down, rather than what they know about your skills.

Or they could just be tossers...

-- Chris Hunt
Webmaster & Tragedian
Extra Connections Ltd

RE: Interviewing Suggestions

Politics are nasty in every level of the government. You don't have to be politician to have to dance in gov jobs. Bummer they didn't even have the guts to play a song.  

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Bluto: What? Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? No!
Otter: Germans?
Boon: Forget it, he's rolling.
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