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How to Set up a Successful Interview as a Job Seeker
I was recently in Pune for a new property visit. This is a new hotel struggling with birth pangs and the one person who can and should be there to provide round the clock care, the General Manager was not in place. There was one who just couldnt handle the load and now we were searching for another.
I have always believed that the expertise required for opening a hotel or running a new hotel is very different from the one required to run a successful running operation. In a new hotel, the team looks at the leader to set the tone, the culture, processes, the ability to respond to emerging needs and wants. In an established one, sometimes the poor general manager is unable to make any significant changes at all, he is supposed to ensure the hotel runs and everyday decisions are taken.
Which one is more challenging is not the discussion here - maybe another day we will take that up - today I want to talk about what a particular applicant did to ensure he gets the job.
Since I was there to see the hotel and offer my suggestions, the owners asked me to meet a particular candidate they thought could do the job as General Manager. I met up with him and found him a little to administrative in outlook, but when the owners told me how he got here, I thought it was worth sharing here.
Here is the broad steps he took to ensure a successful interview:
1. He heard about the opening from a website, but tracked down somebody he knew who worked there. When he applied he mentioned he heard the opportunity from that person not from a website. This established local networking credibility and since the employee in question was a good one, a little positive effect rubbed off.
2. He visited the hotel. He came when his friend was not on duty and got a guest tour. He took notes.
3. He found out the hotel had issues with the outsourced service partner and got another agency to contact the owners, who magically mentioned how good he was.
4. Another friend of his applied to the owners for a job opportunity and mentioned his name in the interview with a glowing review.
5. He got in touch with the owners and casually mentioned that a friend of his working with them was mentioning the other day how good the owners were and how serious they were about making the property better. He also mentioned companies were saying it is a wonderful hotel except for some niggling problems (all of them the outsourced partners failings). He was invited to a meeting.
6. He met, asked for a property round and then went on to talk about things he noticed on his last visit.
7. He was poetic in his approval of the new vendor he had sent to the owners.
8. By the time he met me, he was already talking about what plans he had for 'his' hotel.
Now some of it borders on the unethical, but truly speaking, after meeting 10 others who did not even visit the website of the company and did know that the person they were meeting was a Director or worse did not show up for the interview at all, I thought it showed a lot of initiative. I am not sure I would hire him (I am personally not fond of stage managing the bosses) but I thought everyone could take a leaf out of his book.
Here are my key takeaways from this incident:
1. Do your research.
2. Find the pain points.
3. Offer concrete solutions to those pain points.
If you can do these, you will be better placed to succeed in a managerial interview.
What do you think? Was this behavior ethical? Would you do it? Would you hire someone who did this?