Wednesday, June 12, 2013

So I'm Thinking Some More

I had an interview with Boeing. That’s a big company in the aerospace, aviation and defense business. I was satisfied to make it to the next round after the phone interview with Bruce and Tim who would ostensibly be colleagues if I can navigate the selection process for the Communications Specialist 4 position of which I appear to a qualified candidate.

This round has me appearing at building 100 on the Boeing campus for  a structured panel interview with Bruce, Tim and two others (Brent and Henry I think).  The format was remarkably similar to another interview I had this week. There were ten questions preceded by a carefully worded script.
Describe a situation where you proposed an integrated marketing communications program. How did you do this and what were the results?

Describe a situation where you applied metrics to a program to measure success. What were the results?
Describe a situation where you noticed something that needed to change and how you make that adjustment. What were the results?

I’m paraphrasing, of course, since I didn’t have a chance to record the questions.

As I asked around a bit I got this plausible explanation.  The interviewers took turns asking precisely worded questions because they were looking for behavioral examples of my approach. Once more, they were likely grading the completeness of my answers. My friend Mark, a sales trainer and consultant, suggests that those questions were likely graded based more on formula than on a judgment of quality. Mark says that they were looking for situation, action and results – with those three pieces present in the answer you get a star. It seemed to match the behavior I observed of those interviewers.
As always, I hate the vagaries of a process that assesses my qualifications based on some puzzle, formula or scorecard. But at the same time I can see a company the size of Boeing has to follow a process in its hiring practices or be vulnerable to litigation.

Funny, they added an 11th question. What do you think of the value of branding? I am a brand advocate and a firm believer in creating standards that need to be adhered to. However, I felt compelled to point out that all brands evolve. So in a sort of Darwinian fashion you need to make allowances for updates and applications to new situations. “Look at Pepsi, for example. There was a time when changing graphics on a 12 oz can was unthinkable, now seasonal changes are commonplace. And their logo has changed pretty dramatically in the last 5-10 years

The call comes on my cell phone the very next day. “Hello Wes, this is Brett from Boeing calling to thank you for interviewing with us. We enjoyed meeting you and we enjoyed the answers you gave us to our ten questions but we’ve decided to proceed with two other candidates. We hope you will stay in touch and feel free to apply again as other jobs are posted on our web site.”

So it goes.

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