Submitted by geo_ on
The Interview series is fantastic. I am preparing for my internal IT Manager interview this next Tuesday. I had a quick question that come up while I was listening to the significant accomplishment cast.
I am expecting to get questions on the lines of:
"Tell us about a time that you helped ensure that all of the members of a team were involved in making a decision."
In my mind this is one of these significant accomplishments question, the thing that makes me nervous is that if I start the answer with my example accomplishments and I give him two approaches that are not related to bringing people together to make a decision the hiring manager will probably be disappointed.
Should I stick to the model, or just give the approach inside the significant accomplishment answer structure that is related to the question?
Thanks again for producing great content.
I'm sorry, G. I'm not sure I understand the question. It sounds like you have accomplishments that don't necessarily align with the question you expect.
If you think the question is going to be in the interview you should rewrite your accomplishment to embrace what you think they'll ask. Even if they don't ask about collaboration, it won't be a bad thing to incorporate a few words about it in one or two of your accomplishments.
Prepare for what you're expecting
If you're expecting that kind of question, prepare for that kind of question. Don't short-change the other preparation, but be ready if that's what you're expecting.
You may have a prepared answer for a more general question that includes gathering input and building consensus on a decision. If you expect a more specific question in that direction, you wouldn't go wrong to have a more specific answer prepared.
I have some of the same issue myself: I'm hoping to move up from an individual contributor role, so I expect to face questions about leading, managing, etc. rather than my technical approaches and contributions for my accomplishments.
As I write this, it's Tuesday. Good luck on your interview!
Houston, Texas, USA
Answering the question is job one...but they'll want context too
I may be misinterpreting your question, but here's what I think you're asking. The interviewer asks you to show how you involve people in decision making. You have a great accomplishment that demonstrates that skill. Maybe that's concept #1. But the recommended model tells you to use maybe 3 or 4 concepts, in order to flesh out that accomplishment. And you're worried the interviewer will think you've gone off topic during concepts 2 and 3, for example. Is that right?
Assuming so, one thing I might point out is that you say you have "two approaches that are not related to bringing people together" but I might recast your description a little bit. You really have just one approach, and there are 3 or 4 concepts within that approach. To some extent this may just be semantics, but look closely at the example in the interviewing series model. The 3 example concepts are personnel issues, analysis, and labor shortages, and these are certainly not approaches. They are just facets of the problem or end goal. And you could very easily show how you involved people in decision making within all 3 of these concepts.
Another thing I'd mention is that they are asking you to "tell them about the time" when you did this. And they certainly do not mean for you to just describe the meeting when you got everyone together. They want to understand how you've used this technique to accomplish something, and they know that any meaningful accomplishment will take several inputs. If you've practiced your answer you'll be fairly succinct on any one of these points, so your "tangents" will feel relevant to the end result rather than off-track rambling. So you might be underestimating their tolerance for context.
Obviously if you get to the end of your answer and the interviewer doesn't get how "bringing everyone together" had any impact on the end result, you've failed to answer the question. But your examples can certainly show that you command a range of skills, traits, abilities, and characteristics.
Finally, you might also want to briefly include in your answer some kind of awareness of WHEN this approach is appropriate. Because ensuring "all of the members of a team were involved in making a decision" is probably not the best approach to use for every decision.