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Thus far, I have interviewed with the (external) recruiter and, at a separate meeting, with the two (external) consultants for a managerial position. On Thursday, I will finally meet with internal representatives of the hiring company. As has been pointed out in the Kellogg slides, this company seems more than willing to accept 90% less ability for 10% more enthusiasm.

This position is somewhat new in that it will be similar to the pre-existing position which is being phased out of CA and moved to a completely new Shared Services Center in CO. Since the company has narrowed down the final candidates to those of us coming in on Thursday, it stands to reason that my hard credentials are inline with their expectations (or I wouldn't have made it this far) so it will likely boil down to personality fit.

I already know I need to be myself inasmuch as feasible during a brief interview setting because otherwise it would be a lousy fit when I finally revealed my 'true colours.'

I've been thinking really hard about how to distinguish myself from the other final candidates and I want to run this by you wonderful MT people.

[b]I am also a published author - of a self-help book focused on healthy, happy living - and my website has over 5,000 members since I began it in 2001. I've established a formal managerial system for this online environment and I have four "managers" and twelve "supervisors" who effectively run the day-to-day operations, interact with the website members and keep the discussions focused on our primary objectives.[/b]

Part of me thinks the hiring managers will see this in a negative light: "Gee, she'll be way too busy and/or distracted to focus on the job we need her to do."

The other part of me thinks they'll be able to recognize the positive points I've made: it's mostly a hands-off operation at this point, I'm an effective leader and manager, I have a proven record of solid communication skills (author) and I have a healthy, positive outlook on life in general that would fit well with their environment.

Thoughts, opinions, suggestions?

I don't really want to give them the website information until after the offer since the focus of the book and website are on a personality disorder which may scare the crap out of them, even though it's clearly no longer an issue for me. Just saying "author" though and adding that to my name in a Google search has this information clearly showing up in the fourth search result so it's not as though withholding the URL would serve much purpose. I just don't want to shoot myself in the foot with this but, at the same time, I really believe this facet to be relevant (especially in a shared services, remote, non face-to-face environment with 2,000 employees) and could help differentiate myself.

MattJBeckwith's picture

Although my first instinct is that you should not go into a lot of detail about your website I realize that if a candidate that I was interviewing mentioned that she is a published author I would dig a little deeper. I think it shows a level of skill not found in most candidates.

If the potential company is a brick-and-mortar type operation there may not be a good understanding of what it takes to "manage" your website so you may want to carefully bring up that aspect.

Lastly, I would focus on the successes you had that relate to the job you are applying, can't go wrong with that.

Good luck on the rest of your interviews.

aspiringceo's picture

Ash,

I applaud your journey to recovery, and your openness about your bpd. However only you can make the decision about whether and how much to tell the interviewer about your mental health (because as soon as they check out your site and book thats what your going to have to do).
Whilst I would always encourage people to be upfront (it can help protect your right to reasonable accommodation) you do need to be aware of the stigma, negative attitudes and discrimination that surround mental health issues. (I'm sure I'm preching to the converted here)

In making your decision try and find out a bit more about the company and their attitudes eg to they have policies in place, have they other staff with MH issues, do they encourage a diverse workforce, is there anything about the job that puts someone with MH issues at a disadvantage or for that matter an advantage.

Best of luck with your decision and the interview

Edmund

fcch_mngtools's picture

Non professional activities are an important part of a candidate's profile (imho).

Today's executives must be well rounded people. Work/family balance is an aspect that many companies look at when selecting new people.

"Is this guy or gal going to burn out in 3 years?"
"Can this new exec have a normal casual conversation with clients, peers, directs?"

Sure, ... I work some extraordinary weeks getting projects rolled out, but my principal non professional activity helps me keep my feet on the ground (and my head screwed on straight).

This aspect of my life is actually a strong selling point in my career advancement. You see, ... I'm a managing forester and I also Guide for Atlantic salmon fishing on weekends and holidays. The two are complimentary not contradictory.

My 2¢ (and hey, ... 0.02$ Cdn is finally starting to be worth something :wink:

Mark's picture

Ashdenver-

I'm sorry I didn't respond in time for your interview.

My early answer was YES, of course bring up this activity. I don't consider it to be "non" professional AT ALL.

That said, it's completely reasonable for the company to want to know more about it. The moment you chose not to tell them, were it me, I would consider that as being wanting to eat your cake and then have it to. I wouldn't rule you out for secrecy/privacy, but rather for poor communication skills.

If you did share what the site was about, there is always a chance that some manager wouldn't like it. Some might scream discrimination for this(and they might be right), but that always supposes that there is a REASONABLY navigable path to restitution, and there is not).

There is also the chance that they would behave as ethical professionals and ignore that.

It has been my experience that the former is more common than the latter.

I would recommend NOT bringing it up, sadly, based on my experience.

Mark

PS: Please don't attempt to get too far as a great communicator because you are a published author. Authorship is a narrow skill the association of which to verbal skills, persuasion, email etiquette, and presentations is not highly correlated. This is not to say it is low; it is just not necessarily enough to prove the other in an interview.

Please let us know the outcome.