My name is Danielle Byron. I am a Health IT project leader who is passionate about using technology to improve patient safety and outcomes. In the days of the “buyers” market I’ll take any opportunity to interview: phone, face to face or twittering in 140 characters. However this interview format was a bit different than ones I had previously encountered.
The interview was for a senior project manager position at a Healthcare services firm. I went in having brushed up on all my behavioral interview questions, had my “SAR”s (Situation, Action, Results) stories polished and ready to perform as if I was Meryl Streep getting yet another academy award nomination. I had worked my Linkedin network gathering any classified top secret intelligence as well as looking for embarrassing pictures on Facebook. I walked into the conference room 12-feet tall and Bulletproof wearing my, newly out of hock from the drycleaners, interview suit (having successfully avoiding the dog on the way out the door).
I was actually being asked to put my mind and skills to work! How exciting. I got to draw diagrams, create milestones and identify potential risks. I’m scribbling down insightful questions far beyond the ever popular tell me about your company culture, how popular is your department and just what kind of boss are you type questions.
The hour flew by and my two interviewers returned for my presentation. The next hour felt like a real business meeting – discussing options, pros and cons of each. We even got to Monday morning quarterbacking the reality of how the actual project had turned out.
At the end, my interviewers shared that they also really enjoy this process because no one ever has the same presentation — there is always a new way to do it. They had come up with this approach after having been burned several times in bringing on project leadership that looked great on paper and had passed rigorous verbal interviews – however when they came in to start actual projects there was a disconnect.
Another aspect that I liked about this interview approach was that it was all done as part of the interview. Several individuals in my job search network have been asked to pull together extensive business plans on their own time (which typically turns into several intensive all nighters). The perfect business case is handed over and next thing they hear is that an internal candidate gets the job. Some feel justifiably used for free consulting; others feel it is part of the process and move onto the next opportunity.
Doing some quick Google searches revealed some Internet resources in case I encounter another interview of the type. Mastering the Case Interview gives a good overview. The management firm McKinsey site has a simulated online game for practice – might be better to play than Spider Monkey Solitaire.
Regardless of the outcome of this Health IT interview – I have a new interview technique that I have placed in my toolbox to bring along to my next position when I am back on the other side of the table.
What has been your most engaging and interesting interview?