I had a third round job interview today - a mondo FIVE HOUR interview that ended up being six hours when all was said and done. I had to deliver two different 20 minute presentations and met with the direct supervisor of the position, the peer group, the direct reports and the incumbent. Six hours, a nap and a dinner out with a friend later I am still fried from the experience. SO much to process...
The topic of the first presentation was why I am uniquely qualified for the position. The fact of the matter is, I am. I have the experience, the skills, the knowledge, the proven track record and the network that make me a perfect candidate and told them as much.
Having all the right qualifications, however, doesn't answer the question about whether or not I am good fit for the role and I told them that too. I spent the last part of the presentation introducing them to me, my work style and my strengths. I also showcased for them who I need to work with to counterbalance my style. After doing so one of my interviewers asked what I was doing to invest in those areas that I'm not strong.
"I'm not," I told her. Which is probably the "wrong" thing to say in an interview, but the truth.
I can be pragmatic. I can be slow and methodical and overly-cautious and all those things that I'm not naturally. I can also spend all day poking my eyeballs out with pencils which is pretty much what being slow and methodical feels like to me. Or - OR - I can be the person I am and partner with someone who gets energy from being pragmatic and methodical and overly-cautious (which I define as anything short of jumping off a cliff without looking while yelling, "Hey, watch this!") so they can do all that "here and now" type thinking while I'm running full speed ahead. Because when groups of people are living in their strengths and come together using those strengths, magic happens.
So much about the interview was great - SO MUCH. Particularly that part where the person that would be my direct supervisor uttered the phrase, "unlimited resources." As in, I wouldn't have a budget - I would have UNLIMITED F'ING RESOURCES to do the work. After 15 years in nonprofit I had to pick my jaw up off the ground and ask, "What is this word 'unlimited' that you speak of?"
There was also a spectacular work environment and steadfast goals that are so ingrained in the culture that guard at the front desk was able to articulate them without hesitation. Everyone I talked to - everyone - couldn't speak highly enough about the company. The incumbent sincerely told me how sad she was to leave, and was only doing so because life circumstances dictated that she live somewhere that made the drive to work unmanageable.
And yet I left with a dark cloud over my head because of that one question - how do I become more of who i am not? I don't want to... I want to become more of who I am.
But, perhaps - as a friend pointed out to me just a little bit ago - if given a chance, that is the true value add I could bring to this organization, the secret sauce the propels them from a great place to work to a phenomenal place to work. I could help them better understand how living in your strengths and becoming more of who you are is a better way to work and live.
We shall see if they are up for such a thing. Stay tuned...