— 10 January 2005 —
I recently applied and interviewed for an internal position as a Business Analyst focusing on Quality Assurance across the department. It was a lead position. Not a manager. Two tiers removed from the manager level. Based on the job description, as well as what I got out of the two informational interviews I did, I figured it would be a good fit.
The interview, 2 hours of it, went really well. It went too well. Here’s the response I received as to why I didn’t get the job.
Matthew was confident and composed during the interview. He provided examples and made statements that indicated that he leads when he is expected or tasked to do so. Matthew shared a few situations where he had operated outside of his IDS capacity and made solid suggestions that enhanced what was delivered.
Matthew would have been a stronger candidate if he had identified instances where he built and lead teams on the basis of needs he identified and subsequently oversaw. It would have also been helpful for Matthew to have been able to describe assignments where he had to delegate multiple tasks and hold peers accountable since both are key elements of the position that he interviewed for.
This is so wrong on so many levels.
Matthew would have been a stronger candidate if he had identified instances where he built and lead teams on the basis of needs he identified and subsequently oversaw.
It is not allowed to just make up shit to work on, build a team, and carry it to completion. I asked if I should start doing this so I can have the experience of identifying problems and solving them with a team all on my own. Answer: No, please don’t. Otherwise, this is what I do on every project. Every single one. All over-40 of them. And it is on those projects where I am “expected or tasked to do so” because it is my job.
It would have also been helpful for Matthew to have been able to describe assignments where he had to delegate multiple tasks and hold peers accountable since both are key elements of the position that he interviewed for.
I delegate multiple tasks on all projects to the design team. Duh. Not sure what I said in the interview that didn’t lead them to this conclusion. Like when I said, “I lead the design team on a project to accomplish all the tasks that are necessary to complete the user requirements analysis and solution design.” I guess that sounds like just one thing. Huh.
“Holding peers accountable” is funny, too. I am in no position to hold people accountable. I can try to get them to complete the tasks I need by getting their managers to hold them accountable. And the position I applied for is not a managerial position. So I am not sure exactly how I would be able to hold them accountable. I am talking practically here. I can create an environment where people are held accountable, but I can not be the one to do it because I am not a manager. That is a managers job. If it is not, then what the heck are they getting paid for? :)
I think my not getting the position had more to do with the fact that it is known that I challenge authority (not undermineâ€¦ there’s a difference between challenging and undermining), and that I just don’t spin what I do enough. Based on the reasons they didn’t hire me, I can show how I do all that already and have done so for years. But during the interview, and on a normal basis, I just don’t think of what I do in terms of “building teams,” “leading people,” “holding people accountable,” and generally “being a manager” without getting paid to be one. I think about those in terms of “just doing what I need to do to get the work done that I was requested to do.”
Yeah, there that is again. “Requested to do.” Here’s a question for you: do you want rogue analysts just making shit up and solving problems that may or may not have actually been problems, but you won’t know until they have already spent money “solving” the problem? Maybe you do. Hopefully not. I am not an unthinking cog, but when you work in a hierarchical and huge organization like I do, authority is hard to come by unless “manager” really is in your job title. Responsibility and accountability? Yeah I got that.
You may be wondering why I am writing about a failed attempt at a new job. Well, this is the “Professional Life and Times” of me, so that means the good and the bad. Here’s hoping transparency makes you like me more. :)