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With my recent layoff from BEA Systems, I now have a lot of options to choose from! What should I do? What do I want to do?

As I’d sent out a batch of resumes to three recruiters who had called me, I immediately got a first and second round interview with the company, located in San Francisco.

I hadn’t had an interview since college, and it’d never turned out quite well when I did, so naturally, I felt a bit apprehensive at the prospect of another interview. For some reason, while I was at Cornell, I never seem to have satisfactorily answered the interviewer’s questions!

Luckily, it seems like my personal skills have improved somewhat and the first interview went quite well. I was interviewed by a CMU grad student who’d worked there for 1.7 years, so it was more of a “connecting with a stranger project” more than an interview since I was a Cornell graduate having worked at BEA for 2.5 years! The technical questions were surprisingly not too bad, as I just indicated the normal route I’d take to solve the problem, instead of trying to come up with the solution as I’d done in college.

This propelled me to my second interview, with a more senior staff member. Here’s where things got interesting!

As I believe being straight up with my intentions is always the best policy, I simply told him that my main focus is on my own company WM Media and that I’d like to have a job there in order to expand my skills. Naturally, he asked me about my focus with WM Media and asked me what I’d do if I was faced with hiring such an employee. I replied that we do have contractors that do one job and then leave, but apparently that wasn’t what they were looking for.

The interesting thing about that interview is that the person on the phone was also very honest and straight up. Additionally, he talked about how the success of a startup is based on the motivation of the employees and that our purpose in life is to create value for people. If my ultimate goal for creating value is through WM Media and not Salesforce, it doesn’t seem like we’d be on the same path.

I was very surprised by the depth of that discussion and that person’s understanding of motivation and life. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite get his name as it was pretty hard to spell and pronounce, but I was truly impressed by the type of person he was. If everyone at the company had that thought process and energy, would definitely be a stock buy :)

Later, the recruiter called me back and said that the person who interviewed me said it was a very interesting interview, but ultimately I wasn’t a good fit for the position, which I whole heartedly agreed with.

This made me think about my motives for interviewing in the first place and I felt that I was mistaken to have gone on the interview.. It was kind of like dating a bunch of people that you didn’t really have much interest in just because you should date. It’s not fair to the people you’re dating (and the company you’re interviewing with) if you’re not actually interested in that position that much!

As I thought about this, I declined the other two interviews that were scheduled.

It made me realize that I should respect the time of the interviewers and focus on things that are much more interesting to me, such as WM Media and my blog. And if a right job comes along, it wouldn’t be that hard to convince the recruiter that I’m the right one for it! This is one of those cases where my honesty about my intentions has kept me from going down the wrong path and focusing on something I truly enjoy and have passion for.

As an addendum, out of the three leads, I was surprised that I was scheduled for three interviews. If you’re looking for a job, I’d highly recommend word of mouth over anything else!

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5 Responses to “An Interview Makes Me Think About My Motives”

  1. Kamil Przeorski on June 7th, 2008 11:07 am

    Hello again Warren,

    You wrote that “If you’re looking for a job, I’d highly recommend word of mouth over anything else!” – yes that true, people that make value above average for their employers are finding jobs ~only via their contact’s network.

    An great coach here in poland which is run great blog ( wrote an great article that you are worth for a market that much as:

    your value for the market = skills x abblility to sell yourself x your business contact’s network

    So for an example if you got:
    skills = 8
    ability to sell yourself = 3
    contact’s network=1
    8x3x1 = 24

    in other case:
    skills = 4
    ability to sell yourself = 4
    contact’s network = 4
    4x4x4= 64

    third example as:
    skills = 8
    ability to sell yourself = 7
    contact’s network = 6
    8x7x6= 336

    So if you want to make more value to the market you have to not only improve you skills, but also abblility to sell yourself & contact’s network.

    Good luck Warren :-)

    Best Regards,

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