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How To Interview Your Future Boss Pt. 1

January 17, 2020InfoSteph

As always, a pretty dope conversation started from one of the very random thoughts floating around in my head that resulted from a random moment of reflection.

As you can see, a few people had things to contribute. Amongst the responses, I received the following question:

How do you do this?

Before I jump into the “how” of it all, I have to give you a little look into the past of Steph. At the very beginning of my career, the MO was always to get the job. I never lied, but I definitely overemphasized my strong points, making sure to quickly and loudly gloss right on over my weak points. I always had a question ready for my interviewer, but not because I cared much about the answer. I pretty much did it because I knew interviewers liked that. And like I said, the concern is mostly focused on “Give me the job, give me the job, I really really need this job.

Let me also point out something. Sh*t is real. People are broke and need money. Some of us don’t have the luxury of carefully mapping out which opportunities we want, or hitting up our old college buds for jobs. Some of us, without connections or a network or a mentor or even a friend, have to do what we have to do when we have to do it so we can get where we need to get. So, Young Steph was operating from a position of need.

Years go by, life changes, I make more. I am no longer operating from a position of need. I am, however, operating from a position of ambition. I figured when I finally get that InfoSec job, I won’t have to deal with toxic managers or unnecessary politics anymore. InfoSec was like Narnia or the Garden of Eden to me. I just needed to get in and things will be fine. I finally get that first InfoSec job. And I realize that it really doesn’t matter what you do or how far you go in your career. Toxicity exists everywhere.

So. I decided to change my strategy. I was no longer going to focus on what I bring to the table. I know, sounds counterintuitive. My thought process was this: it isn’t my business if I am a fit for them or not. When I applied, I thought I would be a fit. My part ends there. The interview is for the employer/hiring manager to determine if they agree with me. Which means no more last-minute studying, no more anxiety, and stress, no more foolery. Because let’s be honest, whatever you do, nothing will change you into a different candidate overnight.

Instead of stressing out about whether or not the hiring manager is going to like me, I decided to focus on

1) whether or not I will like working for this new company,

2) whether or not, after hearing it from the horses mouth, I would even be able to do whatever it is they want me to do, and

3) if my boss was going to be a destiny helper or a destiny destroyer.

Your manager/boss is like a troll under a bridge. If you want to pass, you’ve got to get through the troll. How you get through the troll depends on the type of troll it is. A destiny helper troll will give you a map, point out what you will need, help you figure out where to get supplies and talk to those on the other side about you, preparing them for your arrival. A destiny destroyer troll won’t let you pass…and more often than not, destroy any bit of hope and confidence you had while they are at it.

I have had my fair share of destiny destroyers by this point. I knew what the signs were. I knew what the personal cost was. I knew how it could affect my mood, emotions, mental health, friends, family, partners, my whole life. I knew that was one of the most important pieces of the ambitious girl puzzle. If it didn’t fit, the entire puzzle would be incomplete.

So. Now to the part you have all been waiting for. After you’ve made the decision to interview your company, how do you do it? How do you ensure you don’t keep making the same mistakes and suffering through a year or two of a bad decision? How do you make a better choice?

I’ll tell you in the next post, which should be coming in a few days. I could give you an answer immediately, sure. It would lack the context and thoroughness I think a topic like this deserves. You see, it’s more than just do A, B and then C so you can have a great job. It’s about you and your thought processes and your experiences and being honest with yourself. It’s going to take some time to fully flesh out the advice I want to give.

If you’re signed up for my newsletter, you’ll be getting the article first. You don’t have to sign up, though, because it will be published next Tuesday. Subscribers will receive it as soon as I write it, though. I want to talk more to the people who have decided they want to hear from me at some point in the two years I’ve had this blog.

Let this marinate and I’ll be back Tuesday!

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