As I look back over the last few posts I have written, I realized I have been headlining these posts as games. I want to be clear, recruiting and interviewing are not games to me but if you remember during my first post in this series, I compared these new role reversals to basketball and that to me is a game and a huge part of my past and present and future.
Now, as we have been actively recruiting for positions on my team it has been exciting because I have been involved in the interviewing piece both as a former MDP and one of the members of the team. Our group works so closely together – it important to make the right hiring decision for the team whether it is for an intern, MDP, or any other position.
What I find exciting about interviewing MDPs in particular is that I was just in their shoes a few years ago so the process is still fresh. I remember the challenges, the struggles, things that were going through my head, and the highs and lows which I think really helps in the interview process. M&T tries to be really good with the onsite MDPs by having an alumni of the program take you out to lunch (this is not an interview). This is the time that the candidate can ask the questions they want to know about the program. If they are smart, they are also asking questions regarding things that can be used in later interviews. During the program, I took several candidates out to lunch or coffee to give them this time. Now, I am on the actual interview side which is even more fun in my opinion because I get to learn about the candidate in a more formal setting. Any interview I give I like to see how comfortable people are with the Innovation Center, the space I choose, the questions I ask which aren’t always traditional, and overall what they know about the program.
I really like getting an interview put on my calendar, because I know that the candidate is going to walk into our Center and see something totally different than what they have been seeing all day. I also like making sure my interviews are more conversational than formal interviews like what you would see in the movies. We have a space in the Center that is perfect for this type of interview and I use it every time.
Whenever I am interviewing someone I like to learn about them, what they know about the company and the program. There isn’t a lot of information out there on the MDP program, except for my blog and a few articles put out by the Buffalo News, a few postings on Glassdoor. If you are going to interview for this program, I would at least do a google search about it or find an alumni to talk to from your college. If you are reading this, you have already done that so congratulations. I decided when I accepted my MDP offer that I would write about my experience through the program to help others who were considering joining the company know more.
The candidate who I am so excited to have start in our area of the bank for the 2016 class told me she had learned about the program through my blog, and that made me realize that what I am writing helps. She isn’t the first one either, companies are learning now that organic blogs, if you can find a champion to write them, can go a long way. I am not paid to write my experience, I am not paid to write good things, I purely write my opinion about my life in Buffalo, my experience in my first full time role (that I wasn’t also attending school during but I have also been transparent with the company that I would be writing this blog. The tone I use in my blog, is the same tone and word choice I would use if you asked me a question on the street.
Interviewing candidates is not about the number of people you talk to or the background that they come from. It is not about filling a quota or filling a spot just to have a body in it. I look at interviewing as a challenge to find the best person who can meet/exceed my expectations and I have high ones because I know what I accomplished during the program. That is why I am so excited about our candidate who is coming in – because I know she will be amazing! When the candidate was weighing her decisions between offers, I told her I was happy to talk with her again and be honest, after all I was in her shoes 2 years ago.
If you constantly put on the face of sunshine and rainbows, your company will get the reputation of being fake and people will leave extremely early especially people who are experiencing their first job. We had an honest conversation about the pros and cons, the good and bad, the challenges and rewards. No job is going to be perfect and I think it is important to find the candidate who thinks the challenges are worth it and exciting to overcome, who feels the pros far outweigh the cons, and the good days will out weigh the rough ones – because at the end of the day you have to find a job that you are like and an experience that is exciting to you. Not everyone invests that much time into a candidate but to me it is important, especially when you find one who is worth it.
My interview style plays right into my mentor, leadership and managerial style. I want anyone who is a part of my team to succeed but I want to make sure that we have the right people in place to make us successful. It is just like my coaching philosophy, I would rather have 7 active and dedicated players, than seven girls who are engaged and 2 who are just distracting the rest of the team (but that is a whole different post that is coming very soon).
Stay tuned for my last post about leading an MDP Project team!