SEEKERS NEED TO HAVE LEGENDS READY TO GO
Here’s some samples.
Significant accomplishments past job, career, and personally
* I created the first formal mentoring program for minority non-college graduate employees to become programmers for AT&T of the initial class of 30, 29 were offered full time jobs and five years later 28 were still there. In an organization that lost 75% of each class in two years, this was a huge success. The program was turned over to HR and in two years results were worse than expected. Management just wouldn’t listen why it was successful. By using “busy programmers” as mentors, the company sacrificed some productivity (maybe theoretical imho) for developing a cadre with spirit de corps. It started with existing non-management employees working in “computer-related” positions with good performance and recommendations, who volunteered for the program, conducted on their own time, working with working programmers, and taking “freshman classes”, maintaining their positions. It was an easy chance for AT&T to develop scarce as hen’s teeth programmers, at a fraction of the cost they were spending. Thirty years later, I ran into one who was a Division Manage in AT&T, who thanked me profusely, for what I did. What a payoff. He was still trying to get the program restarted along the lines he had experienced.
* Being a “skunkswork” type of guy, when I heard from friends at DOD about the Windows NT domain problems, and when my warnings went on deaf ears to MER management, I took one old desktop, and three old IBM Thinkpads and installed NT on them, wrote some code and scripts, and demonstrated the “Monday morning” problem. An NT3.5 domain pdc can only do 2 password changes at a time every 60 seconds (due to a hard limit in the MSFT code) not counting network delay time. The “Monday morning” problem is that, with 70,000 workstations with a 90 day password rotation policy, about a 3,000 users will be forced to change their password on a Monday morning. So the last one completes about Tuesday afternoon. When demonstrated, a redesign was begun on the same day.
* At CSFB, disaster recovery was part of my job. When I met with end users (what a novel idea), I began to get a sense of the “timing” of their business day. Basically they came in on Monday, did some trades, cleared them over the next few days. Each day’s work relied on the prior day’s. So in considering “datacenter disaster recovery”, the metaphor that the datacenter was using said that they were ready in 12 hours. When the business was brought into the plan, recovery was accomplished on the following Monday, regardless of when during the week the disaster occurred. This was a shock to everyone. Recovery planning then began in earnest. The result of that effort was used in the first WTC disaster. I have been told that my wall chart was used in their recovery from the second one as well.
Every seeker, at some time or another, will be asked to give and example of something or other. They need to be prepared with “epic poems” of great stories. It is certainly possible to have only one or two. But the well-prepared seeker has a virtual stable of these stories. I call them “legends” because they have to be true, easily rolled out when needed, and demonstrate the values that you wish to portray. During my last search, I had 82 when I landed.
A good legend starts as a written document of a true story. It’s at most three paragraphs. I like the PAAR strategy (Problem, Analysis & Actions, and Results). You are selling the A&A. When they hire you then they get the A&A. A legend tells the P and the R. With enough detail to whet the listeners appetite to hear more and ask “how’d you do that”.
A great legend matches the interviewers need. A fantastic one anticipates the problems they expect to have in the future. A rotten one gives away the A&A or generates a “who cares” reaction.
You have to have your legends well rehearsed, but not rote. You have to be able to recall them at the drop a hat with an indicator trigger.
Homer had his stories. Do you?
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