Guerrilla Learning
Monitoring Your Social Media Presence

Deconstructing "How to Nail an Interview"

The other day I found How to Nail an Interview, a one-page website set up to describe the 22 Tips on Interviewing Steinar Skipsness learned as a result of a hidden camera experiment he set up:

What is it that certain people say or do during a job interview that makes them stand out? Why do some people struggle to find work, while others land a job in no time? I wanted to know, and the only way to find out was to experience the interview from the other side of the table. If I could be the one asking the interview questions, not answering, I could see first hand what made candidates stand out. I could then take that knowledge and cater my behavior in any future interview to give myself the best chance of getting hired.

First, I needed to create a "corporate presence." I found a company that rented office space by the hour. It was in a downtown Seattle high-rise, had a killer view, and came with a secretary, who'd call me once an interviewee arrived. It was perfect.

Next, I posted a job on craigslist for a marketing coordinator at a "soon to launch" web company. Literally minutes after the posting, resumes poured in, 142 on the first day, 356 in the first week.

Finally, giving the interview wasn't enough. I wanted to be able to go back, review the footage, and dissect answers, body language, everything, to really see what makes someone look good or bad. So before scheduling any interviews, I got online, bought a couple of small cameras, picked up a couple lamps and lamp shades, and with a drill, some super glue, a little bit of cardboard, and electric tape, I constructed 2 hidden camera lamps.

Of course to make sure everything was legally kosher, everyone was required to sign and fax back an appearance release waiver before an interview was scheduled. The reason, "some company meetings will be filmed and we needed proof you'd be comfortable appearing on a video blog if hired."

While the legality of Steinar's hidden camera approach may be in question, certainly the results are interesting and helpful in a cringe-inducing sort of way.

What caught my eye with this (besides the content) was the simple, streamlined set-up here--a single web page, brief lessons learned from the video-taped interviews and very brief video excerpts to illustrate several of the tips.This is something that could easily be done with a blog platform (Blogger comes to mind as a down-and-dirty choice) or on a wiki.

Although clearly this took time to pull together (28 interviews to cull through), something less elaborate could easily be done to support workplace learning, using videos, screencasts, etc. that have already been developed, either for other purposes within your organization or that are freely available online. You could also use your Flip video camera for quick, informal video that can be uploaded in a few clicks and then embedded into a blog or wiki, along with the tips.This format would also lend itself to an easy online Orientation session.

Taking off the designer hat and putting on the learner hat, I also see something like this as a culminating project for a training to both demonstrate learning and provide job aids or tips to other employees following the training.  Picture, for example, some kind of customer service training. Learners could do brief Flip videos of themselves illustrating various do's and don'ts and then embed those into a wiki or blog with their text tips.

On an individual level, this is the kind of format that might also work well with an online portfolio--maybe "10 Reasons to Hire Michele" or to illustrate a particular skill set you possess.

Nothing earth-shattering here, but the simple format really got me thinking about some different possibilities.

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