When a topic fascinates us, we Aspies can talk for hours.
Unfortunately, speaking in itself, does not constitute a conversation.
It is listening to someone else and then responding to their information that allows for an exchange of ideas.
This can be a hard lesson for us Aspies to learn.
I once had a book published on tax; on money that people receive when they are downsized and what happens to them tax-wise when they do. I called it Jack and Stanley’s Buyout Adventure.
A human resource manager called. He had read the book and wondered if I would come and talk to him about doing seminars for his employees. He worked for a mining company and the mine was shutting down.
I drove all the way up to Logan Lake from the coast and met a very pleasant man. One who told me he had read the book all the way through just to find out what happened to Jack and Stanley in the end.
That book, as well as being about income tax, was also my first published attempt at characterization and I was flattered to hear it so well received.
In response, I spoke for what seems in retrospect, an hour without once asking him what he and the employees needed.
I’ve been over it a thousand times in my mind. What would a better approach have been?
Maybe something like this: Hello, my name is Margaret and I am thrilled you like my book, Now, what is it you have in mind? How do you see me working with your employees during this closure?
That would have shown a real interest in his dilemma as a human resource person, and also illustrated the fact that I wasn’t just there to tout my book, but rather to be a real help to these men who were being laid off.
Instead, with his encouraging first remarks, I launched into a long history of the book and how it came to be and what it meant to me. I doubt I let him get in a single word.
Needless to say, I did not get the opportunity to give any seminars. Instead, I got to drive all the way back home again, berating myself for a personality flaw that I knew only too well; one that I vowed to work hard to conquer.
In a way, that day was a gift. One from which I have benefitted over and over. It taught me a lesson: It is never just about me. A fruitful conversation always includes others, and that requires not so much talking, as truly listening.
Do you have job interview nightmares in which you self-destruct?
We all have them. Even neural typicals, I’m told!
How may we best avoid them? By being prepared! If it is a phone interview, here are some helpful tips.
Read and re-read the job description before editing and perfecting your resume. Then print a copy of your resume, and keep it on your desk so you have it on hand when the interviewer calls.
Make a simple, clear list of the main requirements of the job description, along with a succinct but precise list of how you can achieve them, and keep those lists on hand, also.
Practice stating clearly and confidently out loud how you believe your previous job experience, your type of personality and your approach to your work make you a good fit for the job.
Read and reread the instructional email regarding the interview. Make sure you have a clear understanding of the date, time, and process.
Here is my (latest) nightmare interview:
It is 10 a.m. I sit, waiting for the for the ten o’clock phone call. According to the email, this is the time scheduled for a corporate interviewer to contact me.
I have been recruited for this job so I shouldn’t be so nervous. But my back and shoulders are rigid. I rotate my shoulders and flap my hands, hoping to ease the tension.
It is now 10:13 a.m. My phone should have rung by now, but it hasn’t. I check the email.
Oh no! I was supposed to phone them.
It is 10:15 a.m. I quickly dial the number and navigate my way through front end messaging to get to interviewer. I apologize for being late. and explain in my Asperger way what happened.
It boils down to: I didn’t take time to read the instructions I was given. But neither the interviewer nor I am saying so. No doubt she is madly keying this info into her computer file!
I try to collect myself during some general discussion of my work history (thank goodness I have my resume beside me, along with the job description of the position I’m applying for printed out beside me.) I thought I was well prepped, but I blew it by misreading the email and now, no doubt I am considered to be unreliable!
The interviewer is rushing a bit because we’re late, and I’m just barely managing to keep up. Still, my preparation with the job description and my resume are paying off.
Next I’m given some sample client questions. The first one is simple, direct, uncomplicated. I confidently answer it off the top of my head.
The second question, is more complex. I can only answer part of it without research, which I explain to the interviewer without apology. Third question? I nail it!
My confidence somewhat renewed, I deflect the interview back to her by saying I think she has a great job. She agrees, and tells me a bit about it, and about herself. From this openness I gather she must feel I am a reasonable prospect.
Do I have any questions? I do. Are they seeking agents who can answer the questions, or agents who know where to find the answer? She eplies that they want agents who know the answers and can back them up with online references and put it all in laymen’s terms.
The interviewer reminds me that my next interview is at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time. As I am on Pacific Time, this takes some calculation and I realize it will occur in an hour and a half.
After the first interview, I remember only what I have done wrong. I called in late for the interview, and I was flustered. I didn’t ask a single probing question when given the sample customer queries. I answered her first questions about the work with only one or two word answers.
I make certain to call on time for the next interview.
Guess what? I did get the job! After my intial nervousness I was able to settle down, analyze the procedures and really excel. But that’s another blog entirely…
For information on the most commonly asked interview questions and preferred answers refer to: