If you are interviewing, then…

May 11, 2022

…do not do it alone.

Give us a call. 

That’s what Sherry did last Friday. 

Over the years, we have helped Sherry play Positive Politics at her job and stay far longer than she had originally anticipated.

But now Sherry has gone as far as she can in her current company, and has thus started looking for a new job. 

Fortunately, she found a good potential Chief Product Officer role, and her initial interviews went so well that they asked her to meet with the CEO.

So, last Friday she asked for help to prepare for that interview.

I walked her through Chapter 12 of Never Search Alone (members get pre-release copies) about interviewing and, in particular, about how candidates have to drive the whole interview process including better defining the proposed job. 

Companies are often quite confused or unclear about what they want.

To address that and set her up for success, I told Sherry to create a Job Mission with OKRs for this Chief Product Officer role.

This is not a ‘job description’, but instead a document which outlines clear accountabilities.

I then explained to her the benefits of creating a Job Mission with OKRs, which include:

  1. Define Interview Questions
    Because you are drafting OKRs, the process helps you figure out important questions to ask to get clarity on the objectives and key results.
  2. Impress the Hiring Manager
    Once you have a complete draft and present it to the hiring manager, the fact that you’ve created a Job Mission with OKRs impresses them (and if it doesn’t, then get out of there).
  3. Improve Role Clarity
    Drafting and discussing the job mission with the hiring manager drives important conversations around the definition of the role. Again, most companies don’t know what they want and instead present a job description that’s abstract and unclear, which is bad for them and bad for you. Fixing that during the interviews is critical.
  4. Increases Chances of Getting an Offer
    This whole process improves the chances of getting an offer. Many members have reported to me that hiring managers told them that the Job Mission with OKRs had tipped the odds in their favor.
  5. Set Up for Successful Negotiations
    Drafting and discussing a Job Mission with OKRs also sets you up to discuss all four legs of the negotiations stool – i.e., not just the salary, but also the budget, resources, and support you’ll need to deliver on the OKRs you have agreed to.
  6. Enhance Odds of Job Success
    And because you have clarified the role and negotiated the budget, resources, and support, you are now set up to hit the ground running on day 1 – thus, improving the odds of success in the new job (including the odds of getting promoted down the line).

After reviewing this with her, I assigned Sherry the Job Mission homework, and, separately, connected her with a member in a similar role who could also help her prepare for the interview.

By the end of the weekend, she was ready.

Again, do not do any of this alone.

Ask for help like Sherry did.

This whole community is here to either help you stay in your job and find a way to be happier, or, if it’s time, to find a *good* new one.

Operators are standing by.



P.S. We had great fun in Omaha with the teenagers of CG members. These young people had studied in our free WBRG program and then worked with me to develop presentations, which they then gave as part of our program. This was an amazing experience for them, their parents, for me, and  for everyone there. Berkshire CEOs like Katie Farmer, CEO of Burlington Northern Railroad, called our program the ‘highlight’ of their weekend

P.P.S. This after school program reaches kids without access to these kinds of resources *and* any kids of CG members who are interested. Think of what we are doing as not only making business more accessible to young people, but also providing an alternative to typical high school finance classes, which often turn kids into risky investors (WSJ, $).

Berkshire Hathaway 2022

Maslyn Pessner, daughter of longtime member Ron Pessner, a Corporate Vice President of Product at Microsoft, explaining the dynamics of the insurance business, including the power of ‘float’, and then pictured with the GEICO CTO, Linda Apsley, a CG alum, and CIO, John Pham. 

Note: Maslyn has just graduated from college and because she was a full year student in WBRG, I coached her in her job search (something all the young people get free if they study for more than a year with us – think of it as another CG member benefit).

Syona Goel, daughter of Sumeet Goel, CEO of HighPoint Associates (and longtime member of my CEO Council), on stage with Katie Farmer, CEO of Burlington Northern, and then pictured with me and Katie. 

Note: Syona is a junior in high school – can you imagine if you had been able to do something like this in high school? I know I wish I had. And, further, can you imagine the story she can now tell in her college applications?

Alexi Stapf, son of Isabelle Meyer Stapf, the CPO at Well Health, explaining the Berkshire Hathaway energy business and then taking questions with me after his presentation. 

Note: Like Syona, Alexi is a junior in high school and has participated in the WBRG program for the last year. By virtue of his work hard, he earned the right to go on stage at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting and present to a room full of CEOs and senior leaders. Wow! Again, I wish I could have done that in high school.

About the Author

Phyl Terry

Phyl Terry, Founder and CEO of Collaborative Gain, Inc., launched the company’s flagship leadership program – The Councils – in 2002 with a fellow group of Internet pioneers from Amazon, Google, and others. Thousands of leaders from the Internet world have come together in the last 15 years to learn the art of asking for help and to support each other to build better, more customer-centric products, services, and companies.

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