Nerd Journey 015: Interview Myths and Boss Problems

Welcome to episode 15 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two VMware Solution Engineers who are hoping to bring you the IT career advice that we wish we’d been given earlier in our careers. In today’s episode, we discuss some Interview Myths and dealing with Boss Problems.

Original recording date: 2018-10-04


1:55 Interview Myths

5 Myths About Interviews You’ll Want to Stop Believing

1)  Your Interviewer Is Completely Prepared

  • They might not have read your resume
  • They might not have the job description
  • They might not have been trained how to interview
  • What to do if the interviewer is unprepared
  • Have an elevator pitch matching your skills and experience to the job description
  • Have a copy of the job description
  • Have a copy of your resume
  • Be ready to answer the questions you wish you were asked (i.e. run the interview)

2)  Interview Questions Have Correct and Incorrect Answers

3)  Let the Interviewer Ask All the Questions

4)  The Most Qualified Candidate Gets The Job Every Time

  • “Most Qualified” is a subjective thing
  • There’s no one perfect job and one perfect opportunity
  • John might have applied to become a VMware SE 8 times
  • The organization weighs things differently than you might
  • It’s a hot job market in 2018, so stretch a little

5)  Thank You Notes Are No Longer Required

  • It’s a differentiator
  • Consider a simple, brief, and polite note

24:02 Boss Problems

  • Dear SpiceRex: My boss is slacking
    • Letter writer perceives his boss as not doing his job over the past 3+ years
    • Averages 25 hours in the office a week
    • Perceives the boss as manipulative
    • Department only working because the letter writer and others are working harder to pick up the slack
  • How To Manage Upward (If You Have A Bad Boss)
    • Will this article help the letter writer?
    • Talk to Your Boss to Establish Common Ground
    • Don’t Be Afraid to Voice Your Frustrations, But Know the Time and Place
      • Nick mentions empathy
      • Discuss effects instead of perceived causes
      • Avoid badmouthing teammates and outside influences
    • Set Up Skip-Level Meetings
      • Importance of meeting with your manager’s manager / having a relationship with that person
      • Don’t get trapped into badmouthing your manager
      • “Don’t Do That”
      • Maybe if your skip directly asks you to confirm their observation, but even then, stay 100% objective
      • Skip-level interaction can be informal (break room, casual conversations, some task request interaction)
      • Probably too late to start this for the letter writer
    • Create a Career Path for Yourself
      • Inside or outside the organization
      • Career and development goals (maybe share with your skip?)
      • John remembers that he needs to do this
    • Build a Tier of Support around You
  • Our Actual Feedback on Dear Spicerex
    • Pause here – what is your advice to the letter writer?
    • Nick
      • If people ask, answer, “I’m not sure, they’re not here, try calling or emailing.”
      • Don’t automatically take on something if the person needs something from your manager
      • Send people up one level (i.e. your skip-level) if needed
      • Don’t be the hero (Nerd Journey 011: Questions to Ask in an Interview and Hero Complex)
      • Don’t speculate about why your manager isn’t available
    • John
      • Clarifying on how to say the manager isn’t around
      • Don’t passively-aggressively critique your manager by saying they aren’t there “Yet” or “Today”
      • Re-affirming falling into the Hero Trap
      • Document how your personal performance is being impacted by your manager’s absence (for your personal performance reviews)
      • Document how much work you’re doing if it’s work you have to do to back up your manager
      • Find a new job
        • The situation is too poisonous to stay in
        • The organization might be great, but a bad manager represents that being ruined
        • Find a new job before quitting
      • The thread has recommendations to document the manager’s shortcomings to get the manager fired
        • It’s a mistake
        • It might even get the manager fired
        • But the outcome still won’t be positive for you
        • Don’t badmouth the manager, even on the way out
  • What’s your take on the situation? Tweet at us!
  • If you’re in a similarly tough situation, we’re happy to be your sounding board

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