The Joy of Interviewing with Manny Sidhu

Welcome to episode 81 of the Nerd Journey Podcast [@NerdJourney]! We’re John White (@vJourneyman) and Nick Korte (@NetworkNerd_), two Pre-Sales Technical 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 the joy of job interviews with Manny Sidhu.

Original Recording Date: 05-25-2020

Topics – Enjoying Interviews

02:55 – A Love for Interviews

  • We wanted to have Manny on the show to expound on a recent LinkedIn post.
  • He relishes the opportunity to be interviewed. This comes from the love of challenges and a feeling that pressure situations bring out the best in him.
    • Manny likes to present his case in front of complete strangers in an attempt at convincing them he should get the job.
    • In fact, his wife has commented that he should have been in Sales.
  • Manny feels a lot of people in IT are not experienced in being interviewed and may be wary of it. He specifically has not had issues talking with strangers in this kind of setting.
    • Manny feels he gets more nervous about a presentation to hundreds of people than being interviewed (stays pretty "chill" in this scenario).
  • Since Manny put out the post, he has helped a number of folks get a job through interview practice.
  • The people that reach out to Manny are looking for some extra tips on interviewing and how they can better prepare.
  • Manny’s interview tips…
    • One of the biggest points is to know your resume inside out. If you put something on the resume and do not know enough about it, an interviewer may think you didn’t actually do it.
    • Do some research on the company, including news articles, information on mergers and acquisitions and the role.
    • Write the resume in such a way that it makes your accomplishments "pop."
    • Make your answers sharp and concise in an interview. Did you improve user experience, improve ROI, etc.?
    • If you don’t know the answer, be honest. Tell them how you would figure out the answer as well.
    • Check out Mike Burkhart’s experience with a resume that was too business focused.
    • Tailor the resume to the job. If the job is more business focused, tweak accordingly with business metrics. If the job is more technical, speak more to implementing, architecting, etc. Emphasize accomplishments through the right lens.
    • John makes the point that some people do not do a deep read of the job description to truly understand it before applying.
    • Without the right key words, you won’t pass through the HR filter and get a first call back.
    • Manny said he spoke to a recruiter recently who mentioned recording a 60-second video to sell yourself and your skills is a way to stand out to potential employers, especially in a competitive market.
    • People need different levels of preparation depending on how long it has been since they had interview experience.
  • John speaks to different sets of skills needed for Business Development Representatives who work primarily over the phone compared to a Field Sales Representative who meets with customers in person.

18:12 – Lessons Learned from the Interviewer’s Side of an Interview

  • The interviewer should keep the interview flowing (2-way) and not bombard the candidate with too many questions. Ask them what they think about a technology and a use case for the technology. Then probe from there.
  • Manny believes hiring managers what to hear what you did rather than what your team did.
  • Interviewers like it when candidates research the company.
  • Time spent in front of an interviewer must be spent wisely. A candidate needs to know his / her selling points – ability to get the job done, how to handle pressure, how to adapt quickly.
  • Be ready to address concerns the interviewer may have if you don’t have the experience they want.
  • Candidates should have questions ready for the interviewer!
  • Manny believes a candidate should score a success / stand out in the first 5 minutes of the interview comparable to being drawn into an action movie from the beginning.
  • People don’t like folks that complain about past jobs, companies, coworkers. Keep the feedback positive so as not to come across as a whiner.
  • Manny does not think there is a need to take notes in an interviewer. Pausing to take one point down might be ok.
    • A recruiter once advised Manny not to read off questions / pre-prepared answers during an interview. It might make you appear less prepared.
  • Body language is important. Don’t cross your arms, fidget, or let your eyes wander.
  • Don’t wear strong perfume / cologne to an in-person interview.
    • When in a stressful situation, perspiration can activate the scent and make it even stronger.
  • It’s a nice touch to send the interviewer a thank you e-mail on the same day / early on the next day.
    • Manny has seen this work well to clinch a job in the past.
    • Simple follow ups that demonstrate you were listening.
  • When Manny meets a potential customer, he has the feeling of being interviewed.
  • For remote interviews, make sure you dress to impress. Clear the environment where you are sitting, that you are well groomed, and that you sell yourself as best you can.
    • John speaks to some recent remote interviews he did for people.

31:15 In Closing

  • The best career advice Manny has received is to give the market what it needs. Continue to evolve, keep moving, and keep stretching yourself. Do not stagnate, and go after certifications!
  • Manny keeps a pulse on Twitter, follows the right people in the community, and tries to keep a pulse on the technology market.
  • Contact Manny on Twitter, or find him in the vExpert directory

Contact us if you need help on the journey.

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