One of the idea that I suggested in the blog "Send A Thank You Note Before the Interview" is to send a thank you email before you go for an interview. The reason for this is if you are going to thank the interviewers, you want to do it ahead of time, so they know you and also you can use it as an opportunity to ask and solicit questions. You are doing a job to get a job. You can do as what everyone does is to send a thank you note after the interview, but that rarely ever changes anyone's decision but it shows them that you are a good professional. There is nothing wrong with that, but I say why not be an impactful professional by sending a proactive thank you note.
There is another technique that is somewhat similar that you can use that will payoff big time: premortem. Corporations often use premortem before making a big decision. The idea behind this is to pretend like you have failed with a decision you made and then provide reasons why you failed. This is opposite of postmortem where you look for reasons for failure after a decision is made. The findings may help you next time but it does not help for the pending decision.
Postmortem is a good exercise, but it often leads to finger pointing and people engaging in a blame game. In addition, it provides no safety for people to provide honest criticism. With premortem, you can pretend like you failed, so it is hard to point fingers when people provide reasons why a particular decision failed.
The premortem method is attributed to psychologist Gary Klein and its main purpose it to prevent being overconfident on success and groupthink which often pervades in corporations. According to eminent scholars like Klein, Kahneman and Weick, premortem results in "better decisions, predictions and plans."
Since we are usually too optimistic about outcomes, you probably want to get someone to facilitate conducting a premortem and coach you. This is more effective than doing it yourself. The feedback will give you a chance to make adjustments and improvements before you make a decision. Even if you decide not to make any changes, you will at least not be flying blind. Bob Sutton, professor at Stanford, writes in his blog "Why You Need a Time Machine to Make Big Decisions" that "Looking back from the future and imagining that you are giving someone else advice increase the odds that the dreams you choose to chase do, in fact, come true."
How can you adopt this before you go for a job interview?
You want to look at the failure scenario and a success scenario. For a failure scenario, you want to come with some of the reasons why you did not get the job offer. Below I have provided 15 reasons:
- I did not do a good job on the PSO (Problem, Solution and Outcome)
- I did not get the interviewers to know much about me through social media before the interview; hence, I could not sell
- I did not focus on getting the job offer.
- I did not do a good job linking my knowledge, experience and insight to solving company's problem profitably.
- I did not do a good job making my message simple or clear.
- I did not know the company's process of making a decision.
- I did not put many objections to rest before meeting the interviewers face-to-face.
- I did not ask point blank if there are any reservations about me.
- I did not negotiate well before agreeing to the interview.
- I just did not get a good feeling that they liked me.
- I should have used Google+ Hangout to get better acquainted.
- I came across too needy like I had no other options.
- I should have done thirty-minute chunks instead of just answering questions.
- I did not do a good job selling why I am the right candidate for the employer.
- I did not sell myself as a person, as a teammate and as a loyal employee to the manager
You also want to come up with some of the reasons why you did get a job.
The interviewers could tell you what they liked about me.
- We were aligned on the interview process.
- I got a commitment on having a good experience right from the outset.
- The company followed the 40/40/20 split in time.
- The focus during the interview remained on the PSO (problem, solution and outcomes)
- They wanted to know whether I understood their problem and could solve it
- They were very honest with me on where they stood with candidates.
- They liked me. We had some things in common.
- They felt I could get along with the team.
- The manager felt that I could make his life easy.
- The interviewers felt that I could both lead and follow.
- I stayed on my message.
- I gave out a positive body language.
- I did power poses before interviewing that made me more confident.
- I did a good job preparing for the interview.
- I asked if they had any reservation about me and they didn't, so I went for the close.
Premortem has proven to be very effective in corporations, especially when a facilitator is used. Even if you can't get someone to facilitate a premortem, then you can act like a facilitator and do it yourself.
Premortem is also effective in other areas where you have to make a decision. In this blog, I used it to conduct it before you go for a job interview. We all think we are going to get the job when we go for interviews, but it helps to make sure you also have given thought to what are some of the reasons why you are not going to get the job. Though doing a premortem may not result in success, but at least you won't have to go through a postmortem exercise.
Sometimes you can do everything right and still not get the right outcome. Future is uncertain, but using premortem will not surprise you of the outcome.