Wednesday, August 16, 2006

moratoriums: interrogation interviews and tip lists

I've got two moratoriums I'd like to declare today. The first is a call to end the interrogation-style interview.

Me, I've got a wacky interview style. Having read the candidate's interview ahead of time, I like to walk into the interview, turn the resume upside down, and say, "you know, interviews are the most unnatural interaction you'll ever have with someone. I'd like to know what sort of things you're interested in about me, about the company, our market. What's on your mind?"

You'd be surprised what you hear.

I use the back of the resume to draw pictures illustrating my responses, then I offer the interviewee the pen and let them draw if they want to as well.

Ultimately, you find out what you want to hear, but you learn it through the questions they ask, the follow-up questions they pursue, their level of ease associated with a non-standard interview. And you learn how well they'd work with you in what approximates a normal work setting.

I don't recommend that everyone on the interview team adopt this approach, but one member should.

Which leads me to my second moratorium: death to blog tip lists.

Unfortunately, most celebrity software bloggers love their tip lists, which has translated into broad adoption of the tip list as a "favored" approach to business blogging. Top 10 Questions for The Notorious Mr. Foo! My Tips for Nailing Your Interview with MagnaMech! How to Name your Software!


Why do we blog in the first place, we proud few, we software marketing types?

Do we blog to demonstrate our deep and profound knowledge of a particular discipline? To illustrate our connection to the "playas" associated with a popular new technology? To establish our thought leadership in a marketplace crowded with other erstwhile thought leaders?

I'd like to think we write because we're interested in sustaining a dialog. We write because we'd actually like to read - and we know that we need to posit a few thoughts first in order to attract a) interest and b) feedback.

So in the interest of doing just that - of writing to sustain a dialog - I declare a moratorium on publishing lists of tips that serve only to demonstrate "what I know that you don't". Because as I discovered in the interview I did yesterday, what's important to me isn't what I know, it's what you can teach me. The light that shines into the dark places is what creates opportunity, not the one that re-illuminates the known.

A few examples of what I think are good marketing blogs that rise up to the standard of illuminating without pontificating: HorsePigCow (even though I'll never be cool, I can become cool-er by reading it), Presentation Zen, Stephen Brown (the patron saint of ack/nak), Seth Palmer (not strictly speaking a marketing blog, but it wins on the illumination front).

And how could I list blogs worth reading without noting Fluffy Stuffin' and Perfect Blue Buildings.

(edited for spelling, thanks Jim)

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