Career Advice Tuesday – “Did I Pull Out Too Early”

April 3, 2012

Dear Infosecleaders:

I am currently engaged in an interview process and I am getting some mixed feelings about the position.  Initially I was a bit hesitant about engaging in the opportunity, but I had the opportunity to meet with the hiring manager, and the meeting was a great success, and we really hit it off, I felt that they could be a great mentor.  In addition, they made the position sound really appealing and more strategic than my initial impression.

After that meeting, I was asked to come back and meet with some other members of the team whom I would be working with.  During that meeting, I received a different interpretation about the role that I would be filling.,  and they made the role seem to be more tactical than I was searching for.   Quite frankly, although I liked the people,   the meeting was a complete turn off and I decided to make a decision to remove myself from consideration.

When the news of my decision got back to the hiring manager, they asked if  I would reconsider, and have lunch, in order to address my concerns. 

I am inclined to not go through with the meeting, as I think it is a bad use of time.  However, I wanted to know what you thought, and if you think that I am making a mistake?


Nolonga Interested


Dear Nolonga:

I think that you are making a mistake.

One of the best pieces of advice that I have ever received is that you always take a meeting, even if you think that the meeting is not going to produce your desired result.  Over the course of fifteen years of working in this industry, I can count a number of times when a job candidate initially decided to end their interview process, only to be convinced to keep an open mind, and hearing out the hiring manager.   In a majority of these occurrences, the candidate went on to accept the position, and greatly accelerated their career.

The opportunity to spend additional time with the hiring manager and potential mentor can only be a good thing.  First of all, since you have already “turned down” the role, you have inadvertently shifted some of the balance of power in the interview process.  You have forced the hiring manager to show their hand, and demonstrate that they want you as part of their team.  This should be able to give you more comfort in the interview process, and enable you to ask questions about career goals, professional development, and mentorship.   You can have a free discussion on the importance of this role, how your skills will be utilized, and if you are successful where this position will lead.

In addition to this, you will also have time to ask the hiring manager why they believe that you are a good match for the role, why they believe these skills are important, and why this roll could be a good accelerator in your career progression.

If you like the hiring manager, you can also pick their brain on their personal experiences and see if you can draw some correlations between your career and theirs (this should show you if the person could be a good mentor).

Another reason to take the meeting is that the second group of people whom you interviewed with might not understand the hiring manager’s vision for the role.  What they may understand the role to be, could be significantly different to how the hiring manager views the role .  It is possible that their vision of the role could be how things “used to be done”, while the hiring manager in recruiting for this position may be searching for a different skill matrix so that the position/function could be elevated and enhanced.  Chances are that your initial read from your interview with  the hiring manager was the correct one

Too many times information security professionals get caught up in the details of a job description and do not look at the big picture for their careers.  It is logical that any role will have a blend of strategic and tactical work – but more important than the “task” – is the person whom you will be working for, as they will be the one who ultimately creates the environment for your success.

Without  a doubt, take the meeting.  You have very little to lose, and  potentially plenty to gain.

Hope this helps,

Lee Kushner

Posted by lee | Filed Under Advice, Behavior, Career Advice Tuesday, Interviewing, Leadership, Networking, Planning, Position Selection, Recruiting 


One Response to “Career Advice Tuesday – “Did I Pull Out Too Early””

  1. John Kirkwood on April 4th, 2012 7:18 pm

    Lee – Your advice is spot on. I would take the additional meeting.

    However, I have one additional comment. Be careful about hooking your success only on one individual, even a potential boss. On more than one occasion, the “boss” who I was extremely comfortable with was gone 18-24 months after I joined the new company. I’ve learned that a supportive, nurturing culture was critical to long term success. So, I would advise that, during the interview, the candidate try to determine if they could be successful, even if their champion was not there – e.g., are the goals and aspirations of the company conducive to the candidates long term success.