Friday, April 18, 2014

Revenge of the Nerds

I'm finishing up my summer intern interviews.  Three this morning.  One more on Monday. Then I'm done and need to decide.  One person today stood out, so unless the person on Monday blows me away, this person from today gets it.

The morning started with a cute Asian boy.  Korean actually.  He struggled with a lot of my questions.  I quickly ruled him out.

The last person today was obviously nervous.  He shook my hand harder than he needed to.  He seemed pretty serious and didn't smile.  I'm guessing not one of the cool kids.  Not particularly attractive either.  But -- he answered almost all my questions.  He had researched my company and knew things about us that no one else did.  He was technically strong.  He had two other impressive internships.  Everything clicked --  this is the guy. 

I am fascinated with the interview process.  In particular, why I react the way I do to people.  My own biases.  Things that turn me off or get my attention.  How people connect in an interview and how they don't.  It's a high stakes game -- as a manager making a bad hiring decision reflects poorly on me.  being an interviewer makes me a better interviewee.

The guy I am going to hire had an uphill climb with me.   My initial impression wasn't really positive.  It can be uncomfortable to be around someone who is obviously nervous.  They say people make an impression of you in the first ten seconds of a meeting.  It can be hard to recover if that initial impression isn't positive.  It's interesting to me how this guy climbed back and recovered over 45 minutes. 

Many of these same lessons apply to dating too.  


  1. If you do decide to choose the nerd you interviewed today, do tell him about how he appeared during the first part of the interview after you have known him for a while. Tell him that he made up for it later in the interview when he displayed his knowledge of your company. This kind of information is useful if it is given in a friendly fashion.

    1. Yes, people can benefit from this type of feedback. I need to watch my own biases however -- as that's my problem and not his.