Overcoming rejections: here is how to excel at face-to-face job interviews

On 16th June 2014, a young man who has just completed a bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering requested for an appointment with me via email. I agreed because I found his email outstanding:

“Dear Mr. Mustapha,

My classmates call me Mr. Ethical Hacker due to my demonstrated skills in the use of Linux and Mac OS. I know you already work with some of the best folks in the field of computer security. But this is technology. Today is not yesterday as many things have so far changed.

I want to meet and explore my value to your team. Any practical challenge in ethical hacking is accepted.

I will call tomorrow at 10:15 am on your office line, +256312xxxxxx. Otherwise, make my day and confirm appointment before then. Thanks for all you do at summitcl.com.

You have got an invitation for a face-to-face interview, what next?

The only sure way of excelling at a face to face interview is to demonstrate your skills from personal experiences. You will be unique. Consider my interaction with the young man.

Tell me about yourself?

“I am called xx. The best thing to happen to me was a laptop gift my sister gave me, which by luck or accident was running on Linux. That was in December 2004, I was in senior three and it changed my life. I’ve been able to ‘catch’ all the flags on most ethical hacking sites and forums out there. I am good at programming and computer networking. If you have clients who really need to test the security of their systems, you have me.”

We didn’t advertise. Why do you think we need you?

“I am confident I have what it takes to add value to your team. I checked your website and found what you offer perfectly matches my skills and experience. I think you have the market presence and credibility to get business from any institution. I can use Google hacking for market research and prospect profiling, write proposals and make client demonstrations with your support. At worst I should be able to generate revenue enough to cover my costs here. My experience is that most people are theoretical. I am different and really need to work with Summit Consulting.”

If you got the job, take me through your first month here?

“I would first get to know about your company policies and procedures in the first two days. If you have a business plan, I will check it out, write my monthly work plan and share it with my supervisor or you. My main focus will be visiting prospective customers especially banks and telecoms. They think they don’t need pen test services, and it is my work to help them recognize that they need it. I am also good at website maintenance and update, I am sure I will offer help which could even save you some money in case someone out there provide you this service. Other things will come up as we move. What I need from you are your expectations of me – what realistic results do you want to see from me.”

Ok, you said you can demonstrate for us. Hack this company network?

“Please put it formally in writing, sign and stamp. Once you do that, your challenge is welcome Sir.”

I am now working with this young man. And for your information, we had not advertised for any vacant position. For the last question, I wanted to see whether he knows what ethical hacking is all about. He was spot on refusing unless with written permission. The catch is a security professional cannot just attempt to hack into any network without prior permission in writing.

In any company, there is always room for exceptional people. All you need is to identify the right person with authority to hire or fire, read about them and get in touch.

I hope you learn a thing or two from the above answers. Remember, the young man must have read my LinkedIn profile and about my company as he gave answers that I wanted to hear.

Succeed and don’t forget to be motivated with my book, Your Three Keys To A Worry Free Life.

About M. B. Mugisa

Mustapha Barnabas Mugisa is one of those rare people who provides business consulting and advisory to professionals and corporate entities who demand the very best. He is a prolific speaker and governance (strategy and risk) expert. His speaking involves making key notes at major conferences and business events on both technical subjects and leadership skills. A change agent and motivational speaker. Mustapha provides tools and proven methodologies to remarkable results through making people appreciate change. Visit Mustapha's LinkedIn profile to know more. Mustapha is the architect of #WinningMindset Leadership and #WinningTheGame strategy approach that combines Harvard Business strategy Playing To Win, with the Blue Ocean Strategy and Balanced Score Card to deliver a strategy that is easy to execute and monitor. Visit www.mustaphamugisa.com for special insights to improve your condition. Are you too good to be great?

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