Paul Pierotti, a Dublin-based Managing Director at Accenture Digital, recently implemented a quick, smart check on the relationship building skills (aka soft skills) of a group of employment candidates.
He posted a note on LinkedIn that said:
“For the ten graduate applicants I am interviewing this week, the easy code is pineapple. Let’s see how many of you look at my profile before the interview.”
Readers Left Negative Comments
Many of Paul’s readers objected to his approach:
- Low on profile views, huh?
- I find your post a little out of line.
- A bit borderline stalker.
- People research companies, not the people who work there.
- Utterly ludicrous.
Readers Left Positive Comments
- I believe they call it due diligence.
- It’s good practice.
- It should be an automatic fail if they don’t have it [the easy code].
- This is a clever due diligence test. This is excellent!
- How many people have I interviewed that couldn’t be bothered to spend 20 seconds on personal research?
Readers Left Comments Helpful to Job Seekers
- I do believe you should research the person you are meeting in a business situation.
- There’s nothing more powerful in an interview than being prepared.
- Knowing the easy code would certainly color an interviewer’s opinion of the candidate.
- A quick way to eliminate those who haven’t shown interest.
- I will be stealing the idea one day in the near future.
Over 70% of the candidates referenced pineapple in their interview with Paul.
While Paul hasn’t said who made it to the next round, or an offer, I wouldn’t want to be one of the two or three people who couldn’t/didn’t do their homework in a competitive field that prepared.
What Does Paul’s Test Mean to You, the Job Seeker?
- Connect on LinkedIn with people who are going to interview you.
Send them a simple note that says: “Paul, I’m looking forward to meeting with you next week and would like to know more about you. I hope you’ll accept my invitation to connect here on LinkedIn.”
- Read your interviewer’s profile.
Many commenters suggested going incognito. I disagree. Let your interviewer know you’re interested enough in him/her to do the obvious research.
To go to work for Accenture, Paul wants to know you have enough on the ball to learn a bit about him, and by extrapolation, a new/prospective client, before a first meeting.
- Check your interviewer’s LinkedIn activity.
Click the down arrow beside the “Follow” tab and then click “View Recent Activity.” This is where you’ll learn more about what really matters to your interviewer – and where you would have found Paul’s post.
Look at a few of Accenture’s 2016 accolades:
#29, The World’s Top 50 Most Attractive Employers, Universum
#36, World’s Most Admired Companies, Fortune
#37, Best Global Brands, Interbrand
The company didn’t reach those levels of global esteem by hiring employees who lack the soft skills to take the lead in forming connections with clients and colleagues.
- Check your interviewer’s LinkedIn profile contact information.
Paul’s LinkedIn profile shows that he has a Twitter account. If you check his Twitter stream, you’ll learn more about his business interests, personal passions, and family – all rich icebreakers for those first awkward moments of an interview.
5. Don’t forget to research the company too!
While it’s not enough, it’s also a competitive requirement. You’ll find some quick tips here. As Paul said in the comments to his LinkedIn post, “Hopefully they [the candidates] have researched both.”
Can You Prove Your Soft Skills in an Interview Process?
The comments on Paul’s post showed naysayers and fans for his approach. Now that you know you might actually get tested on your relationship building skills during a selection process, who do you want to be?
- The naysayer?
- The winner?
I write executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Save time. Get hired. See my bio and recommendations here, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.