Archived TL interviews completed

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Alright, so back in August one of our O/N team leads just up and left.

2 weeks later, they officially opened the position to whomever. I felt like I was ready for the job seeing as I'm very proficient at the nightly activities, even taking on some actual responsibilities in delegating individuals to certain areas. It took my superiors forever, but they finally got around to interviewing me, which was a 3 part process. I had an interview once a week for the last 3 weeks. As you can imagine, that still seems to be an incredibly slow and sluggish process to wait nearly all of September with nothing happening. Regardless, there are only 3 other applicants, two of which are also over night team members which have yet to of been interviewed. I'm obviously anxious about the position, even having to push my ETL's constantly asking them when interviews were even going to start, etc. In the mean time, I asked for coaching and so forth until they finally did happen.

Now I'm thinking I may have possibly rushed things. I'm a terrible interviewer, dreadfully terrible actually. Even with the coaching, it seemed not to matter, I crashed and burned. I won't really get into to details unless it's really asked for, but I believe I interviewed so poorly that it has made me question the process in itself. I have a meeting with my store manager on Friday morning to talk about some issues I've had, hoping that he can be persuaded and lean towards my favor. I'm trying to be positive and optimistic, but because of my poor interview performance, I feel like it has all been lost and whatever I talk to my store manager about Friday morning, is mute.

I don't know what I'm really asking here, maybe for advice? I don't question the validity of the questions that were asked (4 questions in each interview, 12 total), I understand their importance. However, the questions are still pretty bad if I really had to say so. They don't display leadership, they convey it. Which is one of the biggest issues I have with the entire process. Because of my poor interview performance, I feel that it is getting in my way of being able to develop myself as a better team member/team lead, person, and so forth. I feel like it's completely killing my opportunity to move up and advance myself. I also feel that I'm not going to be given the proper chance to actually display what I can do for them because of some measly questions which I was able to answer, just not to their standards.

From my understanding, my ETL's, HR, other superiors will not pass me onto the DTL until I'm able to compose my self effectively and efficiently in an interview process, regardless if I'm a mosiah of the logistical process. Which to me doesn't really make sense, it almost seems to be backwards logic. I understand that there is a completely other side of being a O/N TL which the interview process can pick out those traits and skills, such as: writing reviews, CCA's, being able to compose yourself to others, other paper work, etc.

However, these are all things that can be taught. Teaching someone to be a leader can't. It's emulated.

I'm of course bias, but I believe I have the proper leadership qualities that 2 of my current TL's do not poses, I feel that they were able to obtain their TL positions simply because they were able to convey correctly what a "good" leader would do in such situations. Yet, when they get into the actual field, they fall flat on their faces and the entire team has to witness and experience the failures with them. It's a concern for me because I feel that the same mistake could be made once again and with 4th quarter around the corner and our current O/N team 11 positions unfilled, it makes the logic that much more confusing, frustrating, and irritating to understand. Even if I don't receive the position, staying on as a TM I'd still have the same concerns, because I would have to work under them, watching their disaster train run its course.

At the end of the day though, my superiors are going to decide exactly what they want to do and it'll be that. Which is disappointing and depressing, but I suppose this is what that Friday morning meeting is for. It's my last attempt to try and sell myself and bring up these concerns and issues at the same time. I'm just not sure exactly how to approach it and prepare myself. Any advice would be helpful. I actually want this job very badly and I've tried to display my passion and love for the logistical process, but....I just feel like it's all for nothing because of these interview questions ;\
 
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I think you're going about it in the right manner. A follow up with your leaders may not help any, but if they didn't want you before it then it obviously isn't going to hurt you. My advice on this conversation would be to emphasize the global and team impact of your supposed total understanding of the logistical processes.

Oftentimes TMs applying for TL are disappointed when they aren't selected because they are (objectively speaking) the most efficient and effective at executing the process. While this makes for one helluva TM, that doesn't necessarily translate to a good leader. This is why you should emphasize how you can impact the business through your global understanding of the process, and how you can lead a team to perfect execution in the same way you do now. Rightfully so, I would rather have a TL who can lead a team to perfect execution than one who just executes well themselves.

As far as the interview process goes, I think you're right to perceive it in a negative way. Honestly if you know what to say, then the interviews get easier the higher you go because those interviewing you don't know much about how you actually perform. In other words, you can bull**** them and they won't know. As long as you speak to leadership expectations you'll be seen in a positive light.

To play devil's advocate here, I will say that the interview process actually makes sense. Like I said before, Target wants leaders to lead more than they want them to execute themselves. Therefore, the interview questions emphasize that aspect. In that sense, we theoretically should be able to select the best leader through that process. However, what really happens is people just basically do a few cramming sessions on leadership expectations, apply them to generic situations, and end up with a good interview. (Though this is less necessary if you've actually done leading before.)
 

Rock Lobster

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They won't send you to interviews with the DTL if they think you won't pass... that would be pretty embarrassing to talk someone up to the DTL and say they are all passing you through three rounds of interviews just to have this "high potential" team member crash and burn in front of the DTL!

Is the interview process annoying? At times yes... but not being able to communicate effectively during an interview shows a lack of that major leadership expectation! A Target interview takes a few times to be prepped for with someone who knows what they are doing and then you should have it down!
 
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They won't send you to interviews with the DTL if they think you won't pass... that would be pretty embarrassing to talk someone up to the DTL and say they are all passing you through three rounds of interviews just to have this "high potential" team member crash and burn in front of the DTL!

Is the interview process annoying? At times yes... but not being able to communicate effectively during an interview shows a lack of that major leadership expectation! A Target interview takes a few times to be prepped for with someone who knows what they are doing and then you should have it down!

Communicating "effectively" is all subjective though in their eyes through this interview process. As I mentioned, the questions are being answered, just not in the way they would like them to be answered. I've received some feedback and the content of my answers doesn't seem to be the issue, its the delivery. Because it isn't smooth and to the point, I'm being dinged. When in fact, one of the ETL's that interviewed me runs on and story tells just as much as I do when she does the nightly huddles. It all just leaves me scratching my head.
 
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Rock Lobster

Executive Team Leader
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Communicating "effectively" is all subjective though in their eyes through this interview process. As I mentioned, the questions are being answered, just not in the way they would like them to be answered. I've received some feedback and the content of my answers doesn't seem to be the issue, its the delivery. Because it isn't smooth and to the point, I'm being dinged. When in fact, one of the ETL's that interviewed me runs on and story tells just as much as I do when she does the nightly huddles. It all just leaves me scratching my head.

Here is the thing... as a leader you will need to be able to take feedback that you don't agree with and find a way to make the situation better! This will not be the first time you will be told you aren't communicating effectively (heck my STL has that as her opp too)... Obviously there is something in your interviews that is telling your leaders you need to work on communication, so it is your job to fix it! You can't change the interview process and you can't make them ignore an issue they see... The only variable that you can change is yourself! I learned that a long time ago!
 
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mtggrafik,

Here's a secret..... it doesn't matter how you did on the interview. Internal promotions are decided before a spot even becomes vacant. ETLs always do "succession planning" - which means at their meetings they discuss what TM they would want to replace a TL that quits/get fired, and they have it written down on a succession plan. Yes, it is an actual form that they have filled out. I've seen a completed one before.

The fact they humored you with an interview, however, means that you might be number 2 on that plan.... or they may only want you for a certain TL spot.

In any case, don't feel bad that you bombed the interview. The ETLs already knew they weren't going to pick you before you even interviewed. Next time, however, they might want you. You just have to wait and see whenever a vacancy comes up.
 
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mtggrafik,

Here's a secret..... it doesn't matter how you did on the interview. Internal promotions are decided before a spot even becomes vacant. ETLs always do "succession planning" - which means at their meetings they discuss what TM they would want to replace a TL that quits/get fired, and they have it written down on a succession plan. Yes, it is an actual form that they have filled out. I've seen a completed one before.

The fact they humored you with an interview, however, means that you might be number 2 on that plan.... or they may only want you for a certain TL spot.

In any case, don't feel bad that you bombed the interview. The ETLs already knew they weren't going to pick you before you even interviewed. Next time, however, they might want you. You just have to wait and see whenever a vacancy comes up.

At least, they got the interview. Learn from it, is my suggestion.
 
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mtggrafik,

Here's a secret..... it doesn't matter how you did on the interview. Internal promotions are decided before a spot even becomes vacant. ETLs always do "succession planning" - which means at their meetings they discuss what TM they would want to replace a TL that quits/get fired, and they have it written down on a succession plan. Yes, it is an actual form that they have filled out. I've seen a completed one before.

The fact they humored you with an interview, however, means that you might be number 2 on that plan.... or they may only want you for a certain TL spot.

In any case, don't feel bad that you bombed the interview. The ETLs already knew they weren't going to pick you before you even interviewed. Next time, however, they might want you. You just have to wait and see whenever a vacancy comes up.

First and foremost to respond to the comment of them humoring me with an interview. Today I had a rather long meeting with my STL, which he ended up telling me I was honored an interview because of my work ethic, attitude, and the ability to produce results.

---


A little good news, but I see it as a lot of bad news at the same time. Damn me for being pessimistic at this kind of time, lol.

Anyways, I was told that my STL wants to see me as a TL, but for the obvious reasons that he, my ETLs, and I know, which is not passing me until they are confident in my ability to communicate through an interview. All three of them all connected the ability to compose myself adequately and properly through an interview as being able to communicate a message, speech, orders, etc. to a group or more specifically my team. I tried to carefully explain to him how flawed that logic is, repeating myself, breaking down exactly how that skill has absolutely nothing to do (outside of actually being able to talk) with being able to interview well. He wasn't seeing what I thought was common sense at all until I started to bring in direct examples. I ultimately linked it to test taking and how it's more so a state-of-mind issue then anything. As previously explained in the posts above, I have no problems actually coming up with an answer and conveying that answer, it's the delivery of it which is all in question.

The communication which they're all hitting on is using a skill which allows for conscious or subconscious rehearsal or some sort of pre-conceived thought process. If I know I have to talk about some change to our operations, it's not something I wouldn't know 2 minutes prior. It would have been already in my head and processed. If I had to talk about safety, damages, or other opportunities, again all of this is an already pre-conceived thought that has been developed. However, as for the interview questions, it's only a guess as to what is exactly going to be asked. So when the question is presented to myself, I have to develop the thought and then convey that thought, which ultimately comes out jumbled and messy. This maybe shows more of an issue of not being able to think on the spot or in pressure, but I would disagree with that, to an extent. There is some truth to that though, but it's definitely an issue of composure mostly.

I couldn't believe it, but when I explained it in this manner (there is more to the story, but I don't want to make a super duper long wall of text) he actually started to see my approach. He then dropped a bomb on me, "Why didn't you ask to be coached on the actual interview questions?" I was in shock, lol. I asked my ETL and a TL to coach me on interviewing, but I wasn't aware I could have used the actual questions that were presented to me in my 3 interviews to practice with. I'm not sure if that's my fault for assuming that is not a fair practice, but I became a little enraged at myself knowing that if I knew all of the questions prior, I could have rehearsed to a point where my answers were already conceived and planned thoughts. So I don't stumble and sound like a complete blundering fool.

Sigh...


---


Now, I'm at the point where my STL wants to give me more responsibilities where I have to communicate a message to my team on a regular basis. He wants to truly see my thought process in action. He also personally asked if he could coach me, which was quite surprising. He reinforced that even if I'm able to communicate to my team like I said I could, the DTL wouldn't be thrilled that they sent me to him knowing the way I interview. Essentially, if I can "fix" and "develop" these skills, he would gladly reconsider me for the position, but here is the bad news. As 4th quarter is right around the corner and our store being down 11 team members and 1 TL for O/N, he will fill the position if an applicant is qualified to be sent to our DTL. Why is this necessarily bad news? Call me selfish, but I wanted this position, at this store, with this team. I've developed a pretty good rapport with nearly the entire team, I wouldn't necessarily want to leave. However, on the flip side, it's also good news because he told me he would be determined to help me transfer to another O/N team or fill a position on day side.

I guess I have to hope (for my sake) that the 2 other applicants fail just as I did, but I am pretty certain that one of them will get the job. That's me being pessimistic though...who knows really.


So, I have something to ask of you guys that are willing to respond and have listened. When it comes to interviews I feel like I'm being rushed, because if I take time to process the question and formulate an answer, whomever it's I'm interviewing with starts to pressure me to start talking. My HR-ETL actually did this in my first interview. He asked me the question, I started to think of the answer right away, but then he started to suggest that it didn't have to be at this store, it could have been from school, or another job, etc. I acknowledged what he said, but still sat there to properly think out my answer, but he then pressured me again saying that I don't have to answer the question if I can't think of a scenario (which...I'm absolutely not going to do lol). In fact, only my STL didn't pressure me like this...which ended up being the best of my 3 interviews because I was given ample amounts of time to think out my questions (btw, passed 3/4 questions with STL, 1/4 with ETL, and 0/4 with HR-ETL). What ends up happening is I have to start talking while the thoughts are still being formulated into sentences in my head, so I start dancing around the question as my mind catches up, often going back on what I said or saying something completely different then what I'm thinking. I'm consciously aware of this too, which is frustrating (as I mentioned prior, state-of-mind issue). I'm sure part of it is nerves, but not all of it can be. I even tried utilizing STAR to help guide myself through my answers...

I thought about bringing a piece of paper or note book for the next time I interview/get coached so I can write the question down, but I'm not sure if I still won't be pressured to answer quickly. I'll admit though, there were 2 questions where I just didn't have very good answers too so I was stumbling even more so because I didn't know how to exactly navigate around the question thoroughly. I'm kind of at a loss as what else I can do to prepare myself for immediate responses like this. Here are things I was told specifically that I was doing in the interview process:

* Going AROUND the question, then in.
* Stuttering
* Rambling
* Too many details; lengthening the answer (this is more so a issue outside of composing myself better)
* Awkward pauses (This is me just blanking out, resulting in me not talking)
* "Dancing" around questions; hard to follow at times
* Revisiting previous said statements (NOTE: This isn't using an example for 2 different questions, it's going back to a process in the question more then once; redundancy)
* "Story telling"
* Never direct and to the point with answers (Correction, the 1 question my ETL passed me on I was. Funny enough it was a question that I felt I could talk the least about, so it came across as a great answer...funny how that works ;\ )

Minor details that are more focused on the actual answers I gave were:

* Issues with the scope of some of my answers
* Dropping names

My STL did mention that most of the content for the questions were present, only lacking in a few questions (in total, not just with him).



Any thoughts, advice, things that work for you, exercises, resources, etc? I'm literally open to anything and everything to better myself as quickly as possible, regardless if I can't take this exact position I want or not.
 
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partner with your etl or another tl. practice on mock interviews & relax. make notes on your mentioned weaknesses & try to improve them. be aware of your strengths. being proactive is a great thing.
 
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Next time, ask for the interview packets beforehand to read. But beware, they may ask you questions outside of this packet be ready to answer those too. Know your area, know your numbers. Knowing the stores operational scores is great. Never argue with an STL when he is giving you feedback about your interviews. Instead take those oppritunities to improve and run with it. Effective communication is a part of your interview scores. Use huddles as a tool to communicate to your team. Use the Target vocab when speaking as much as possible....good luck next time.
 
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