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Break the status quo

Divina Paredes | March 19, 2012
When your next project is moving to a new role, consider breaking from the traditional way of presenting yourself to your prospective employer.

When your next project is moving to a new role, consider breaking from the traditional way of presenting yourself to your prospective employer.

Dr Howard Moskowitz, CEO of i-Novation, suggests turning the job interview into a "collaborative collegial interaction".

Give a short presentation of a study of the company and its competitors: "By the way, I did some work on your company and here is what I discovered. Here is an opportunity for you, whether you hire me or not."

"It takes the stress out of the interview," says Moskowitz. "All of a sudden, the listener becomes a colleague."

"When you go to a job interview, they are not thinking about how wonderful you are," he explains. "They are thinking, 'I have got this problem', and when you show up, are you going to talk to them about this problem and provide a solution?" "

And if you don't get the job? "They will call you back."

Moskowitz is confident this approach -- which can be used for pitching a project or selling a product -- will work because he has been applying it for more than 40 years as researcher, scientist and author of books and academic journals. Moskowitz, who has a PhD in experimental psychology from Harvard University, has also invented market research technology that has been used by a range of companies including Hewlett Packard, Campbells and MasterCard.

He discusses with CIO New Zealand how to apply some of the principles he has been using, to building and nurturing a career as a business technology leader.

"Traditionally, people with technical backgrounds had their own little empires and they were a magician, the shaman," he says. "Today, we are living in a world where most of the technology is drag and drop. You have to assemble things easily. You have to work with other people. It is not about you anymore, a lot of it [involves] much more emotional intelligence."

He suggests taking a sabbatical without leaving the job, just taking on a different perspective. Instead of directing how the organisation should move, do little experiments on using new business technologies and present it to your colleagues, he says. "Go on the road and present it to other companies."

This is akin to a graduate student working in a laboratory. "Why don't they [CIOs] work in their own laboratory, and come out of it as if they were 25 again?" This sabbatical can last up to a month and can also be done by other executives. It will help "rekindle the excitement" on the job, Moskowitz says.

He also proffers building a "systematic knowledge" through the years, and documenting this. Come up with work-related experiments, projects or research, and collate the results in a presentation. "Every year, create another piece of your portfolio so when you go out into the world, you have a series of five to 10 studies. That is your portfolio of knowledge," he says. And if you change career, you can show this portfolio to your new employers.


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