How I got myself this great job at makepositive using LinkedIn – Part – 6

  March 5, 2015       PeiMun Lim

Chapter 6 – The Role Play

What strikes me about the makepositive website is the image of kids with helmets racing with shopping trolleys.  The large text in the middle says ‘Are you on the edge of greatness?’ I am not a total fan of the branding colours, but the engaging text and pictures pique my interest.

I cannot quite decide if they are taking themselves seriously or if it’s all tongue in cheek.  I think it’s the latter.  When I first look at the careers’ page, it said ‘Only Geniuses need apply.’  Yes, I might just about qualify to work here. (The website has been updated since then; the humour is intact but the pink remains).

In my quest for my next role, I’ve been looking at quite a few websites, and I am getting a little jaded with the normal corporate blablabla and boring sameness of it all, so I like that this makepositive has some spark.  The language on the site conveys a young and dynamic personality.  But is it all just marketing and PR hoo-ha?

My first telephone interview is with Carol Ann, the Talent Manager at makepositive.  Her quiet and friendly manner puts me at ease very quickly.

I ask if not having Salesforce experience is a point of concern for them, and she tells me that it will not matter very much as they have very strong consultants and developers who will be doing the actual work.  Instead they have been looking for project managers who have experience implementing CRM projects with professional services and experience with a diverse industry sectors.

I worry about not having extensive agile or scrum projects, but that too does not seem to be a major concern.  I mentally breathe a sigh of relief.

Thankfully I get through the phone interview and Carol Ann says that the next step is a second interview that will include a case study and role play.

What?

Role play? I’ve not had to do this for quite a while.

“What’s that you’re swotting on, Wife?”

“I’ve got to do this role-play for the interview with makepositive.  Apparently my project has gone pear shaped and the clients are asking for a project meeting.”  I chew my lip and frown. “I’ve got to read the whole proposal and then review the background info.  Then I’ve got to write up a project status report and explain my plan of action to the irate clients when I see them.”

“I’ll let you carry on then.” He wanders upstairs to get the little ninjas ready for bed.

The day of the interview comes and it is blazingly hot.  I’ve got on a smart suit which I think isn’t a smart choice at all, as I sit in the underground station sweating, and waiting for my train in what feels like a pressure cooker.

Curses, I think.  I hope I won’t get pulled up on sweat stains.

The office is in a very inconspicuous building in Great Guildford Business Square around the Southwark area.  I pass Starbucks on the way from Borough station and note down two gyms – a budget one, and a premier priced one.  I nod in approval.

The building appears to be undergoing refurbishment.  I ring the bell, and before long I’m ushered into a meeting room to wait.

I can feel my eyebrows sweating.  I should have used Dove roll-on to block those dastardly sweat glands.  I surreptiously wipe the sweat off without touching my coloured-in eyelids.

The staff here is very informal, and mostly in t-shirt and jeans.  I feel over dressed in my rapidly-getting-soggy blouse and suit.

So it is at this point the two ‘clients’ walk into the room.  I am told that the first part will be the role play, and the proper interview will only begin after that.

They play Mr Highly Angry Client and Mrs Unreasonable very well, and I have to admit that the sweating was only partly caused by the heat.  It’s the first interview where I am talking solidly for the first twenty minutes, explaining why the project managed to get to this stage and what I plan to do to resolve and address the issues.

There is a ping ponging noise from the glass walled boardroom next door as four employees start a friendly game of table tennis.  I try very hard to concentrate and not to let it break my flow.

“… aaaaand breathe!” Mrs Unreasonable smiles and breaks out of character.

I swear that even my sweat glands gave a sigh of relief.  The rest of the interview proceeds much more normally and I feel a lot more relaxed by the end of it. I find out that Mrs Unreasonable is actually the Head of People, and Mr Highly Angry Client runs the Professional Services division, so they are able to answer all the questions I have.

And I have quite a few. Especially about where they are heading, and how they compete with other partners, one of whom is much younger (like the one I had interviewed for earlier), who have a larger pool of consultants and has higher profile within the Salesforce community.

The answer is that makepositive is choosing to grow organically, while others have secured investment to fund aggressive growth plans.  They are choosing to protect the culture and quality of work, and to ensure employee wellbeing is not overlooked in their growth plans.  They tell me more about the background of the company and the people who work there.

I like the answers that I am hearing.

I look through the glass wall of the meeting room and notice that the people smile a lot, and genuinely seem to be enjoying their work environment.  On my way out, Mrs Head of People introduces me to the CEO who is dressed for summer, in a Hawaiian shirt, shorts and flip flops.  Makepositive really has made an impression on me.

They tell me that I will find out their decision next week.

“Maybe we’ll say, ‘Welcome aboard’.  Or maybe we’ll say, ‘I’m sorry you didn’t get through.  Good luck for the future.’” Says Mr Professional Services Director.

I hope it’s the former.