During my first conversation with the Managing Director, I was told two things:
- All of this will seem too good to be true, and because it actually is, this will be the last job you ever have
- If you make it through the gauntlet, there will be no doubt that we want you and you want us.
My first reaction was: What the heck is the “gauntlet”? How can it be any more effective or different than other interviews that I have been through? I would soon find out.
I approached my interviews with SEI cautiously. I was a non-local candidate and would have to uproot my entire family if this was the right opportunity for me. More than any local opportunity, SEI had to sell themselves to me as much as I did to them.
During my first couple of interviews, I was convinced that they just sent the “hardcore” SEI representatives. You know the ones; the company is everything, there are no politics here, there is NO OTHER place to work, rah, rah etc. Initially, I was skeptical, but then something happened: The next couple of people I met continued to deliver that consistent message. A message about an SEI culture that is different and unique.
I started thinking, maybe this isn’t just a smoke screen?
It wasn’t HR or even a hiring manager conducting interviews. Consultants who are living in the trenches met with me to stress unique elements of the culture – being able to work separately in many instances at different clients but still having a strong team environment. Counting on empowered employees to make SEI succeed.
Through my interviews one thing I consistently noticed was that interviewers NEVER used canned interview questions. They made it a true conversation. For me, this is what set SEI apart from others. I actually looked forward to each conversation and the challenges that each presented. How do I prove myself when they don’t really ask pointed questions?
Also, none of them showed up with a copy of my resume nor asked for one. They all knew my experience and what they thought I could bring. Not that they weren’t trying to reinforce observations and thoughts they had about my experience and skills, but there was more focus on determining what I could bring to SEI to make it an even greater success.
I knew that SEI had a great client base and had everything that I was looking for with respect to work challenges. But it was conversations about team and how close and supportive everyone is toward one another is what sold me on SEI more than anything. I can happily say that not only did I successfully sell myself to SEI and made it through the gauntlet but SEI successfully sold themselves to me.