Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Peak Interview

Why would a consulting firm like Launchpad Partners that has nothing to do with employment, outplacement, recruitment, retention or HR consulting produce a book like The Peak Interview?

Launchpad Partners consists of a handful of highly seasoned executives who’ve been leaders of innovation throughout their careers. A principal way they help clients is to assist in synthesizing their next competitive advantage. They wanted a strong example of the results of their methodology. While they have lots of examples of this, the trouble with developing a new business model or product or service for a company, is that it usually looks ridiculously obvious in hindsight. This phenomenon of perception undermines real value of what they deliver. Therefore, they wanted something that would give people a better opportunity to evaluate what they’re capable of doing.

The Job Interview is something everyone in their target audience understands. Most executives have been on both sides of the interview. Moreover, the job interview is something millions of people go through every year and each one of them is looking for competitive advantage to win the interview and get the job offer. More than that, there are thousands of employment professionals advising clients on how to win the interview. The reason this is a good demonstration of Launchpad’s process is that you’d think with all these professionals working on this, every stone would have been overturned and nothing new could be found. Launchpad's process demonstrates that substantial new competitive advantage can be found, even in this unlikely scenario.

The book The Peak Interview describes this competitive advantage. Here is its promo:

The Peak Interview

New insights into the job interview process can give you an edge to win the interview and get the job. By the time you get to the job interview, the company has determined you are qualified for the job. But so are all the other interviewees. Your experience, skills, competencies, and abilities will not differentiate you. Your competition is just as qualified as you are. You need an edge.

Great jazz soloists know that when they are playing a solo, they have to hit one or two peaks in the body of the solo and end with a flourish. That's because people evaluate an experience based on its peaks (good or bad) and how the experience ended. The rest of the experience is remembered, but the evaluation of the experience is based on its peaks, and how it ends. This is called the ‘Peak/End rule’.

Psychologist Daniel Kahneman is credited with describing this rule. His insight had such a big impact on the study of economics, that he won the 2002 Nobel Prize, despite the fact that he is a psychologist who has never taken so much as a single economics course. When people assess a past experience, they attend to two things above all: how it felt at the peak and whether it improved or worsened at the end. It is important to recognize that everything else isn’t forgotten, it just isn’t used in how we judge the quality of the experience. That means we make decisions, not on a rational basis that fairly evaluates the whole experience, but rather on the peaks and especially on the ending. On this basis we can actually make choices which, on a purely rational basis, don’t make sense.

The Peak Interview emphasizes all the best practices you need to skillfully deliver in the interview, but then shows you how to leverage the Peak/End phenomenon as you prepare for, and produce an outstanding interview. This insight can boost your chances of winning the job.

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