The Interview “Looks like a nice person, has a Twitter page”
For many who have been working professionals for most of their lives, it is often anticipated with some anxiety that those interviewing them ‘may not know how to interview them’. When you go into an interview and in two quick responses you have pretty much summed up the entire list of questions the interviewer had prepared, you quickly are able to gauge the aptitude of that business or organization. While those giving the interview have thought well and hard on their lists – you still manage to blow that list out of the water. What’s left for the interviewer? They can continue to read from their list, and unfortunately a lot do; because they really do not know anything about interviewing or better yet, the art of communication.
Interviewing from a list can be caustic. Asking someone what their strengths and weaknesses are isn’t as important as sitting down face-to-face with them at a restaurant and getting to know how they interact with you and others. Sure you need to ask basic questions, but you want to engage your potential candidate to communicate a larger picture of who and what they are. Then you will be able to estimate how they might potentially fit into your organizational culture.
A good interviewer should understand that a list of questions is only a guide. It’s not a good way to engage potential candidates into giving up information about themselves. The younger and more inexperienced the interviewer the more likely they will not have the proper skills needed to ask the right questions at the appropriate time. It’s not that they can’t – they simply do not have those skills developed yet. Not everyone is a good interviewer.
How many of you like doing interviews?
So what do you do when the candidate has just blown your list of questions out of the water in just a few short statements? It’s not the candidates fault. They came prepared. The outcome rests solely on your shoulders.
It’s not the candidates fault. They came prepared
Some might perceive the experience of a professional interviewer as intimidating, often fearing for their own jobs by thinking “dang this person is good”. So they quickly write off the candidate by sending out a rejection letter that states something like “we found a more highly qualified candidate”, or “we don’t have need for your skills at this time”. Think about that statement “more highly qualified”, or “no need for your skills”. Over-qualified is probably more like it. Nervous interviewers are writing those letters of rejection as they are interviewing you – that is how unsure of themselves they really are.
Some just want to filter out those individuals who they perceive as flight risks, who will leave the job for a better one after investing time and energy into training.
Your trustworthiness as a professional representing your organization has just been deflated when you do things like that. Leave the candidate with their integrity by changing your vocabulary to reflect something more generic and less personally intrusive. Maybe use things like “Unfortunately you weren’t selected at this time but your application will remain on file”. If the candidate then decides to call and ask why they weren’t selected, I suggest you have a higher level explanation.
Has a Twitter page, seems like a nice person, that’s probably not a good explanation why they selected another candidate over you. If you are a state jobs agency and a candidate asks for clarification are you going to avoid the question if it comes up? It happens. Don’t let your title get away from you. It might be you who has to go before the interviewing squad next.
……Has a Twitter page seems like a nice person
Human Resource people hate to hear this, but it’s true – interviewing is all about discrimination. You are judging people and their skill abilities. You are deciding their fate with your influences within your organization. Honestly, you might just like how someone behaves and interacts with you, who cares about skills. It happens every day, people getting hired for the quirkiest reasons.
- Have your list of questions, but read the persons education and work history too. Adjust your questions accordingly
- A candidate shouldn’t have to hide the number of years of experience and/or their education from you just so you will feel comfortable. You should be thankful they want to interview for your company.
- Know your own organizational needs, and at least be fair in your assessments
- Learn how to communicate and bring in new questions when you get a solid candidate in front of you. You really want to impress them. They are the ones who are actually looking you over to see if your organization is as strong as it comes off
- Are you willing to allow good talent to go work for your competitor?
- Your title is not as important as the candidate you are interviewing; it’s about theirskills
- The potential candidate prepared for the interview – did you?
- Be willing to adjust your sails. All interviews are different. You will interview some people who have years of knowledge ahead of you. But they are there because they want to be. Revel in that! That’s a good thing. You want good people to want to work for you
- Be honest when making your selection and leave each candidate their integrity
- Write letters that “do no harm”. Your vocabulary matters
- A person with a masters degree interviewing for a job that doesn’t need a degree is still a person.
Three Things that matter: Integrity, integrity, and integrity.
- Integrity of the business or organization
- Integrity of the interviewer
- Integrity of the interviewee
My favorite interview question is “Do you Skype”?