"I get nervous during interviews." "She's a great employee, she just doesn't do well in interviews." "He knows his stuff, he just gets worked up thinking about the interview."
Wait a minute. I don't buy any of this nonsense. Not for one second.
Finally It's All About You
The last time I checked interviews are the only time you can actually talk about what you've accomplished. You are the center of the universe, at least for a little while. So when I hear excuses as to why people struggle talking about themselves, and expect my support to bring them on board I am simply dumbfounded. Are you kidding me? The candidate isn't comfortable talking about himself? Seriously?
Quick Question - How many of you have easy jobs? That's what I thought. So why do we allow weak candidates to slide through interviews when in reality they will be faced with challenging work in highly competitive environments under tremendous pressure to perform with limited resources? It makes no sense.
Interviews Are Supposed to be Hard
Years ago I interviewed for a position and the team interviewing me was so ill-prepared (that was a Senior Management Team by the way) that I almost knew it wouldn't be challenging before it even started. Since no one was ready, they asked questions about issues that had just occurred v. truly considering what they needed me to provide as a strategic member of the organization. Tough questions like: "What would you do if you found someone sleeping on the job?" Wow, that's a tough one! I quickly put a look of horror on my face and said how awful it was...(their eyes got big)...I then said that barring some sort of medical condition it could be grounds for termination...(their eyes got bigger and they smiled).
Seriously? How embarrassing...for them.
Prepare your questions. Keep pushing until the candidate can give you specific issues, specific actions they took, and specific resolutions. Make the interview difficult! If they can't describe work they have already done, you don't want the guaranteed employee relations headache down the road that is now staring you in the face hoping for a job offer.
How About You
Stop making excuses for weak candidates. Thank them for coming in, send them on their way, and only hire those that can actually speak about their successes, failures, and passion for work. Do you make excuses for weak candidates? What could possibly be your rationale?
I'd love to hear from you.
pic courtesy of Teluglobe
Fantastic points! Short of waterboarding, I believe it's okay to ask the difficult questions, and expect the candidate to come prepared. True for internal candidates as well. Nothing worse then someone who already works for the company not having done his or her homework.ReplyDelete
Thanks Dawn. I couldn't agree with you more, particularly on the internal candidates. When any candidate is really prepared, they set themselves apart from the field!ReplyDelete
Coming prepared is one thing. It’s a given that you should know why you’re interviewing for a position, what value you can bring to the organization and what you are looking for intellectually, culturally, opportunity-wise and financially. But a prepared candidate may or may not do well in a hostile interview. If you truly want to find out about someone else - and possibly even learn something new in the process - you might want to focus on bringing out the best in them.ReplyDelete
Awesome, pointed, and REAL! I did not see these questions as hostile, but rather pushing the candidate to articulate clear outcomes and results, rather than intangibles and generalities. This is particularly valuable advice for college students who need to know to expect the hard questions. Also, college students with little to no experience can figure out ways to "spin" outcomes in their classes that relate to their potential jobs. Ellen Bremen, M.A. @chattyprofReplyDelete
True, interviews should be hard, and should push the candidate to speak to specific situations. But although Gen Y-ers have been raised to believe everything they do is amazingly special, most everyone else has not. It can be hard for a normally humble, modest person to toot their own horn.ReplyDelete
Beth - Good points, but I'm not advocating a hostile interview. I do strongly support pushing candidates to be specific and clear in their responses however. Too often, hiring managers settle for someone that seems "nice" v. someone who can articulate their accomplishments.ReplyDelete
Ellen - Thanks for the feedback. Great reference on the need for college students to truly understand what interviews will be like.
Samantha - I agree that it can be difficult to "toot your own horn" but realistically it is necessary to communicate your successes. Thank you!