November 7, 2017

Dear Interviewers!!! How prepared are you?

A few weeks back I published an article “questions an interviewer should never ask”. I received many comments and suggestions on LinkedIn. This article is in continuation of that. In my career as a Consultative recruiter and HR Solution provider, I interview people telephonically and personally both, on daily basis. We are in constant coordination with the interviewers, HR managers, hiring professionals from several industries. My profession demands me to improvise and innovate daily, which is done only by staying aware of what’s happening around. We design solutions accordingly. Basically, interviews and hiring is the only thing we talk about, almost whole day. We receive post-interview feedback from applicants and also from our clients. What do we observe? A shift. A huge shift, which is positive, forward-looking, and progressive. It’s regressing when we believe as an interviewer we don’t need to prepare for an interview. It’s comical when we think we can look down upon the candidate sitting next to us, just because he has applied for a job? It’s ironical that we crib about the boredom of interviews without putting any effort to make them interesting and engaging. Are we forgetting the very purpose of an interview?

This article is going to be a prequel to my next article on “How to conduct interviews”, which will be published shortly. Concluding by few comments received on my previous article, I would like to make few points here for everybody’s understanding, those who are preparing for interviews and those who are taking interviews. (Yes, even interviewer needs to prepare for an interview and not just the candidate). These points are for today’s time and I am not talking about or referring to, whatever used to happen in past.

An interview is a two-way process.

As Morgan McKinley says, Interview is a two-way process. Companies like Monster, Oracle, and many others, also believe the same. If A is interviewing B, B is also assessing A. A wants to decide if B is ready/qualified/skilled enough to work in the organization. B is also making a decision if he would like to work and spend most of the time of his day in this organization or not? So it’s not a one-way terrain, its two way. I have received many comments. Few gentlemen were talking about taking an interview “To show them their place”. That’s absolutely not the purpose of an interview.

As Forbes explains very beautifully in an article that how hiring professionals can succeed in “Candidates’ market”. Few articles published by CPS Recruitment –where they have given tips to navigate the Candidate Driven market. So it’s not only a one-way process where an interviewer has to make a decision but the candidate is also making a decision whether he would like to work with the organization or not, Because the candidate is no more a beggar, he is a chooser with multiple job opportunities.

Interviews are table talks between equals:

Gone are the times when an interviewer will command and judge. The interviews are supposed to be a discussion and interaction where both the parties will evaluate each other. Both are treated as equals and both have the right to put forward their point of view. A few say it’s like marriage. Both the parties have to be welcoming for another’s queries and apprehensions. This is a huge point to remember that having a mutual discussion is more effective than having a boring session of predictable questions and receiving rehearsed answers. It’s important that both the parties remain engaged in the discussion to have a better interaction. In an article by Liz Ryan, published by Forbes, she clearly mentions that one of the most common mistakes an interviewer makes is talking down to the candidate. Never do that. They are not criminals.

Interviews are the first-hand candidate experience-make them good.

Making the candidate wait for a long time and testing his patience is nothing but adding to a bad candidate experience. He might pass the interview but never join your organization. The Chatham group, Debbie Lamb says that in the candidate driven market, the candidate experience matters. Yes, it does. Keeping the candidate engaged during the interview will help you conduct a better interview than having a discussion which started from “Tell me something about yourself”. At this question only, you lose your future potential candidate because he just gave up on you because of your lack of originality and you also get zero points for the lack of creativity and effort.

According to workplace trends Candidate Experience Study, almost 60% of job seekers report having a poor candidate experience. Out of that, 72% shared information on employer review sites such as Glassdoor, and negative impact can affect employer brand. Would you like to take that risk? I won’t.

The purpose of an interview is to make a decision:

The very purpose of the interview is to come to a decision whether the association will happen or not? On what terms the association will happen? There are many important decisions which are made on the basis of this interaction, so this interaction is not meant to insult, humiliate or harass. This process is designed to make a decision which is beneficial for all involved. The process should start with an openness in the environment. Every employer wants to hire an excellent employee, who fits the bill and the role, but that’s not all. There has to be a lot in it for an employee too.

The interview process has to be redesigned in such a way that you can bring out the best potential of the candidate sitting next to you. That won’t happen by asking some predictable questions which are drafted, templated all over the internet from past 20 years. In the article of Forbes, Liz Ryan states that coming to the job interview unprepared, and asking scripted questions are some examples of the unprofessional behavior of interviewers. This calls for some in depth understanding of what you are looking for, are you ready to hire for future or not, are you open to hiring someone who is not like you or is better than you. We need to push our limits and get out of our comfort zones as interviewers.We need to understand that scripted questions will receive scripted /well-rehearsed answers only and they defy the very purpose of taking an interview. You cannot become a good interviewer by just asking some pre designed questions and ticking marks on the boxes. It takes much more than that.

PS:         My Dad was interviewed for the job of Kitchen Manager 30 years back and the first question he was asked was “tell me something about yourself”. I was interviewed 10 years back for the role of a research associate in a leading management firm, the first question I was asked: “Tell me something about yourself”. My brother interviewed for the position of Commie chef, 5 months back, the first question he was asked, “Tell me something about yourself”.

In my next article, following this one, I’ll write about how to conduct an interview. To know more about interviews and many other aspects of #HR and #recruitment, you can follow me on twitter @shaliniharnot

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