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Interviewing Rules a Hiring Manager Should Never Break

2312974646 1c5564b623 Interviewing Rules a Hiring Manager Should Never Break

Anita Bruzzese recently wrote an awesome post on her blog, 45 Things, about being a good interviewer. If there was any doubt, the title says it all: Being a Hiring Manager Doesn't Give You the Right To Be a Jackass. I've too heard my fair share of stories from candidates on the job search. Lack of common courtesy and outrageous expectations

seem to be recurring themes these days. The interviewee-interviewer mistake ratio is 1:1.

Anita outlined five rules for being a good hiring manager.

1. When you post a job, be prepared.
2. Be on time.
3. Clear a chair.
4. Pay attention.
5. Be honest.

Read her commentary and the entire post here.

Each rule is equally important, but number 4, Pay Attention, is the one that bothers me every time. It's also the rule even usually good interviews break the most.

Interviewers/hiring managers:

An interview is not the time to be checking your email and Blackberry. It doesn't matter how "busy" you are. Think about it—you’re about to be adding someone to your payroll software for an undisclosed period of time—is this really a time when you want to be distracted? Please turn off the cell phone and the computer monitor. The silent buzz in your pocket is distracting you, and, even if you don't check it, we know you want to! If a candidate answered his phone during an interview, it would be considered inappropriate - the same rules apply to the interviewer.

I'd also like to add a couple more good rules for the interviewer to follow:

6. Read through the candidate's resume prior to starting the interview. I've heard of situations where the interviewer didn't even know the candidate's name. Optimize the time available for the interview by preparing questions prior to meeting the candidate. If there is more than one person involved in the process, make sure each interviewer is not asking the same questions.

7. Tell the candidate about the position. Candidates are expected to walk into an interview prepared to show how all of their experience matches the job. Often they are only provided with a generic job description such as "seeking candidates with excellent communications skills" or "seeking individuals with strong attention to detail". These generic descriptions are often quite vague when it comes to explaining what the person will actually be expected to accomplish in the role. It's important to feed the candidates specific information about the job so they can demonstrate how their most relevant skills and previous experiences prove to you they are a viable candidate in the short amount of time they have.

Remember, even if you don't hire the candidate in the end, his or her experience interacting with your company can either build or slowly kill your employer reputation. This same candidate could be your future customer, client, or even your employer.

What would you suggest be added to the list?

Photo credit: Ewan McDonnell
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6 Comments - Add yours!

Anita Bruzzese (July 14th, 2009)

Great additions to the list! Let’s hope interviewers get the message…and if they don’t, someone can send them the link to our posts!

Charles (July 14th, 2009)

Yes, be prepared! I have been on several interviews in the last couple of years where it was clear to me that the interviewer(s) did not prepare for the interview in any way except to set aside time.

It’s why I always bring extra copies of my resume, etc. I’ve even had to provide blank paper and pens to some people.

The worst, however, was a panel interview where NO one had any questions to ask. So some of them started to ask silly nonsense questions such as “Are you a cat person or a dog person?” It seemed as if they were trying to score “funny points” with their coworkers rather then trying to get to know if I was a good fit for the job or not.

I so wanted to scream at them that I was taking this job opportunity seriously, couldn’t they at least treat me professionally?

I am sort of assuming this was the case because it was a panel and everyone thought that everyone else would do the work and they could just sit back and do nothing. Shame on the two people in charge that they let this situation happen!

This panel interview was just one part of a half-day of interviews. Earlier in the day when they took me to lunch at the organization’s exclusive lunch club most of them only wanted to talk about how seldom they get to eat there. Two of them (out of the five present) started a side conversation about what they might have for lunch tomorrow when they interview the other person; they acted as if I wasn’t even present!

It’s makes me hope that what goes around comes around!

Natalie (July 14th, 2009)

I’ve been on quite a few interviews since being let go from my job last October, and one thing that has irked me with every one is the promise of further contact from the interviewer. Of the roughly 10-15 interviews I’ve been on, I’ve only heard back from maybe 2, telling me that had chosen someone else. I was turned down by another 2 or 3 when I ended up having to call 2 weeks later to determine their progress. At that point, the interviewer stammered out “Oh sorry, we chose another candidate for that position.” At my most recent interview, the interviewer, who was one of the partners of the firm, told me she wanted to invite me back for a second interview to meet the other partners about halfway through the interview. At the end of the interview, she said she would contact me midway through the next week. After 2 weeks I sent the requisite second follow up e-mail (the first being a thank you e-mail) and she replied back that a decision hadn’t been made yet and she would contact me soon. That was 2 weeks ago, and it’s been about a month since the initial interview. I know that sometimes a candidate can seem promising and then someone else comes along and blows them out of the water, but considering that’s the case, second interviews or follow ups shouldn’t be promised. It’s almost like a cruel let-down for those of us are are bright, promising potential employees caught in the quagmire with all the other bright, promising potential employees.

Rose (July 15th, 2009)

I agree with Natalie, with one exception. I get back to candidates when I say I will (or in case of some crisis, within a day or so after that, at most), whether they are chosen for a further interview or the job, or not chosen. The only time I wait slightly longer is if someone is on my “next to interview” list. For example – my organization is currently filling 2 major positions, and we had about 120 applications. We had done phone interviews, and chosen 3 finalists for each position, but 3 people who didn’t quite make the cut were very close calls. I contacted all the people we wanted to interview first, and then all the people we chose not to interview, except those 3. One person who accepted the invitation for a 2nd interview withdrew a day later, after deciding that the transportation logistics would just be too difficult. I called the next person on the list, apologized for the delay, and invited her to a 2nd interview. I’ll wait another day or 2 to see if anyone else changes his or her mind, then call the others. But I always get back to anyone I’ve interviewed – I think I owe them that courtesy for the time and trouble they have taken. I know they’re looking for a job – that doesn’t mean that their time is not valuable, and completely discounting it is rude and sends a poor impression of an organization.

Vicki (July 21st, 2009)

I had an interview a couple month ago with PR agency and the interviewer was clueless about her job and unprepared what question to ask in the interview. RECRUITER PLEASE BE PREPARED TO INTERVIEW THE CANDIDATE SINCE THEY ARE SHOWING UP INTO YOUR OFFICE FOR HOUR OR TWO OF THEIR TIME. IT ONLY TAKES YOU 3-5 MINUTE TO GET THE NEXT ROOM FOR INTERVIEW. IT IS SIMPLE PRINCIPAL DON’T WASTE ANY BODY TIME BECAUSE YOU ARE NOT PREPARED. For PR firms out there if you filled the position stop continue advertising the position. PR code of ethics is honesty and transparency with public.

Rodrigo Ocampo (July 31st, 2009)

Hi Lindsay, the worst answer you could have after or during your interview, that you have been excited to have, is that the interviewer let you know you are fantastic for the position but unfortunately you are over qualified due to your years of experience and studies.
I can’t still believe a company that is looking to improve in their marketing, PR or media approach to the outside world don’t want to use these assets and qualifications to go to the next level. I think that if you are there at the interview is because you want the job despite you are downsizing in your career or not, you want to be in that company. Marketing, PR and media outreach changes day by day and the worst thing a stable company should do is to lay-off or discharge a good professional in the marketing o PR level. They are the staff that will be making your company to continue showing stability and growth by accessing all the media outlets available in this media-based world. Now a day every media outreach you do is a gain to your company, and if you don’t have someone who takes out your flag and say “Hey we are here and we are in business”, the company and their executives are looking their way to the trash or dissolution.
We, as marketers, PRs and media professionals has the tools to show how important these are for a company, no matter you are overqualified or not, you need to show in an interview that the life-saver for a sinking boat (company) is to continue doing marketing, to continue showing society and customers you are strong, busy and growing and the only two ways are by person-to-person word of mouth or by using all the media outlets available in the markets as possible (social networks, TV, radio, newspapers, magazines, events, promotions, tradeshows, expos and imagine more). There are many tools we know that companies pay millions to use and we know how to make it possible for free.
I hope sometime soon I can come again to use this tools and use all my knowledge to fulfill a need in company that really appreciates the magic touch of Marketing, PR and Media.

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