Lindsay Olson

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Interviewing Rules a Hiring Manager Should Never Break

AH! *Don't* be a jerk

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

Common Courtesy and Bathroom Breaks...


About once a month, I check out the Google Analytics statistics for this blog. It's always a mixture of entertainment and enlightenment. As I was combing through the keywords section, I noticed a strange pattern. Several people who landed here searched "no bathroom break" or "bathroom break during an interview."

I don't know the actual story behind these visitors attempts to find information about bathroom breaks and interviews, but I assume these hits came from job seekers who have fallen victim to the etiquette oblivious interviewer. Sadly, it happens more often than it should as this blog reader described in a recent experience

Hellbound: Hellraiser II psp


Hiring Managers: I'm concerned. Let's treat candidates the same way we would if we were to invite them to our homes. If you keep a candidate sitting in a conference room for a marathon interview, offer a restroom break. It's common courtesy and a small, but important detail that determines how a candidate perceives your company and your overall employer brand.

I see how this can happen. Each interviewer has 30 minutes to an hour with the candidate and when the interviewer's time is up, he's back to work and on to other priorities. The next person comes in and starts with their business. And so on...

My suggestion: Assign one person on the team the responsibility of taking care of the candidate. This person is the first and the last person the candidate will see on interview day. This one person walk the candidate through the process, making sure that everything runs smoothly, the interviews start on time, and proper attention and courtesy is extended to the candidate.

Photo credit: Mass Distraction

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