From November, 2012

Hey Recruiter, Video Interviewing Just Kicked Sand in Phone Screening’s Face!

I have a recruiting and executive search background and for me screening candidates prior to sending them on to my clients is very important.  Now, I understand many search individuals don’t want to use any tools that might screen out their candidates but I believe my success thrives on providing a service that delivers exceptional candidates.  So for many years my colleagues and I would video record the candidates with a camcorder when interviewing them in person and then sit down with the hiring manager to review the candidate’s video.  This process saved them time and money.  At least back in the 90’s it did.

In 2012 that type of model would be considered too time consuming for most hiring managers so I’ve adapted, jumped on board with an online video interviewing provider, and now use video interviewing to screen my selected job candidates.  Here’s why for me video interviewing just stole phone screening’s lunch money.

  1. I like to see my candidates’ personalities – “Wait a second Ryder, why is seeing them so important?  You should be judging them on skills alone!”  Sure, tell that to my client’s hiring manager.  Eighty-eight percent of hiring professionals select candidates for personality over skills.  Video interviewing allows them to asses how enthusiastic the candidate is about the opportunity and also how professionally they appear.  Believe it or not a candidate once started a video interview with his shirt off!  Yes, I learned a great deal more in those first five seconds about that candidate then I could in five minutes of phone screening him.
  2. I like to spend time with my family – I live on the East Coast of the U.S. and often I recruit candidates on the West Coast or in other countries.  Most candidates can’t interview with me until after they get off of work which usually means 8:30 or 9:00 my time.  My kids just aren’t having that!  So now I send the candidate an invitation to take an automated video interview, which they can complete on their time and I can review at my convenience.  Yay for dad!
  3. Dang I can’t remember what Bill said? – I am terrible at listening to people and taking notes.  Often I start thinking about the next question I want to ask a candidate or I start thinking about what I want for lunch.  Before you know it I’m robotically nodding to the candidate without really paying attention to what they are saying.  The next day I can’t remember half of what they said!  The result is worse when I phone screen them because, since they can’t see me, I don’t have to worry about them seeing how distracted I am.  With recorded video interviews I can review the candidate’s responses over and over and give the candidate my undivided attention.
  4. Bill vs. Sarah vs. Tasha – I can’t compare phone notes very well but I sure can compare video interviews to one another.  “How did Jack answer that question about lying to customers because Bill and Sarah said they had no problems with it?  Wait, did Sarah say the boldest thing she had ever done was punch her old boss?”  These are answers you want to compare and so does the hiring manager.
  5. Hey Mr. Hiring Manager, wanna read my phone screen notes? – Can you imagine me scanning in my notes and sending them to the hiring manager?  Of course you can’t and neither would you do such a thing but imagine if for a second you could send them something more than just your recommendation.  Video interviewing allows me to easily share a link to each candidate’s video with the hiring manager by email.  Within minutes of viewing each candidate they can determine who they like enough to bring in for a face-to-face interview and who they wish to eliminate from the process.  This saves my clients a tremendous amount of time.

In terms of enhancing my recruiting, video interviewing has the power of a Mustang 5.0 Boss but with the efficiency of a Prius.  Are you still puttering around with phone screens?  C’mon, ditch the moped and get a Mustang of your own!

Photo credit: Vicki & Chuck Rogers / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

Not Getting Hired or Promoted? Here’s Why.

I’m going to get straight to the point.  For this exercise I play the role of the hiring manager and you the reader are either applying for a job or are stumping for a promotion.  Here’s why I’m not giving it to you.

I don’t like you – That’s why you’re not getting the job or the promotion.  I don’t really have to explain why I don’t like you other than to say my “gut” is telling me you are either not going to perform or you will leave my organization in a few months and I’ll have to spend $50K to replace you.  So if HR asks me I’m just going to say you don’t fit in culturally.  I’m not alone in this either.  A recent survey shows that 88% of hiring managers choose personality over skills.

I don’t know you – I’ve got kids to feed.  My success depends on your success and to me you are nothing more than a job board resume, which may or may not be factual, plus 30 minutes of ingratiating speech.  I’m probably going to hire someone referred to me.  Want to know why?  Look at these figures provided by Dr. John Sullivan:

  • Referrals are the number one source of new hires.  I read elsewhere that in some organizations they account for 70% of new hires.
  • Referrals are the number one source of quality hires.
  • The speed of hire is much faster for referrals than for job board sourced      candidates
  • Referrals have a 46% retention rate after one year compared to only 22% for job board sourced candidates

This is why I’m hiring Kathy from Accounting’s brother-in-law.  I know Kathy, I respect Kathy, and if she says her brother-in-law is the real deal than I’m probably going to hire him.  Hiring him will cost me less time and money.

You don’t know me – Yes. I understand you are full of pep and eagerness but in five months my management style is so going to annoy the hell out of you.  You’ll be griping to everyone about me.  Shortly thereafter morale will plummet, right before you head for the door.  I’m not a bad manager but your style conflicts with mine.  Since Kathy in accounting already knows me then I’m choosing her candidate. Her brother-in-law will be less inclined to quit in 5 months because she has insight into my management style, not to mention that he knows it will look bad on Kathy.

Your appearance concerns me – This is similar to “I don’t like you” but really “like” has nothing to do with it. Whether it’s your obesity, your tattoos, or your intense smoker’s smell I’m thinking your unflattering appearance or your bad health are going to cost me money.  For more on that visit my previous blogs.

You aren’t ready to lead – Recent studies show that “conscientiousness” is the key personality trait leading to success.  This is the trait in workers that drives them to show up to work on time and do their work efficiently and effectively.  This is a great trait we should all posses but the same studies also show that the qualities of conscientiousness are rewarded more over many qualities necessary for leadership.  The consistent pats on the back you receive for your “can do” conscientious attitude does not mean you are ready for a leadership position.  You apply to a position which you believe should be the next step in your career but you lack the assertive personality necessary for it and won’t feel comfortable in a leadership role.

Do you really want to lead or are you just as comfortable working away and receiving my routine praise?  While you may be a hard worker are you ready to fire people, take criticism, and make tough decisions?  Believe me, when I interview you I will know.

Let me sum it up for you.  You need to have the right skills for the job but those skills won’t get you the job, they only get you through the door.  After that it comes right down to do I like you and can you do the job? I’m going to decide in the first 5 minutes after you saunter through my door whether I like you and if I do then after that I’ll determine if you can do the job.  In the end even that may not be enough if Kathy from accounting has recommended someone else who I can hire quicker and will stay longer.

Take heart though my friend for while you may annoy the hell out of me, you may hit it off when interviewing with my peers.

If you want even more interviewing help please check out these following articles:

4 Things Candidates Need to Know before the Big Interview.

10 Body Language Interview Mistakes

Candidates don’t take a job because it matches your qualifications

4 Things Candidates Need to Know before the Big Interview!

As a job candidate, to have more success in landing a job you need to understand what it is the recruiter/hiring manager really wants to know.  Recent surveys of recruiters, search professionals and so on suggest that there are only four main questions to which hiring managers want answers:

  1. Can you do the job?
  2. Will you like the job?
  3. Will you like working with us?
  4. Will we like working with you?

All other questions asked during the interview are designed to reveal the answers to the four questions above.  Let’s break down each question and see how you can best tackle these obstacles.

Can you do the job? – Can you?  I mean can you really do the job?  If not, then don’t apply for the position.  There is no kind-hearted old woman on the other side of the application process just waiting to take a chance on inexperienced little ole you.  Organizations are employing applicant tracking systems at an increased rate to filter out the hundreds of unqualified candidates who apply for their positions.  If you can’t do the job then their computer program will kick you out.  Please don’t pepper your resume with keywords so that you make it through to the video interview if you aren’t actually qualified.  You are wasting your time and the organization’s.

If you can do the job and your resume is legitimate then let that shine in the interview.  Thoroughly research the position and company before the face-to-face so that you can speak about how your skills and accomplishments ideally suit the position.

Will you like the job? – You have to show enthusiasm in the interview and you must speak directly to why the job is a good fit for you.  If you are unable to do this through lack of excitement then the hiring manager will catch on.  As a recruiter we often finished our interviews with the candidate by asking: “What is your interest level and enthusiasm for this opportunity?”  We wanted to make sure the candidate wasn’t just trying to get a paycheck.  If we placed the candidate into a position in which they weren’t really enthusiastic, they might leave within three months and we would be required to replace them for free.  Asking this question enabled us to determine if the candidate was truly interested, or if they were a poser. If you are not interested in the position then don’t waste the hiring organization’s time or that of other job candidates who truly are passionate about the position.

Will you like working with us? – In our past recruiting efforts we often showed a video interview we conducted with the hiring manager to the candidates prior to the interview.  For one, this allowed the candidates to provide better answers during the interview by touching upon information the hiring manager communicated during their interview.  The second reason was to determine if the candidate felt they could work for the hiring manager after learning a little bit more about their management style.  Again, we didn’t want our candidates jumping ship soon after reporting for work.  Research, research, research!  Learn about the company to which you are applying, find out if they represent your values and then explain again why your personality and goals gel with their organization.

Will we like working with you? – Even if you handle all the other steps above brilliantly, you are still likely to fail this last question which of course a hiring manager will never ask you directly.  A recent survey of over 1,700 hiring managers revealed that 88% of them will choose a candidate for personality over skills.  Yep, odds are your PhD in Meteorite Laser Drilling will do you little good if the hiring manager’s gut feeling tells him/her that your personality just isn’t going to match up with them or the organization.

Fitting in is something you pretty much can’t fake nor do I suggest you try.  If you attempt to be something you’re not, chances are they might have liked the person you really are rather than the person you are trying to be.  Reasons why they might discriminate against you are numerous but don’t let it be for something within your control like an overpowering smokers smell.  Follow the steps above in addition to representing yourself professionally.  A few services allow you to practice interviewing online.  Additionally there are numerous articles on how best to carry yourself during the interview.

Here’s to success in finding a great job!