From January, 2014

Efficient Interviewing: How Video Interviewing Can Help Hiring Managers Avoid Bad Candidate Interviews.

A recent survey by Careerbuilder of more than 2,200 hiring managers and HR professionals revealed that 49% of them know within the first five minutes of a face-to-face interview if a candidate is a good or bad fit for their organization.  Now of course I don’t believe they truly know if the candidate is indeed a good fit in only five minutes so let’s say rather that they have at least made a decision in five minutes to hire or not to hire.  Beyond this, 87% claim to know in the first fifteen minutes if a candidate is right for the job.

Careerbuilder continues on to list in their survey report a few absurd things (below) job communicatorcandidates have done in interviews, though no indication is given if these actually occurred in the first five minutes or not.

  • Applicant acted out a Star Trek role
  • Applicant answered a phone call for an interview with a competitor
  • Applicant arrived in a jogging suit because he was going running after the interview
  • Applicant asked for a hug

Using the Star Trek scenario above let’s say that within the first five minutes of walking through your office door your candidate reenacts for you Spock’s death scene from Star Trek II The Wrath of Kahn.  What do you do?  All joking aside, yes, if the interview fell apart this drastically then sure, you might choose to have the insane Trekkie escorted from your office by security within five minutes.  In a normal interview, however, when you discover within the first five minutes that the candidate just won’t fit in do you then say, “Okay, thank you very much for your time, we’ll be in touch”?  Of course you don’t!  Interviewing etiquette dictates that you must continue interviewing long past the five minute point or otherwise you risk tarnishing not only your image but that of your company.  Don’t forget that your rejected job candidates are still potential consumers of your brand.

You could do a phone interview but who wants to deal with the scheduling hassles? Not to mention you’re still obligated to remain on the phone with your job candidate for more than five minutes.  Besides you can’t tell from a phone interview if your candidate is wearing pointy Vulcan ears and talking on a cell phone that resembles a Star Fleet communicator.

How then do you avoid wasting time interviewing bad candidates?  Pre-screen them with video of course.  Within fifteen minutes you can pre-screen five candidates.  Better yet you encounter no scheduling hassles.  Spock, Uhura and Sulu can interview themselves on their own time from the comfort of their quarters before the star date that their interview is set to expire.  You on the other hand can continue running the bridge.

With interviewing technology straight out of the future, you can now seek out new candidates and new cultural fits.  You can now boldly hire like no man or woman has hired before!

Interviewing: Are You So Uptight You Are Losing Good Candidates?

I recently read an article on Business Insider called “The Most Ridiculous Things People Did In Job Interviews This Past Year.”  I always enjoy hearing about whether job candidates brought their parents to an woman-214786_640interview or whether an oblivious job candidate pulled out his lunch and began eating during questioning.  Reading about the clueless occasionally delights me as obviously it does most of you or else credible publications like Business Insider would not continue to publish articles about them.

But while I was basking in my self-satisfaction I grew annoyed by a few of the so called “ridiculous” responses provided to Business Insider by reputable recruiting firm Robert Half.  Now one could easily raise an eyebrow at a few dumb questions that candidates asked such as, “Is the boss single?” or “Do you allow midday naps?”  My issue is with this question which Robert Half deemed ridiculous enough to make the list.  “What color is the paint in this office?”  Forgive my possible ignorance but is that really such an outlandish question?  Maybe the interviewer and the candidate had established a good rapport and the candidate, who perhaps was painting their living room, felt comfortable enough to inquire about the color.  Is asking about the color of paint truly so “ridiculous”?

When asked about weaknesses one candidate replied, “Many times I’m misunderstood,” while another mentioned, “I don’t like cliques.”  As hiring managers do we not want at least a smidgeon of honesty when asking candidates about their weaknesses or do we really want canned responses such as, “I try too hard.”  If the responses above are really that ridiculous than what does our reaction to them say about how uptight we are as interviewers and hiring managers?

In my dealings with hiring managers I have often seen good candidates eliminated from consideration because of a typo on their resume which everyone and I mean EVERYONE has mistakenly done at least twenty times in their life.  Yet why do we derive such joy in throwing that resume into the discard pile?  How many good candidates are lost because hiring managers want to buy a ticket for a power trip and reject candidates for the slightest misstep?

I don’t know under what context the paint question above was asked.  Yes, perhaps it was asked at an inappropriate time and made the candidate appear as though they weren’t actively engaged in the process.  I fail to see how asking it can be seen as ridiculous enough to be worth mentioning in an article on Business Insider.  So what if a candidate doesn’t like cliques?  Good for them I say!

One candidate mentioned that when their buttons are pushed they occasionally let a curse slip out.  Would you hire a candidate who admitted that?  Evidently some people think this is a ridiculous response and wouldn’t touch a candidate honest enough to admit they are human.  I have heard someone curse in every job I have worked.  I bet you have too and though the behavior is not exactly acceptable do we have the right to look down our hypocritical nose at someone for admitting the truth?  Do we think that someone who actually admits in an interview that they might curse is too stupid to hire, or do we just forget our own flaws while sitting on our hiring manager throne?

If we’re going to be this uptight let us at least not waste the candidate’s time or ours by meeting with them face to face.  Far more efficient methods exist to exercise our questionable “judgment”.

Ready to Hire? What Interview Questions Should You Be Asking?

You have been interviewing for years so of course you are an expert interviewer right?  Don’t be so confident.  If you’re still asking questions like, “What are your strengths and weaknesses,” you may not be getting to know your candidates as well as you think.  Because recent studies suggest that 46% of new hires fail within the first eighteen months on the job, hiring managers are placing more emphasis on properly screening job candidates during the interview process by asking more probing questions for which candidates are not generally prepared.

All the contributors from CEOs to journalists to HR Directors seem to have a different take on what constitutes the best interview questions so to make your life easier I have accumulated links to many of them here for your review.

“One interview question you should ask every candidate.”

This is not the only interview question you should ask mind you just one of dozens but zombie hordeevidently it is an important one.

“CEO says this ridiculous interview question tells you everything.” So just skip the formalities and jump right into asking your candidates, “What would you do in a zombie apocalypse?” Yep, that’s the question.  I’m betting your candidates won’t have a canned response to this one.

“This revealing question identifies a natural born leader.” If you want to know who might take your job one day you’d better ask this question.  All kidding aside not everyone is a leader and if this single question can truly identify who amongst your candidates are, then you may want to try it out.

“The One True Job Interview Question.” Forged in the fires of MountDoom this is the one job interview question to rule them all!  Well maybe not but this is a question that really should be asked in all job interviews that most probably don’t consider asking.

“The Most Important Interview Question Never Asked.”  I’m almost certain this one gets asked once in a while but give it a shot nonetheless.

“The Best Job Interview Question Ever!”  This evidently is not just an important or necessary question; this is the best one EVER!  As in since the dawn of the hiring process no question has topped this one.  I don’t think the zombies are going to like hearing this.

“The One Interview Question You Should Ask.” I think you’re seeing a trend developing here.  While we are trying to make the interview process more revealing, many professionals are suggesting they can solve the challenges of hiring with only one question.

“The Rock Star Test: 6 Interview Questions to Ask.”  I’m not really sure rock stars will fit in culturally at my company but at least this list has more than one question.

“The Trickiest Questions Apple will Ask in a Job Interview.”  You’d better read this before your next interview with Apple!  Ha, Ha, Ha, yeah like you’re one of the .5% smart enough to get a job interview with Apple!  Yet if you are a hiring manager you might want to consider asking these questions yourself.

“9 CEOs Share Their Favorite Interview Question.”  “How weird are you?” is one of the questions.  Be careful asking this question or you might get more than you bargained for. Seriously, I once video interviewed a candidate who showed up with no shirt on and, while I couldn’t be sure, probably no pants as well.

So if you’re looking for a more revealing interview process you’ve got a few questions here designed to unveil everything you want to know about your job candidates.  Along the way maybe you’ll even pick up a few tips on how to survive a horde of zombies.