Sunday, December 8, 2013

Now (not) to conduct a job interview

There is a plethora of information on what the interviewee should do in a job interview, but I don't see much written about how to conduct a job interview.  Here are some things I have learned by sitting on both sides of the interview table over the last five years.

Let's start with the things not to do:

- Take a phone call in the interview room (yes, this happened).
- Fall asleep.  Yes, this happened too.  It was a panel interview and one member of the panel nodded off.
- Give Bad responses to interviewee questions.  Example: What do you like about working here?  Bad answer = Fridays
- Work on something else during the interview
- Fiddle with your phone
- Have the pile with all the resumes in front of you.  Dumb.  One time the interviewer had the wrong resume in front of him when we started the interview.  Wow!  He was asking me questions off of someone else's resume.  Be prepared before the interview starts.
- Slouch, lay back in your chair, and sit with your arms folded.  Your body language speaks volumes.
- Have a a poor or missing profile on LinkedIn.  This is a big red flag.
- Take too many notes.  Jotting down a note or two is fine, but why would you need a written transcript of the interview?  It is distracting and not necessary.
- Ask questions that are clearly written on the resume or on LinkedIn.  For example, "What school did you go to?"  It is obvious to the interviewee that you don't care enough to prepare for the interview when you ask stupid questions.  This is a HUGE red flag.  If your potential new boss asks you these types of questions during the interview, I would look elsewhere.  If he/she didn't care enough to spend 5 minutes preparing for the interview, then he/she certainly won't care about you when you are working for him/her.

Here are some things you should consider doing.

- Talk less and listen more.
- Remember that anyone worth hiring is interviewing you at the same time you are interviewing them.
- Smile once and a while
- If the interviewee asks you what you are currently working on, then speak with some passion.  If the interviewee responds with the appropriate level of passionate interest, then you might have someone worth looking at.
- Structured questions are fairly standard.  The interview has got to be "fair" to everyone.  However, you don't have to read the question like you are a robot.  Try to be a bit engaging.
- Remember that the interviewee has googled your name, your company name, reviewed your company on and checked out any contacts they have that are associated with your company.  If they didn't know your name beforehand, they certainly will check out your LinkedIn profile after the interview.  Remember you are being interviewed at the same time.
- Spend a few minutes after the interview walking the potential hire around the office.  Once the formality of the interview is over, the person will relax a bit and you will learn a lot more about them.  

Remember you are trying to hire a person that will be a great fit for your team.  Your goal is to find the right person, not eliminate all the wrong people.  You are checking each other for those soft skills that make great teams function at a high level.

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