I worked in recruiting for a long time and now coach people pertaining to job search, hiring more effectively, managing and leading, as well as resolving workplace-related issues.
When I worked in search, it was fairly common for an owner I consulted to or work for to ask me to drop everything and interview someone without any notice, warning, or concern for my schedule.
MAYBE I might see a resume two minutes before the conversation. I had no time to formulate thoughts without keeping someone waiting for a long period of time.
I know this was not unique to me. Many of the people who are referred to clients for positions experienced the same thing.
As a coach, I recognize the same scenario happening to people who are being interviewed for jobs.
I was curious whether it was noticeable to people being interviewed so I created a poll on LinkedIn:
Most of the time, does it seem like the interviewer is well-prepared? How does their lack of preparedness come across?
In addition to the poll, I asked a number of people I coach at a variety of levels for their opinion.
I was not surprised to find that the more Junior someone was the more likely that it was for them to have a bad experience.
For those interviewing in the C suite and the Board level who I spoke with, whether being interviewed by the executive search firm retained to locate someone for the client, the head of HR who might do the initial screening, as well as for the senior leadership of the organization involved with the evaluation and assessment of talent, these people were well prepared, having created a framework for the interview to be able to build a valid assessment.
For staff, management, staff leadership positions (directors, VPs, etc.), it is more common for them to experience unprepared interviewers.
I was not surprised.
Almost two-thirds of respondents (63%) believe that their interviewer was ill-prepared.
As someone commented, “I’ve done about 35 interviews since January. I’ve only had one company whose interviewer (who would be my supervisor) seemed to have even read my resume, let alone a cover letter before the interview. I’ll admit there’s a handful of companies I research an hour before just because of a busy schedule, but never going in blind.”
“I lost count of the times someone said, “let me look at your resume real quick”.
It may be that they have actually prepared for the interview but have reviewed so many resumes that it’s hard to keep them all straight. I know I experience that when I still did search.
However, asking for a minute to look at the resume while the person is sitting there is certainly an indication of an amateurish interviewer.
We all know that everyone is too busy with too many things and too many commitments. However, in addition to evaluating and assessing talent, your job is to always leave a favorable impression with every person you interview.
After all, in this age where everyone is their own public relations firm and has the ability to communicate easily, being disrespectful to people in this way (or keeping them waiting because you have to finish something, or taking a call while you are meeting with them, or stalling for time by having someone else meet them whose opinion you won’t listen to and is just a time-waster/stall for you) is a poor reflection upon you with an organization.
Clean up your act!
It is too easy for critical stories to be shared about you online.
For those of you who would say, “That’s unprofessional,” look in the mirror before pointing the finger at someone else.
I know this may seem harsh but if you are treated in this way, you would not be happy either.
When I worked in search, I remember an HR person who was taking over for someone I had successfully done a lot of work with, kept me waiting for two hours without explanation.
Eventually, he met with me for 15 minutes, asking me questions that were very basic. Eventually, he circled back to me nine months later and we resumed the relationship between our firms.
No explanation for being kept waiting.
No apology for being kept waiting.
At least a few years later I was able to recoup a few million dollars in fees for that time. Job hunters won’t.
They will rightly complain online about you and your bad behavior and who knows who will read it, remember it and not interview with you or meet you for an interview.
Ⓒ The Big Game Hunter, Inc., Asheville, NC 2021
ABOUT JEFF ALTMAN, THE BIG GAME HUNTER
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No
BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2100 episodes. He also hosts Job Search TV on YouTube, Amazon and Roku, as well as on BingeNetworks.tv for Apple TV and 90+ smart sets.
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