Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Job Interviewer Without Eyes Wide Shut!

Revised LinkedIn Post - April 28, 2015

A Job Interviewer Should Never Begin With  Eyes Wide Shut!


If you have ever participated in a job selection process have you ever encountered where a job candidate entrance is one of obvious distress, appearing as a “deer frozen by headlights" or shaking with anxiety?
If this is a fairly routine scene, read on. If  you are confident in your current interviewing skills, I suggest you save your tired eyes and STOP!.

Many of the job search articles I have read share those critical “tips” with the job applicant resulting in making the best first impression even when facing an interview resembling “The Spanish Inquisition.”
The guidelines target not the job applicant but the HR Specialist or as a member of a interviewing panel given  responsibility to choose the most qualified candidate for employment or promotion. In the interest of maximizing time management l put forward in a bullet format what I find as best practice for the Interviewer. 

Please review the key points and the rationale that follow. The implementation of a new culture may emerge within the most staid Human Resources department employees who truly are obsolete.

The HR Specialist may believe they conduct that are professional and follow the best practice as directed by your organization for a decade or more.  Many currently are aware of the advantages of injecting simple common courtesy. Your current job interviewers may believe "their individual style" is more than adequate and productive. However, I believe by adopting as many of the following steps, you and your organization will perform a positive change in the atmosphere. It is yours to enact. You will clear the room of any "tension, that you can cut with a knife." This is only appropriate as a sportscaster pregame pitch. 

You will create environment exemplifying one of a manageable comfort. If you stay on course you will discover another surprise. The process facilitates keeping to time allotments for each candidate and finishing your day on time. With little doubt, you will promote and engage most candidates to give their best interview performance! Perhaps, the most persnickety interviewer will experience satisfaction in their own performance.

After all, would you rather select the fast talking wise guy where maneuvering around critical questions is their forte? Or, are you willing to spend a few minutes, put everyone at ease and draw relevant, candid and answers? Is the candidate's skill and dedication become clearly evident you want to shout out "You're Hired!" By the end of the day the selection process is so much easier the consensus will be evident. This is someone you want to work for you!

Nonetheless, review and employ as much as they make sense to you! Should Human Resources "micromanage" your every move and caution you to ignore innovation in your Art, respond in a blink of an eye with what they want to hear and do the opposite! Be creative and be alert. Do not begin an interview process with Eyes Wide Shut!


  • ·         The Greeting – This is the first step you need afford every interviewee. Meet the candidate at the door with a warm welcome, extending a handshake, maintaining eye contact and smile!

  • ·         Introduction & Overview – As you and the panel take your seat, it is understood to introduce yourself and members of the panel. Place name placards in front of you so the candidate easily can respond directly. Provide a brief but concise overview of the position opening and information pertaining to the hiring process to promote clarity.

  • ·         The Breather!  – The single most important step I employed is to make the candidate as comfortable as possible. Politely ask the candidate to sit in an erect posture, place both feet squarely on the floor. Encourage them to relax, inhale and exhale in breathing. This simple thirty-second exercise will facilitate comfort and put both you and them at ease. They will thank you for it and you may receive a great deal of positive feedback from even seasoned HR staff.

  • ·         Commitment – Inform the Candidate that the rationale behind the above exercise is your attempt to put them at ease in order to obtain their best performance in the responses to the questions to follow. Emphasize that your desire is for their experience to be positive and successful.

  • The   Instant Replay, Punt, Pass or Skip – Inform the candidate that it is okay to request a question to be “replayed” for clarity. Allow the option if  stumped by a question to skip and return later once they have organized thoughts or just wish to ad lib opposed to no answer. You may suggest they just Punt! Inform, this is only one question and may not reduce their chances.  Please note: It has not yet occurred but what if the candidate begins to punt on successive questions? Answer: Inform them that their interview time is limited and you need a response or abstain.

  • ·         Ask Relevant Questions – As the interviewer your goal is to illicit answers drawing out the skills and personality you seek in hiring a good employee. If the interview is for a promotion and you do not possess an adequate grasp of the position, go to those in the know. Do not hesitate to seek out first-line managers or exemplary employees in the same job and make some inquiries as to what they believe are the attitude and skills to achieve success.

  • ·         Ask Open Questions – I learned this the hard way. Do Not Precede a question with a long, wordy preface that will result in only a “yes or no” reply. My blunder went something like this. “Our department is often called upon to perform difficult tasks…where other entities…staffs consider it to be their job. Without notice, we may be called upon to work beyond normal work hours…weekends, etc. When assigned to a project like this, will it pose any problem for you…such as childcare? Invariably the response was “no!”

  • ·         Incorporate CARS – This is the popular format to allow the candidate latitude to describe a prior Challenge they personally encountered on a job or in life. They continue by describing the Action they employed toward Resolution and the degree of Success achieved. I am not particularly fond of CARS. The candidates will either provide a freestyle narrative espousing their virtue, or hang themselves.

  • ·         Objective vs Subjective Scoring – When as a panel you meet to review the interview questions allow discussion if any question require some modification or possibly eliminated.  Human Resources will in most cases never know as they performed a prior assessment and only want to hear your final selection result. In adhering to fairness each candidate will answer the same questions.  The process of selection belongs to the group. Modifying or eliminating a question should not impair the panel to reach a consensus of each question’s importance. Follow up by ranking answers and giving weight so to tally a final score with a larger degree of impartiality.

The Interviewer is the face, voice and judge. If interview panels follow these steps the end result will initiate a selection process that will quell the harshest critics that includes the job candidate (school entrant). The process incorporates the best in affirmative action.