Conducting interviews

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In my many years of experience in Human Resources, I had conducted countless interviews in different fields and industries. I have also been on the other side of the table, being the interviewee.

It is exciting and nerve-racking to prepare for an interview, especially panel interviews where you have to prepare and present yourself in front of three or more people.

Days before your interview, you make sure to prepare your resume, bring enough copies to the interview with you (just in case), pick the right outfit to wear, look professional, rehearse, be on time, at least 15 minutes before it starts, and so forth.

“but why do I feel this way? Did I sound confident enough?”

A friend of mine (we’ll call him John) told me about a not so pleasant interview experience he had not long ago. He was invited for a had a face-to-face interview for a company he applied for. After he left the interview, he said he felt more defeated than confident. John had so many questions going inside his head, “but why do I feel this way? Did I sound confident enough? I thought my skills align perfectly with the job description and the company’s needs?”

So, if the phone interview went great, and he made it to the second stage of the interview process, then what happened? Why is John feeling so down?

After John and I had a conversation about it, and he reflected on what had happened that day, he realized it was not him! John was professional, presented himself very well, and answered the questions truthfully, with examples of his past and present experiences.

“Uh, okay, interesting; I was expecting a different answer.”

Here is what happened: John arrived on time, 10/15 minutes before his interview started, a few minutes before his interview, the recruiter opened the door and let him in, introduced himself and gave John a visitor’s batch; then, he was asked to wait for a couple of minutes. A couple of minutes later, the recruiter returned, directed John to the boardroom, they waited for about 10 minutes in the boardroom for the 2nd interviewer to arrive (okay, that’s okay, it happens). He quickly entered the room, introduced himself, and they proceeded to ask questions about John’s work experience.

Each time John answered a question, they replied with a judgmental comment. At one point, one of the interviewers made a funny face and said: “uh, okay, interesting; I was expecting a different answer.” John noticed that only one interviewer was taking notes, and no one had prepared questions to ask (it was like pulling a question out of a hat type of situation). They asked questions like, “how confident are you to do this job?”

John arrived prepared with a list of printed questions he wanted to ask the interviewers about the position, the culture, the company’s current processes, etc. when they gave him the opportunity to ask questions, one of the interviewers kept looking at his watch. As per John, the interview lasted about 1 hour, and John was given 10 minutes to ask questions.

So, what happened? Well, John did his part; he was professional and arrived prepared. John has lots of experience in his field with an excellent educational background.

As an interviewer, you need to remember to respect the time and effort the candidate has put on to get to the face-to-face interview stage. Always be respectful and professional while conducting interviews, and don’t be judgmental towards the candidate. If you feel that the candidate does not have the right attitude and skills, that’s okay! That is why we conduct interviews to find the right employee. As a common courtesy, if the candidate is not selected, always follow up with an email to let the candidate know, don’t let them wait for an answer.

As per my friend John, he just received a great job offer from a different company that makes him feel welcome, comfortable and respected. Congrats John! YOU GOT THIS!