The candidate’s side of recruitment
This week I had an email from a Grapevine reader after a particularly nasty experience at
an interview. I was appalled by his examples. It was as though the interviewer had arranged the interview purely for his own amusement. He behaved as though he should never have invited the candidate for an interview and was now blaming him for that mistake.
So I decided to take a break from talking about recruitment to give a few tips on how you deal with really bad interviewers, and how to answer the questions our friend sent me. I hope you find this useful. (If you are interviewing, please do not treat your candidates like this.)
Here are just a few sample questions from the interview suffered by our reader (modified to protect the guilty). Remember these were all asked in a very aggressive manor.
“You point out in your application that you have worked in a wide range of projects. Can’t settle, can you?”
“Have you worked in a manufacturing environment at all? Do you have any manufacturing experience?” (It was clear this was not the case from the CV.)
“Did you actually write your application? Are you sure? Would you like to change it?”
And of course, our old favourite:
“Why should I give you this job ahead of all the other candidates?”
You do not want to work for someone who bullies you in the interview
Let me make this clear. If a person behaves like this in the interview, before you have even started in the job, you would be well-advised to go elsewhere.
This behaviour (it was certainly bullying) is unlikely to be an isolated example. Apparently those who work for this person say he is nice. I wonder what they mean by ‘nice’.
What if you don’t have a choice?
What if you experience this not at another company but when you have to re-apply for your own job?
In this case it may be your organization has a bullying policy. It’s probably worth finding out what that is.
Also remember that bullying can have a detrimental effect on your self-esteem and you can end up thinking, completely wrongly, that you couldn’t get a job anywhere else. I have come across people in that situation.
Dealing with bullying behaviour
Remember, bullying is childish behaviour. The trouble is that it can catch you off balance. When this happens you can find your own behaviour being dragged down to the same level. That’s when you get problems.
Your goal is to keep your level of skill and behaviour up, and help the other person, the one doing the bullying, to start behaving in a rather more mature manner.
That means that you need to stand up to the behaviour, firmly and kindly. Not always easy, I appreciate.
In this case I suspect the manager had been watching far too much of “The Apprentice” and had modelled himself on that style, in the mistaken belief that it is an effective use of everyone’s time.
If you are interviewing, please be aware that this kind of questioning does not get you any useful information and is quite offensive.
Some answers to the questions
Interviewer: “You point out in your application that you have worked in a wide range of projects. Can’t settle, can you?”
Response: “I see you have noticed that I have worked on a wide range of four different projects and your concern is that I would not settle on yours. Is that correct?”
If the interviewer answers that it is correct, just explain what happened:
“I was asked to move to each of the projects because of my expertise in _____. Even though I was reluctant to move, I understood the business case and agreed.”
Interviewer: “Have you worked in a manufacturing environment at all? Do you have any manufacturing experience?” (It was clear this was not the case from the CV.)
Response: “So you are looking for manufacturing experience. In the advertisement it was clear that this was not a requirement for this role and that you were looking for other experience. Have the criteria changed? What do you need from this role?”
Interviewer: “Did you actually write your application? Are you sure? Would you like to change it?”
Response: “You want to know if I wrote my application and if I’d like to change it? Yes, I did. What suggestions do you have for changing it?”
Wait for the answers.
Response: “That’s very useful, thank you” (Even if it’s rubbish.)
And of course, our old favourite:
Interviewer: “Why should I give you this job ahead of all the other candidates?”
Response: “In the advertisement/job description/person specification, you identified that you were looking for someone who
(give relevant details)
and experience of (give details) which I believe meet the criteria here in this job description/person specification/advertisement.”
Structure your answer
When people are bullying, they want attention. One of the things that often helps with bullying is to let them know you are listening (giving them attention). You do this by summarising their question as you begin your answer.
Then smile and calmly respond, possibly checking the facts. Try to think of them as someone who has simply misunderstood, rather than someone who is being deliberately difficult. This will make things much easier.
5 Recruitment Mistakes You Must Avoid – Why you don’t need the ‘best person for the job’
Why you don’t need the ‘best person for the job’
When recruiting, most people insist they are out to get the ‘best’ person for the job. And of course that is an admirable aim, but a useless objective. This means you can easily end up recruiting the wrong person.
The problem is the word ‘best’
What do you mean by ‘best’? Do you mean the highest level of qualifications? Do you mean they have the ‘best’ experience? And what does ‘best experience’ mean anyway?
In fact if you are looking for the best person you will never know if you have found him or her, because there could always be another applicant round the corner who is ‘better’ in some way.
Write a proper objective
If you’ve read any of my posts here before, you’ll know how I feel about objectives and it’s just the same in this situation.
You need to have a clear definition of what you are looking for. This means that, once you find it, you can make the decision easily, you don’t have to worry about someone ‘better’ coming along.
Get the person specification right
To do this you need to get your person specification right. Then you can screen out candidates who do not match your criteria quickly and easily at an early stage with complete confidence. You will also find it much easier to spot the ones who do match the criteria.
And it makes the arduous job of searching through the applications much easier to delegate. (Though if you use our process, you’ll find that can be much quicker too.)
Recruiting a business manager
Just this week I have been helping a client in the US recruit a business manager. We worked out a very clear person specification and designed three tasks for candidates to complete. These were designed to identify if they had the prioritisation, planning and written communication skills we were looking for amongst other things.
Identifying the candidates who matched those parts of the person specification was quick and easy because we had clear criteria. That meant we didn’t waste any of our time or theirs.
It also means that, when I come to interview the few candidates who have got through that part of the process (one of them in the next half hour), I can focus on identifying if they meet the other personality criteria.
And, if she meets our criteria, we don’t have to hang on for more candidates. As soon as we think we have one who meets the spec; we can progress that individual to the final stage immediately.
Our recruitment service
Our recruitment service includes helping you all the way through the process, from defining what you need, to writing your and screening the candidates. If the candidate doesn’t work out we help you to deal with that situation and hire a candidate who does work out at no extra cost. We charge a flat rate of £3000 + VAT – less than agencies charge you just to get you a CV. To find out more contact us.
Next week I’ll be going through Recruitment mistake 5: Thinking it’s all over once you have hired the candidate
If you can’t wait that long, get our booklet “How to Hire Well” now.
To find out more about our recruitment service, contact us and we’ll arrange a call to go through your requirements.