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Why the job interviewing process sucks...

I thought it was time for a rant thread about why the job interviewing process sucks. Feel free to add any that I missed...and keep in mind this is just for fun.

If you overdress, you fail. If you dress too casual, you fail

If you are too confident, you fail. If you aren't assertive enough, you fail.

Experts say "prepare, prepare, prepare". Then if your answers sound prepared, you fail.

They ask questions about weaknesses, but if you give honest answers you fail.

They ask people to interview for positions that are already filled.

They ask why you quit or intend to quit a job. If you're honest, you fail.

If you're too young, you fail. If you're too old, you fail.

We live in a society dependent on money...if you ask about money, you fail.

If the resume is too short, you fail. If it's too long, you fail.

They ask an unemployed person "Where do you see yourself in five years?", and expect a concise answer.

They ask situational questions, which we all know are just an exercise in fictional storytelling.

Search committees...they're the business version of juries. A bunch of random people who you can only hope are objective enough to see both sides.

If you show up late, you fail. If you come in early, you fail.
 
I’ve done probably more than my share of job interviews over the last 3 years. It is a brutal, dehumanizing, often inane, process that begins with feeling naked and ends with feeling mauled. At least it always does for me.

I should add that the whole process is arranged to set people up for failure. It doesn’t just feel that way!! Last man standing and all that.

I’m sure you’re doing great, Keystone! Certainly much better that it feels. And look at it this way...you only need to hit once to achieve a great new job!!!
 
I’m sure you’re doing great, Keystone! Certainly much better that it feels. And look at it this way...you only need to hit once to achieve a great new job!!!

Thanks for the kind words Andy! I'm doing OK, just trying to do better for the sake of my family.
 
They ask why you quit or intend to quit a job. If you're honest, you fail.

This has been a stickler for me. I won't lie to people, but I'm careful how much detail I give them.

Lying is hard work. Once you lie - you've gotta make sure that every time this situation comes up later - you've gotta remember ALL of your lies so they match up. Who said what, why I said so and so, what I did. Forever after you gotta make sure your facts line up. Eventually you slip up, and it all comes crashing down. Better to just tell the truth - then you don't have to lie awake at night and sweat it out, because - if you continue to tell the truth - your facts will always automatically line up. Alot less work that way. Did you screw up? Admit it, and take your lumps. It'll almost certainly be less painful than lying about it and it coming out later.

If you really need the job, most people will say what they think the interviewer wants to hear. My last interview I told the guy the truth - flat out, straight forward, up front, honest truth. And he hired me. Only I found out down the road that he had been less than truthful with me. Even called him on one of them. I quit at the end of the probationary period.
During my next interview I'll probably just ignore listing this job - you know, let a sleeping dog lie. But if it comes up I'll tell the next guy the truth. Honesty is the best policy. If some potential boss doesn't want your honesty then I don't wanna work for him.
 
All true.

Flip side: Post a position and get 65 applications. 43 of those do not have the right credentials or experience. That leaves 22. Develop a ranking system and interview five. Of those, two are horrid at interviewing. That leaves three. Those three get invited back for a second interview.
 
Indeed ... all true statements.

I've been fortunate ... my current job I've been at for 2+ years now ... and I truly love my job. In fact, my boss asked me yesterday, how I felt about my job. And I could honestly answer that I love it ... I have the tools I need, I have support, I have a great team ... and when you have that, it's easy to want to work hard to keep the job.

But I went through a tough go before this one ... working temp/contract jobs, and that sucked. I remember all of the interviews ... it's a horrible process.
 
....Search committees...they're the business version of juries. A bunch of random people who you can only hope are objective enough to see both sides.

Everything about job interviews is a delicate "dance" that's combination of skill, personality, soft skills and yes, quite a bit of luck no doubt.

It's not always fair, oh, who am I kidding, it's rarely ever fair, but it's definitively hit and miss type of process.
All any of us can do is prepare to the best of our abilities, present ourselves in what we feel is best possible light and hope that stars align on that given day.

It's like dating when you're very young (before all the apps). More you "want" to date, more difficult is to land one. :D :D :D
 
In the last phase, trying to decide between two or three, always found it useful to take an applicant out for a simple lunch with one or two colleagues, away from the office. People are more real and revealing off site.
 
On the other side of the desk...

Applicants not even familiar the job you need, let alone qualified.
Applicants just there for the check mark to keep their "entitlements" flowing.
Applicants who don't even try to impress.
Applicants who outright fib to you, and you both know it.
I had one who answered their cell phone during an interview.

However,
The applicant who looks you in the eye
The applicant who converses with you
The applicant who tries to impress, but not BS you
The applicant who acts like they WANT the job

These are the folks we hire, as long as they have a smattering of knowledge about the job, we can train the rest.

An interview has some tough questions, we want to see how you react and can you think on your feet. But, mostly we just want to get a feel for who you are and will you be a good fit into our company's culture.

I was hired in a multi-interview process for a national company. All the interviewers were concerned with my task knowledge, not who I was. I was not a fit for their culture and after 4 miserable months I quit.
 
One thing to always keep in mind: If you got the job, it's probably because nobody brighter than you applied. Good HR people can tell when you have the smarts, but you interview like crap. They can also tell when you tell them untrue facts that you think they want to hear.
Source: Was HR Manager for a School Board for 10 years, then an HR Prof for 23.

Best tip I can give you for an interview:
Assume someone brighter, better educated, better looking, richer, more articulate etc. than you has applied, and will get the job. This is your opportunity to practice your interview skills without the fear of screwing up since you're not going to get the job anyway. Relax and be yourself. Have a few questions prepared beforehand. It's not a test. You can bring notes or materials with you. Don't lie or embellish the truth. Chances are real good it will come back and bite you. Hard. Try to give concrete examples of your education/experience that directly pertain to the questions. This will get you high scores. In scenario questions, after you have explained how you would solve the problem, don't stop there. How will you implement the solution? Who? When? Follow-up? How will you ensure this won't happen again? Costs?

Interviews are horribly stressful. It's nerve-wracking to think a bad day could affect your future. It probably won't, but you'll think it will, and that will affect your performance in the interview. It's important to remember that you could have a stellar interview and still not get the job. No matter how good you are, there's always somebody better.
Unless you're Bob Munden...Bob Munden - Wikipedia
 
And another thing.... Do your homework. The applicant who researches the organization in advance has such an advantage over the person who does not.

If you want to work for Acme, spend an hour learning everything you can about the firm.
 
They ask people to interview for positions that are already filled.
This has been my most frustrating situation, and it has happened to me more times than I can count.

In one of my early sales jobs, we were taught to "Ask for the Order." So when the interviewer says "Do you have any questions for me?" I will say something like "Assuming that I meet all the qualifications for this position, when would you want me to start?"

And they reply "Ooooh, I'm so sorry. But we don't have any jobs open right now. But we'll keep your resume on file and call you if something opens up, possibly in another year or so."

And I want to reach across the desk and SLAP that person!

"WHAT? How dare you call me in to interview for a position that doesn't exist? I spent 3 days researching your company. I made 2 dry runs to make sure I knew how to get here on time. I spent $100 on a haircut and a new shirt and tie, stayed up all night reviewing my resume, and now you tell me that no matter how educated I am, no matter what experience I have, no matter how well I did in the interview, that there was NO CHANCE of being hired because you don't really have any jobs to offer?

Well, let me tell you something, Mr. Interviewer. *I* came here in good faith today. Apparently you didn't. You can take that application and stick it where the sun don't shine, because even if you offer me a job a year from now, I would turn it down because your company does not do business in an honest, straight-forward manner."

Of course, I never did that. But I wanted to. I just thank them, shake their hand, and shuffle out the door to prepare for the next interview, where the same thing is likely to happen again.
 
Another question I always had problems with ...

"I have 200 other people interested in this job. Can you tell me why I should hire you over them?"

Well, ummmmm ... how am I supposed to proceed here? I know nothing about the other candidates. I don't know what their education or experience is like. How can I compare myself against 200 unknowns?
 
Government or union contract regs may require an employer post a position...even when everyone knows it is going to a preselected internal candidate. It happens!
 
Another question I always had problems with ...

"I have 200 other people interested in this job. Can you tell me why I should hire you over them?"

Well, ummmmm ... how am I supposed to proceed here? I know nothing about the other candidates. I don't know what their education or experience is like. How can I compare myself against 200 unknowns?

Answer: I am the fellow who is going to make my boss look really good!
 
Another thing that infuriates me is when the interviewer doesn't keep the appointment. I've waited in the lobby for hours until the close of business only to be told "Oh, Mr. Brown is on vacation today." Even though I spoke to Mr. Brown yesterday and he invited me to come in today at noon, which I did, and now he's not here?"

Sometimes, if the person I am supposed to see isn't available, they will send in someone else to take their place. So one time when I was seeking a job in the IT Department, I was interviewed by the foreman of the loading dock.

Another time, I did get to meet the person I went there to see, but he was too busy to take me upstairs to his office to interview me in private. So he conducted the interview right there in the lobby, with no privacy and too many distractions. Every time an employee walked by, he'd call out to them "Joe! I need that Transmogrification Analysis Report on my desk by C.O.B. today!" or "Mike! Those boxes in the hallway outside my office. Need them removed NOW!" ... At the end of the interview, he called me by the wrong name, and gave me the knee-jerk response about "We'll keep your application on file, and call you when something opens up ... yada yada blah blah."
 
Sometimes an employer will have an internal candidate in mind, but wants to "test the waters". It may be due to company policy in School Boards, Municipalities, and other govt or public sector organizations.
 

Doc4

Stumpy in cold weather
They ask why you quit or intend to quit a job. If you're honest, you fail.

This has been a stickler for me. I won't lie to people, but I'm careful how much detail I give them.

There is a fine line ... and at the same time a huge difference ... between lying and putting the truth in the best light. Instead of "my boss is a jerk", try something like "your company has one of the best management teams in the industry ... makes it so enjoyable to work for you". Don't moan about your old workplace, compliment the interviewer's workplace on how they are different and better.

The applicant who tries to impress, but not BS you
The applicant who acts like they WANT the job

These are the folks we hire, as long as they have a smattering of knowledge about the job, we can train the rest.

Mark these words, fellows.

You can teach someone just about any job requirement ... apart from how to be a dedicated, co-operative employee.
 
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