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What has been your experience interviewing job candidates?

 
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:52 pm
"confronted" by 6 people for a "grueling" one hour interview?

One entire hour?

What, pray tell, should have been the process? hmmmm?

I'm all ears.
ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 05:52 pm
I was an owner of a two person firm, and we were never hiring - but with me as the only landscape architect in practice in that county (far as I could tell), the county a lovely place, we would get resumes in the mail all the time. The variation in them was hilarious, sad, intermixed with some from some super sharp people. I think I tried to respond to all (not sure, I might have tossed some forthwith), and was conversationally helpful on phone calls, depending on time constraints. I remember that my main gripe was from over confident types, as in "I can help your firm with my wonderfulness", from recent graduates.

I remember searching for a job in the recession of (when? 1982?), going through the very thick Los Angeles area phone book(s). I must have made 50 or more cold calls. A whole bunch of people, land architects, took time to talk with me, answering the phone themselves. One guy said, yes, he could use help, and he happened to have a studio not far away. That was the call that started nine years working together, a spinoff of my own firm, and years of friendship.
0 Replies
 
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 09:00 pm
@chai2,
When a person has worked for one entity for 25 years, longer than anyone who interviewed her when she sought a slight promotion, to be interviewed by six people is ridiculous.

She did not expect to be given the job outright and she recognized that a candidate with superior abilities could be among the applicants. But to spend an hour with a person who had been in a very similar post for a quarter of a century?

She was close to quitting over the interview.

I had developed a circle of women friends who were serious job hunters. Some were the women I knew in grad school and some were from the community. i have lost track of all them, but, at its peak, I was keeping in touch with 48 women job seekers. At the end of the 90s, this panel method of interviewing seems to have developed that, in the long run, serves no purpose. It is time wasting and tension creating.

The jobs just weren't that earth moving!

About a year ago, the girlfriend of a co-worker who had just finished her MS in biochemistry came into the store in tears. She had just come from a job interview. I did not ask them what the story was but no one should be reduced to tears because of an interview.
oolongteasup
 
  1  
Reply Tue 11 May, 2010 10:59 pm
@Linkat,
So what do you want done?
TTH
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 01:33 am
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:
"confronted" by 6 people for a "grueling" one hour interview?
One entire hour?
What, pray tell, should have been the process? hmmmm?
I'm all ears.
I had an interview such as this one. It was a challenge and I loved it! The first thing each person did when I entered the room was to tell me their first and last name and the position they held and where they worked. Then I was asked how good I thought my memory was from a scale of 1-10. I answered them and the next question was what are our names, our positions and where do we work? Very Happy

That was just the start......
Linkat
 
  2  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 07:41 am
@chai2,
I agree a one hour interview is nothing. Although I understand a panel could be a bit stressful - but if it is for high profile/high level job then I would imagine the candidate should be able to handle that.

On the interviewee's side, I am sure there are horror stories as well. I once went on an interview where they "forgot" I was coming. Last minute they pulled together a couple of managers to interview me - I (as the interviewee) was not impressed and turned down the offer.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 07:43 am
@oolongteasup,
Candidates that prepare themself for an interview. How the heck are you supposed to get to know if they are a good fit or can do the job, or really interested in working in the position, if they can not articulate it.
0 Replies
 
George
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 07:44 am
@Linkat,
I once watched in amused disbelief as the hiring manager pulled out a
calculator to decide whether what I was asking was reasonable.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 07:56 am
@TTH,
I would have failed - I have a horrible memory, but I would have most likely wrote down all the names and positions. I always bring paper and pen with me for my own notes. And a list of questions I want to know about.

As an interviewee, I was take the position that I am interviewing the company/position/manager - I want to ensure this is a job and place I would want to work.

To date, no one has been offended when I pulled out my note pad with my list of questions when the interviewers ask if I have any questions. I do ask if they mind if I refer to my list so I do not leave anything out.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 07:58 am
@George,
What were you asking that he needed a calculator (and more confusing - why the h*ll would interviewer have a calculator at an interview)?
TTH
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 08:42 am
@Linkat,
Linkat wrote:
I would have failed - I have a horrible memory, but I would have most likely wrote down all the names and positions. I always bring paper and pen with me for my own notes. And a list of questions I want to know about.
Paper, pens/pencils and calculators were not allowed.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 08:58 am
@TTH,
Well I would have failed on all accounts then.

Seems odd to me that they weren't allowed - aren't you allowed to use those items in your day to day work?
0 Replies
 
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 09:06 am
@TTH,
Really?

As a long time job seeker, I have read several books and articles on job interviewing and on resume writing. They tend to contradict each other. They really do! However, I have read advice that supports bringing a pen and paper.

But, the contradictory advice! Do X! Do Y! NEver, on the pain of death, do X! Forget Y!

My current resume for snail mailing is the one that received an immediate positive response from those in attendance at a resume writing workshop, the third I had taken since 1990. They were as contradictory as the books are, although the last one was much more concrete than the other two were.

I honestly think that there is no right formula for an interview or for a resume. A resume has to reflect the job seeker and an agency can not write a resume that reflects you as a person. It is good to seek advice and copy reading help but . . . the job seeker should be the final arbitrator. I rewrite my resume all the time and have taken each piece of advice I am given. One modification lasted through three submissions because it garnered immediate negative feedback. I was advised by the son of the friend, who is the HR director for some company, to put my education first and it bombed.

I had an interview for a job I really wanted. It was at Harvard University Press. I was so nervous that I completely lost my voice. I tried to talk through it but to no avail.

0 Replies
 
George
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 09:12 am
@Linkat,
Linkat wrote:

What were you asking that he needed a calculator (and more confusing -
why the h*ll would interviewer have a calculator at an interview)?

He asked what my salary requirements were.

I told him.

He pulled the calculator out of his desk drawer and started punching
buttons (this was back in '80). He mumbled things like hmmm and let's see.
He finally decided Stone & Webster could afford me -- I wasn't that
expensive -- but I had visions of the calculator coming out at every salary
review and passed on the job.
jespah
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 09:37 am
@George,
Ha, RP used to work at Stoney.

I went on an interview once (the recruiter was with me, but only to see me to the door -- or so we thought) -- the interviewer was late. Turns out this person was not yet in the building and thought they were working from home or off or something.

The recruiter and I waited. Finally, the interviewer came in and invited both of us in. I have never, ever been on a job interviewer where I had, for lack of a better term, a spotter.

The interview was okay and the recruiter took advantage of the confusion on the interviewer's part and called immediately to schedule a second interview (not even asking whether I had been granted one). I went and was hired. Worked there a little over a year.

Wacky.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 09:57 am
@plainoldme,
plainoldme wrote:

About a year ago, the girlfriend of a co-worker who had just finished her MS in biochemistry came into the store in tears. She had just come from a job interview. I did not ask them what the story was but no one should be reduced to tears because of an interview.

A scientist and I were doing a technical interview, asking a series of basic engineering questions to a candidate. The interview was going great, the candidate was generally doing well, until my last question. I asked a very basic question and the candidate completely blanked - not uncommon on techincal interviews. Not a problem, I gave her the answer and since we were running out of time, I asked if she had any questions for me. I could tell she was clearly flustered from missing the last question and she didn't ask me any questions, so I discussed some questions I commonly get asked. I shook the candidate's hand and the scientist interviewing with me escorted the candidate to the next interview while I recorded my generally favorable marks. The candidate arrived at the next office and burst into tears. The next interviewer essentially spent the entire half hour calming her down and I had HR in my office wanting to know why I abused an interview candidate. Luckily, the scientist came in and she backed me up when I said we had a good interview.
Linkat
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 10:48 am
@George,
Ya think you heard them all ...
0 Replies
 
chai2
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 11:27 am
@engineer,
engineer wrote:

plainoldme wrote:

About a year ago, the girlfriend of a co-worker who had just finished her MS in biochemistry came into the store in tears. She had just come from a job interview. I did not ask them what the story was but no one should be reduced to tears because of an interview.

A scientist and I were doing a technical interview, asking a series of basic engineering questions to a candidate. The interview was going great, the candidate was generally doing well, until my last question. I asked a very basic question and the candidate completely blanked - not uncommon on techincal interviews. Not a problem, I gave her the answer and since we were running out of time, I asked if she had any questions for me. I could tell she was clearly flustered from missing the last question and she didn't ask me any questions, so I discussed some questions I commonly get asked. I shook the candidate's hand and the scientist interviewing with me escorted the candidate to the next interview while I recorded my generally favorable marks. The candidate arrived at the next office and burst into tears. The next interviewer essentially spent the entire half hour calming her down and I had HR in my office wanting to know why I abused an interview candidate. Luckily, the scientist came in and she backed me up when I said we had a good interview.


Had the candidate said you abused her?
engineer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 11:45 am
@chai2,
chai2 wrote:

Had the candidate said you abused her?

No, quite the opposite from what I heard. She said she was embarrased by her emotional outburst and said we were fine in the interview, but HR still assumed I must have said something to precipitate such a reaction. The scientist and I still talk about that story when I see her.

Another story. A co-worker and I go into this techincal interview, the woman comes in, we stand to introduce ourselves and the candidate looks like a mouse caught between two cats, nervous, hesitant, etc. I'm thinking this is not going to go well. I ask my first question ... and she blows me away. She is ripping right through my technical questions like a hot knife through butter. She's making sharp leaps of logic, anticipating my follow-up questions, etc and we have a great interview. I look at her schedule and realize she has all the wrong people on it for someone with outstanding techincal competence, so I go to HR and get them to reassign some of the interviewers. I find out at the wrap-up that she was shot down by the department head who interviewed her at dinner (the night before my interview) because she was "timid". Worst interview experience I'd ever had not because the candidate was bad, but because the hiring managers were.
plainoldme
 
  1  
Reply Wed 12 May, 2010 12:21 pm
@engineer,
Hiring managers. That's what I mean. I interviewed at a prestigious science journal. The interviewer was the office manager whose first question was had I heard of the magazine. I was surprised and said yes, indeed, I had! That is was a prestigious magazine and that as an informed science hobbyist, I knew it well. She then confessed that she hadn't heard of it when she came in for her interview.

I wondered why they hired her in the first place and why they entrusted her to conduct interviews.

I also think my example of the superintendent debacle in Amherst illustrates what happens when those doing the hiring are incompetent.
0 Replies
 
 

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