The Interviewing Process

This week, mostly everyone is heading back to work for the new year, but also this is the time people are trying to find jobs in a month that is likely to fill positions.  However, 2009 brings an unusual time where the economy is down, jobs are lost in a rapid rate, and a new administration is trying to bring hope.

This past week, I’ve been reading posts from Laurie, Frank Roche, and Clarence Ewing from GLI Press about interviewing and all three hit it on the head that almost all job interviews are a beauty pageant.  You take all the preparation, find the best business suit (which I will post about it at a later time), go to the internet to find the best answer and practice and that’s all before the interview just to impress the hiring manager and the company.   Tell me there’s something wrong with this process?

If I were the interviewer of a company, I would act like James Lipton bringing a stack of blue cards and ask these set of questions:

1.  The Job

The first question to start the interview is, “What position did you apply for?”  An easy question, but I’ve been amazed at people don’t know what positions they applied for when I called them up for a phone screen.  Job seekers, please have something in writing of what positions you applied and be prepared at all times, even if you’re driving.

The second part is if you know the duties and responsibilities for the position and the last question should be “Can you handle the job?”  Pretty straightforward.  Just remember the key parts of the job and you can not only believe, but you will do the job.  Any hesitance of those answers means good night to the job. 

2.  The Company

There is a reason you applied for the position.  Mostly everyone will say the job.  That’s wonderful, but that’s bull.  From the resume and numerous profiles from you from social media, we know you’re good, but why did you apply to this organization?  You know the answer from anyone else and you better have a long answer.  Just saying the generic stuff like “my friend” or “I heard great things” won’t cut it.  You really need an answer why you selected this company that you want to work for.

3. General Question

This question should be simple, open-ended, and an answer that has a million possibilities.  This question should tell what type of person you are getting.  It’s the business version of “What is Life?”  I call this the Dan Pink question since he introduced me to it at the Virginia SHRM Conference in 2007. 

4. “Personal” Question

This is not to ask questions about their family or any questions from the EOE survey.  This question is if there is chemistry between you and the applicant.  The question is about each others’ own personal interests.  It can be from sports, music, games, anything.  There are no right answers, but there must be something both sides either respects or adores.  To me, the cohesion is much underrated in the interviewing process and should be accounted for. 

With all your questioning done, then the applicant asks questions about your company and the position they applied for.  Then, give a quick tour to get an image if they can work under this environment.

The interviewing process can be tedious because of how most companies’ setup.  However, this can be done before the interview by what positions you are qualified and what companies or industries do you want to work for.  Of course, the wild card will be the people and the culture of the company and understand there are some you fit right and some you have to fit a square into a circle. 

Good Luck in 2009.

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