I am seeing a lot of articles and blogs written about the "interview game", interviewings being like playing poker or how to's about "Playing the Interview Game". 


A game normally connotes a "winner and a loser".  Any interview should be a business meeting between two professionals where both make every effort to provide concise, clear information to the other person involved in the meeting in order that both parties have as much information about the other as possible.  If that happens it is a "win-win" for both parties whether a hire results or not.  In the worst case a contact between two people has been made that if handled in an open ,honest manner by both parties results in a business connection for the future.  In the best case both parties find a common ground that may result in a new position for a productive employee of the company.


Trick questions, "magic bullet" questions like "How many gas stations are there in United States" and/or gamey unclear questions  do not offer the opportunity for a candidate to provide real  and relavant information to the interviewer.  They simply make the interviewer appear incompetant or put the candidate on the defensive.  A competant, well trained interviewer has the ability to put the candidate at ease, ask clear questions, explain requirements and company needs thereby enabling the candidate to know and communicate their skills, accomplishments and abilities or lack of same.  A game playing, incompetant, interviewer is easily recognized by most candidates and becomes a poor reflection of the company.  Playing games by either party is best left for recreation.  The objective is not a winner and a loser, it is an honest evaluation by both parties of the other based on honest information with no tricks or evasive manuvering.


A game playing candidate is easily recognized by a good recruiter or a competant interviewer.  A successful interview should be a business meeting between two people focused on an honest exchange of information to determine if there is a "win-win" not a game of poker, chess, or a contact sport where one party is focused on looking for "tells, weaknesses or secret agendas".


As in the business of living, the business of interviewing is not a game.


Views: 191

Comment by Sandra McCartt on February 6, 2011 at 11:58am

I more than agree Barb.  Us old warhorses who have seen all the interview fads come and go just roll our eyes at the latest crop of "arm chair psychologists" who think they have been exposed to the aha moment of human assessment (i'll puke with you).


I don't think about this much myself until i read a few blogs that make me think, "That's obnoxious".

Rather than get into some sort of snot slinging war with some self styled thought leader i decided it might just need to be mentioned what the purpose of an interview really is (in the world of people who don't have to prove how clever they are,) just listen and ask real questions that can have real answers.

Comment by Al Merrill on February 6, 2011 at 1:21pm

I tell every candidate they need to go out at least once a year and do an interview to keep their interview skills sharp, even though they may not have a need or desire to change positions. The idea is we all get "wrapped around the axle" in our jobs and responsibilities, and we don't walk out the front door to see what's happening around us. Change is the most constant thing in the world, and what's important is not that it happens, but how you let it affect you when it happens! Should a current job situation suddenly change for you, it would be important if you were current on types of interviews being done, what to expect, what compensation levels are being discussed, resume formats, general recruiting expectations, confidentiality, etc. I do this because I don't work with candidates who are active in the market, and most don't have an up-to-date resume. It's seems to be well-received and appreciated.

Comment by Sandra McCartt on February 7, 2011 at 6:37pm
Good advice Al.  I suggest to everyone that they have an updated resume even if they are not looking for a job.  You never know when someone wants to present you with some award or ask you to speak to their organization.  Sending a resume helps whoever is to introduce you to be able to do so effectively. 


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