This very question has become a debated topic amongst recruiters, HR professionals and managers – basically anyone involved in the interviewing process. As we well know, traditionally the old standard was you apply for a job and become an applicant, if lucky enough to get chosen from the applicant pile you became a viable candidate, one worth interviewing at least.
The interview stage, this is where candidates stress and prepare themselves for the opportunity to present their best and prove to the interviewer that they are the best hire from all other candidates being interviewed.
Here is my question: What about the other interview that should happen simultaneously?
No, I am not talking about the “couple” of questions interviewee’s regularly ask: timeline for hiring decision, what’s the company culture like etc. I mean, real questions that uncover the true answers as to how a company functions, thus enabling a candidate to make their very own informed decision too.
I remember back when I was called for an interview on a position I had applied for almost 3 months prior to the call (wow slow process!) …I think the HR person on the other end of phone didn’t know what to make of me – how so? Well, I had a few questions for her right off the bat around their job posting and asked her if I could get some clarification on it. Why the heck would I do that you ask? Because the answers to those questions would determine whether or not I was going to accept the offer of a face 2 face interview.
This too seemed to surprise the person on the phone as they responded with a mumbled “sure” I could ask a few questions. Her answers were ok and I was still interested in seeing what their interview process would be like, so I said “Ok, thank you – yes I would like to move ahead with our face to face interview and uncover if we have a fit.” Hmmm….there was dead silence on the other end. I said, “Hello, are you still there?” To which I received the response, “Um, who do you mean by ‘we’ – who else are you bringing to this interview?” The tone in her voice was clearly unimpressed and very flatly asking – “who the heck are you?”
Now I had to stifle a laugh at this moment and replied, “No one, the ‘we’ I am speaking of is you and I. We are both determining if I am a fit for your role and organization, as well as if the role and organization is a fit for me.” This too was followed with silence from the other end of the receiver and then a, “oh, I see. Fine, we will see you on…..” and she confirmed the date and time.
That night I played our conversation over and over again in my head. It was clear that my forwardness about both of us (myself and the organization) were in a screening stage didn’t sit too well with her. Which made me review her responses to my questions about the role and the organization and led me to believe this was not the “forwarding thinking” environment they promoted themselves as – not to mention the role would report to her.
Next morning I called her and kindly declined the interview.
If things really are progressing into a workforce shortage market, I strongly recommend we as interviewers prepare to be interviewed in return. And not with basic introductory questions – but with the same situational assessment based questioning we use.
Have you had a similar experience as a candidate or an interviewer? What did you do and what was the result?