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Winging it in the interview

Posted by Bob Corlett on March 26, 2012

Hiring managers, I understand. You’re busy. You have pressing deadlines. You work long days, don’t have time for lunch, and every day brings surprises you don’t have time for. Nobody gets your undivided attention. Everything is rushed, and far too often you just have to wing it.

Hiring people takes time. Time you don’t have. And what a cruel irony—you are forced to spend time on hiring only when you are understaffed and already doing the work of two or three people.

So when it’s time to interview, you wing it. The candidate arrives. You look around. Your office is a mess, so you try to snag a conference room. But first you have to find and print their resume. Finally, you start the interview (15 minutes late). But you haven’t given much thought to your interview questions, so you kick things off with a general question, just to give you time to gather your wits. “So…tell me about yourself” you say. And then the candidate starts to chatter nervously, having no idea what to talk about, and knowing they do not have your full attention. Congratulations, your lack of preparation has set the stage for an aimless and unproductive conversation. You can kiss that hour goodbye.

Hiring managers, if you want to hire better people, you need to put more effort into how you welcome each candidate. You need to conduct your job interviews so top performers actually want to accept your job offers. 


Topics: Interviewing Executives