As candidates, we’ve always been groomed and advised. Sit straight, don’t look sad, be pleasant, don’t cross your legs. It’s been an endless set of rules and suggestions. But that does not make the hiring manager and the interviewers’ panel the ‘can-do-no-wrong’ brigade. There have been recent reports of unhappy interviewees getting media attention and companies being at the receiving end of backlash for being all kinds of inappropriate. One such hiring manager even ended up sending whatsapp messages about the candidate, to the candidate, obviously by mistake. Now customers say they won’t go to the restaurant because of their handling on people.
So, here it is. If you are taking an interview:
Do not be late: Hiring managers obviously have their hands full. However, being late for an interview is just as bad when done by the hiring manager, as when done by the candidates. As Mahatma Gandhi said- ‘Be the change you want to see’. If the interviewers are late, it sends a message that the organization itself is not professional. Also, respect for each other’s time is necessary. I once had to sit waiting for 5 hours for hiring managers from a certain cruise company to arrive. Needless to say, I did not take the job despite the great interaction and the great pay and benefits.
Do not be rude: We expect great people skills from the human resource team of a company. At interviews, the hiring managers are the representatives of the company. They need to come out as friendly people who aim at aiding candidates in making smooth transitions to the new atmosphere. While a manager may want to establish superiority, being rude will only give you negative publicity and scare good candidates away. Humility goes a long way in building trust.
Do not be over-zealous or over-friendly: While it may make the candidates feel good about working with the company with the friendly HR manager, it will raise expectations. While being friendly is important in the HR department, you may not always be able to hold onto that. When the day comes for you to put your foot down and steady your hand, they will take it as negative behaviour, leading to lowered employee satisfaction. Find the balance and strike it.
Do not lie: The one most important trait of society is that people learn and evolve. Today, candidates see through the lies and unrealistic promises sooner than you think. If they are hired, tell them clearly everything they need to know. If they are not, tell them clearly. For instance, for a certain IT firm that tells candidates they made it and later back out, the candidates are so tired of waiting for the appointment letters that they no longer go to their interviews without lining up a couple of others. This may lose you some very good prospective employees and also create a bad image for your company.
Do not be uninformed: When you interview for some organizations, the interviewees are so clueless that it make you sad, and not just for losing an opportunity. Some companies do not seem to feel the need for a qualified hiring manager and send in people from other departments to interviews. This ends up being a bad idea as they are unable to present a good picture of the Human Resource practices of the organization. If, in case, you have to fill in for someone, take important tips from the HR team and imbibe them in your behaviour.
Do not act lost: Focus is important. A confused manager presents a very bad picture and it shows in their appearance, the way they talk, the things they talk about and their workstation and a smart candidate will always notice all of that. Working under such a manager will never be a good experience and this thought will push the best candidates away.
Next time you have an interview to take, don’t just carry your papers and files along. Carry humility, knowledge and compassion, all packed alongside your professionalism. A good hiring manager or HR can make a huge difference in the organization. Human emotion is not reliant on jobs and descriptions. They are based on people and it’s your job to be one of the good ones and hire someone who can hold your organization’s image up.
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