My goddaughter went for an interview a few weeks ago for an open position in her company that would move her from a local store to the corporate office and put her on a real career path. When I asked her mother how it went, she said, “I don’t know exactly, but she is really upset.” She went on to tell me that she was supposed to interview with the regional manager, but instead it was a panel of six interviewers. They were very aggressive with their questioning, asking and re-asking questions as if trying to trip her up in her answers. They made assumptions based on her answers that she had to continually correct, and they were overall antagonistic. At the end, the regional manager walked her out, shook her hand and said she did great! She drove home in tears.
The next day, they offered her the job and told her how impressed they were with her and how they looked forward to her joining the corporate team. She accepted, uneasily. Prior to the interview, she wanted the job badly. She knew it was a great fit for her strengths, a good next move for her growth path, and in fact had passed on a promotion offered to her that would take her in a different direction as she waited for this position to open. But where there used to be excitement, confidence and an upbeat energy, there is now uncertainty, reluctance and mistrust. In fact, if she didn’t know the company and its reputation for providing a great workplace, she probably would have passed and rethought her career.
I asked her how she felt about her new job the day before she started, and she said “Well, I wanted it so bad, but now I’m worried I’m going to work for a bunch of a**holes.” I tried to encourage her by sharing, “Some people just suck at interviewing. It doesn’t mean they aren’t good people. Most are never trained on how to actually interview well.” Now, two weeks after she started, she says it’s going well and they say they are happy with her performance, but she still feels like she is looking over her shoulder waiting for the other shoe to drop.
And…it reminds me of so many conversations we have with business owners where they proudly share the “trick” questions they ask in interviews. They gleefully tell us their techniques for “tripping up” interviewees. But why?
Why set the tone with a new employee (because you will eventually hire one of those people you are interviewing) as one of distrust and trickery? Do you want your new employee starting the job with trepidation? Worried that you are trying to trick them or questioning what you are really all about?
Instead, why not spend your interview learning more about the person. Determine what they are all about, where they want to go in the future, what they bring to the table. I know, I know but you need to know if they are full of it, or not being completely truthful, and how they would handle certain situations. But if you get someone talking, you will find that out. You don’t have to approach it like a battle.
In fact, there really is no “magic” interview question. There are good ones, but the magic is in being yourself and getting the interviewees comfortable and talking so they are being themselves. Then you can discern if it’s a fit or not. And any discrepancies about their experience, their story, etc. will show themselves.
Start your relationship with authenticity, energy and excitement about what you can do together. Don’t start off with question marks, or worse, by having a great candidate pass you by. Great employees want to work where they feel connected, think they can make a difference, for bosses they respect and visions they buy into. Tricks and games won’t attract you the employee you want.
If you know you stink at interviewing, check out our webinar, “How to Hire, Empower and Keep Great Employees.”
Champions of your continued success,
Laney and Molly