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Interview Hell or Heaven?

I have participated in many interviews in my career - both as an interviewer and an interviewee. I’ve had some fantastic experiences and terrible experiences. Over the next few newsletters, I’ll share some of those with tips on how to conduct good interviews.

Interview Hell

Unfortunately, it’s very easy to come up cases where the interviewing company did a poor job. I call this ‘Interview Hell’. I could literally write a year full of newsletters about these bad experiences. These examples are all ‘real life’ interviews that have taken place in the past 5 years:

Example 2 – VP within Ag Industry

After 2 Zoom interviews, the organization flew the candidate in to do a ‘formal’ interview with the interview committee and several others. There was an official agenda that the candidate had studied, knew all the names of the interviewers and their backgrounds. Very little matched on the agenda compared to who was at the interview. For 5 different sections of the interview, there was always someone different than who was listed on the schedule.

At one point, someone actually said out loud in front of the candidate ‘What? I’m supposed to be a part of the interview?!?!?!’

At times, they left the candidate standing in the middle of nowhere and said they’d be back to get them when they were ready. For a period of about 45 minutes, there was a bat flying around during a key part of the interview. That’s right – About 10 different employees chased the bat around trying to catch it while the candidate tried to field questions from multiple people around their lunch table.

Later, in the most formal part of the interview 2 of the 4 Interview committee members looked like they’d rather be somewhere else….almost anywhere else. There were yawns and glazed over looks on their faces. One of them actually said out loud that she didn’t desire to lead others even though she was a leader in her division of the organization. Then, another person was added for a one on one interview. He was a recent addition to the company that no one seemed to know anything about. This person asked crazy, irrelevant questions and talked almost exclusively about himself and how great he was. Then, he mentioned that they were thinking of eliminating the position instead of hiring for it. The candidate left with a bad taste in her mouth and will likely never offer any positive feedback to others who might want to work there.

This is literally one of the craziest interviews I’ve ever heard of. The candidate would have been excellent for the position to help grow the organization in a way that it’s never been grown before.

A Better Alternative

A few ideas on how to prevent a disaster like the one above:

Be Organized

  • Have a few good questions prepared

  • Make a comfortable space for the person

Focus on the candidate

  • Even if you are a key person in the company, focus on the candidate, not yourself

  • Be authentic in your attempts to get to know the person

Sound simple? Maybe. But….you’ll leave a better impression whether you hire the candidate or not.


Bring out the Best in Your Team

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