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Interview Hell or Heaven? Part 1

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 1 – Sales Manager Role

The interviewer started the interview saying that he was slammed with meetings and was tired. He was very bland and seemed like he’d rather be anywhere else than in this interview.

He seemed to think it would be a good idea to point out that he was ‘just there to look for red flags’ in candidates. He proceeded to walk through the candidate’s positions one by one, asking questions that were only ‘looking for what’s wrong’ in the candidate (red flags). When the candidate asked questions, the interviewee shut them down citing that he was in control of the interview and that he would ask the questions. The very qualified candidate ended the interview within 10 minutes. That candidate left the interview with a permanent bad taste in their mouth for that company.

In this case, the interviewer would be a colleague/co-worker…not a supervisor. His behavior clearly indicated to the interviewee he would not be a good person to work with.

A Better Alternative

What could have been done better here?

  • Be humble

  • Ask authentic questions

  • Don’t wrestle the interviewee for ‘control’ of the interview

  • Let the interviewee ask questions

That may sound too simple. But…it would have worked. When I spoke to the interviewee, she told me it was a company that she would have excelled in driving sales and building positive relationships.

It doesn't take much, but you need to be kind, engaging, and leave a good impression - whether you hire them or not.


Bring out the Best in Your Team


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