The Negative Interview Process

Kevin Harry

Even as the economy crumbles and companies lay off their workers, it is more critical than ever to sharpen the interview process at your company. Job candidates today are more cautious and less likely to leave the companies they are with. The ones actively looking are talking with a number of companies and have screening experiences to compare.

I recently went in for an interview with a staffing organization about a month ago. They had come across my information and asked me if I was interested in meeting with them. I had heard some industry rumblings from former colleagues that this organization was a body shop, which is a company that is constantly outsourcing. The company always seemed to be looking for recruiters, which should have been red flag number one.

You generally have to consider the source, but since none of my colleagues actually had any experience working there, I figured all the negative press could have been hearsay and rumor. I proceeded with caution and scheduled an interview.

The Interview Process

Here is a breakdown of my interview experience.
  • Directions—They never sent directions to the interview location, just an address. Although with GPS, Mapquest and Google maps, it’s not hard to find directions, but the company should have provided me with it.
  • Address—What the directions didn't tell me, and what the company could have easily told me, was that their address and where they were actually located were different. In addition, the entrance to the building was a little funky. I was almost late to the interview figuring out how to get inside!
  • Reception—The lobby felt like Grand Central Station. I told the receptionist who I was there to meet. She handed me a clipboard and barked at me to fill out a mountain of paperwork. In the meantime, I heard a recruiter discussing a job candidate’s salary. All of this certainly did not put me at ease before the interview.
  • Tardiness—Job candidates are always told to be on time—or even early—to an interview. But the same should go for the interviewer! My interviewer was late and then spent 10 minutes finding a conference room to place me in.
  • Location—The interviewer finally put me in a tiny room that was nothing short of a police interrogation chamber and asked me if I wanted water. I agreed, and then was left sitting alone—for 15 minutes!
  • Manner—The interviewer finally returned, but without water. And then he proceeded to grill me. I felt like I was just patted down. However, no information was given about the company or what he was looking for. He acted like he had somewhere else to be.
  • Parking—This was the only place I interviewed that did not offer to validate parking. No heads up was given prior to the interview about having to pay for parking.
  • Follow up—There was no follow-up call or e-mail after the interview. I was a just a number.

I left the interview, took my paperwork from the receptionist and trashed it. I did not want them to have my information.

Obviously, this was not a positive interview experience.

During an interview, you should try to make the candidate feel at ease. If job candidates are comfortable in the interview process they are more likely to reveal things about themselves than they would in a tense situation. Whether you hire someone or not, he or she will leave with a solid impression of your company. This makes asking for referrals a whole lot easier.

When you bring job candidates in to interview, you are an ambassador of your company. As a recruiter you are the first line of quality assurance for your organization. And as an interviewer you have an opportunity to brand your company—it’s practically free advertising to a captive audience! Why not make this a great moment for the job candidates so they will leave feeling uplifted? They in turn will be more inclined to spread the word to their colleagues. Good press is hard to come by, but it comes easier if you strive to do the right thing every time.

First Published on e-BIM.