Sunday, February 27, 2005

Interview tips - for interviewers

[I'm waiting for a download to complete so I can unplug my modem, and am housebound, hence the glut of posts at the moment.]

I previously wrote about a rather weird interview process I went through last year, and I got a thoughtful email from a Durban-based psychologist about the topic a few weeks ago. My reply bounced, and I just re-sent it.

The email got me thinking about the interview process, and I also found this guide to interviewing for software developer positions.

The article reminded me of a critical point:

It is important to remember that the people you are interviewing are potential clients [or competitors], and pissing them off is not a good idea.

Some examples:
  • Something in the HR playbook seems to require rejections to be handled by a secretary, rather than the interviewer. That happened to me, and I thought, "WTF...he [the HR manager] phoned me twice, interviewed me twice, emailed me three times, and then pretends that his secretary is rejecting me." (I wrote about this job application previously). I later realized that it was probably a tactic used by HR people.
  • Rejection is tough, and I suppose that using a secretary to issue a letter that a candidate was unsuccessful is supposed to make it seem less personal, or something, but I just found it insulting, manipulative and pointless.
  • Another chap wasted my time, and money traveling for a position that was no longer available (it was painfully obvious from the way the interview was conducted). His company -I had done some research- had made a few blunders, and was having trouble with its projects. I wasn't surprised after the interview. Interestingly, I recently met someone else who went for an interview there at around the same time, and he too was struck by the incompetence of the outfit (he decided against taking their job offer). We have actually discussed the fact that it seemed that there was blood in the water, and that there is a business opportunity in grabbing the company's huge blue-chip client....

Companies that mistreat candidates develop a bad reputation and, through word of mouth, potential applicants will be scared off, or worse.