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  • Sofian B.

How not to interview a candidate

I went through a few job interviews recently and for whatever reason, started to analyze the way I was getting interviewed by the person in front of me or on the phone. Let's be honest, the last one was...shocking! At a time when companies are struggling to attract & retain talent, it might be a good opportunity to review how companies present themselves. So I've just decided to share my 2 cents on how not to interview a candidate.


Let's start with the basic questions:

- Why are you hiring?

Because you need someone to accomplish a task that will get your organization closer to its overall purpose and ultimately bring more $$$ in.

- What are you hiring?

You want to hire someone who will be a good fit for the company and who will reflect all your values.


So far, makes sense, right? I mean, I've never been to an interview and heard: "Let me hire you so we can lose money and don't worry about the values, they're useless".

Great, so in an ideal world, we are looking for the perfect candidate that will stay in the company for as long as possible. From the candidates perspective, he/she is usually looking for a long term position where he/she will be able to use and expand his/her skills. It's a mutual agreement in which both parties benefit, pretty much like ... a relationship.


I don't know for you but when I build a relationship or go on a date, I want it to be mutually beneficial: I want to make sure that she will like me and I hope that she will appeal to me enough so I like her. Because after all, there are plenty of fish out there! Yes, there are other candidates as well as other companies. So just like a date, let's make sure that both parties play their role of attraction.


Whatever values your organization preaches, make sure that you act according to them during the interview process. For example if you preach 'Respect', then be respectful to your candidate: show up on time, offer them a beverage, treat them with respect... If you preach Excellence, then ensure a smooth process, efficiency, be well presented... If you preach Human Relationships, then be willing to connect with your candidates... In other words show that you care about them and that your values are not just a vague concept, designed to take space in the induction book.


Being clear about the position, the tasks involved and the expectations of the role is a crucial part of the process. A lack of clarity on a role can be confusing not only for the candidate but also for the rest of your organization. Define clear lines around which team are they managing and to who do they report to and set the boundaries. Be as explicit as possible as it could lead to misunderstanding about the role. This will also help your organization to get their head around the new person coming in and their purpose.


Believe in your candidate and give them a fair chance to express their talent from the start. Yes they will need to learn about the company culture, which doesn't happen overnight, but they will also adapt to the organization through their experience. Putting the breaks on fresh talent can lead to frustration and could shake their self confidence. For example, I was requested to give a 15 min presentation on a given subject as part of one of my interview processes - by doing so I was able to showcase how I tackle, research and present a subject, and give a good overview of my potential to the organization.


All this might not seem new to some of you but being aware of the impact of these actions can have a huge outcome. Once you're aware, you can conduct these little actions intentionally with a purpose in mind and as a result, appear your best and be appealing to the candidate.


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