The following is not based on my imagination. These things really happened. As part of our services, we try to give some helpful interview hints to both the candidates and clients. Apparently, we are not doing a great job.
- Did you ask any questions? This is an interview, not a presentation. Many times the candidate will tell us that she was never asked a question. What? Are you too engaged telling the candidate about how great your company is? C’mon, ask something!
- Did you think he was Tom Hanks? Today’s salespeople are so brilliant in the interview process, and they can adapt like the Ebola virus (no cure, btw). They are giving Oscar-worthy performances (years of practice) and you are sitting there visualizing your sales doubling. Don’t feel bad. We have also been fooled. I would have bet my mortgage payment on one candidate, he was so fantastic in the interview (he flamed out in 45 days). Two of our best clients do more than talk. They make the candidate do the actual job for 3-4 hours as part of the interview process. Smart.
- Did you look closely at the resume? The resume is quite revealing if you know how to read one. Forget about typos. Spell-check makes everyone an “A” student. We are talking about substance, font sizes, fluff, personal stuff (Did they climb Mt. Everest? Appear on Jeopardy?) and the evil “jumping” and “time gaps.” I remember asking one candidate, “There’s a two-year gap here. What prison were you in?” (Insert sardonic humor). The candidate answered, “Actually, I was in federal prison for two years.” Oops.
- Did you check their LinkedIn profile? LinkedIn is the best thing that has ever happened to interviewing. Does the LinkedIn profile match the resume? Is their picture suitable for business or Match.com? (We encourage our candidates to put a good professional picture on their resume; it saves the client the trouble of going to LinkedIn to see what they look like and how old they might be).
- Did you text or take a phone call during the interview without apology? Enough said about that.
- Did you do your homework? We are amazed how unprepared our candidates are sometimes. Do we have to tell you to research the company where you plan to spend the next five to 10 years? (Five to 10 months for millennials.)
- Did you say something totally inappropriate? We know this sounds odd, but nerves can betray you in an interview. We had one woman blurt out that she was moving out of her apartment with her daughter in a couple of days. The owner of the company responded, “What has that got to do with anything?” Nothing.
- Did you employ inappropriate chatter? (Again with the nerves.) Maybe it’s just me, but do I want to hear, “Hi, Jeff, how was your weekend? How is your day going so far?” What are we, friends? My day has been lousy so far, and you are about to pay for it.
- Did you smell of smoke? We recently sent a woman to a medical facility and she was reeking of smoke. Shockingly, the client passed on her. When I asked her why on earth she was smoking before an interview at a medical facility, she replied, “Oh, that was my boyfriend, he smokes all the time.” Great.
- Did you try to close? Hey buddy, you’re supposed to be a salesperson. When the interviewer (not HR, we put our candidates in front of decision-makers) asks, “Well, do you have any questions of me?” assuming you want the job, that’s your cue, dummy, to start the parade of closes. “Yeah, I have a question. I have my lamp in the car. Should I bring it in?” or Oracle’s favorite, “Where’s my ______(insert ultimate profane word) cube?”
Hope this helps!