August 27, 2015

The fly on the interview wall

By Jim Annis


The interview can be a game-changer in both the company's and the individual's lives. A fly on the wall would be a great judge as to the skill of the interviewer and interviewee...

Scene: Typical interview room. "A" candidate Rachael is very interested in working here. The busy HR manager, Bob, has had six interviews today and this, the most qualified candidate, is the last. The fly has been buzzing around for a few weeks.

Fly: Bob's been primping for two minutes! Tie, check! Mouthwash, check! Nose, check!

Bob: (Leans on the desk, head on his hand). Hi Rachael. Thanks for doing the phone pre-interview. Summarize your sales achievements over the past few months.

Rachael: (Sitting at an angle)My team surpassed our quarterly goals by 300 percent in the accounting tech software market. I read in the Wall Street Journal that you are prepping for the launch of your new upgraded product. When does that hit the market?

Fly: There's no I in team! She's nailed the three Ps – planned, prepared and practiced. She is not rushed and confident. When a human sits directly across from someone he/she recalls less of what was said. It also causes a perception of negativity and opposition. By sitting at a slight angle she changes this automatic bias. And she's done her homework. Questions are relevant. Smart!

Bob: (Sighs) We've been working overtime to get it out. Go live is March 1, but we'll be lucky if it sticks.

Rachael: Tell me about the corporate culture. What are your expectations of the work week and hours? How do you incorporate green initiatives and volunteerism into your daily operations?

Bob: What do you mean?

Fly: He's fumbling. Hope he can get a grip.

Rachael: What's your company's commitment to quality of life? Preserving natural resources? Do you encourage volunteer activities through corporate social responsibility?

Bob: Well, all that is on our website. Right here. (Points to the screen on his iPad). Is that really important to you? You are a salesperson. And a good one!

Fly: I better dive bomb Bob and get him out of his funk. He is going to lose her to the competition. Bzzzzz ... incoming! Whack!

Bob: (Swats the fly and gets focused). Rachael, you're the kind of person we're looking for with this position. We'd like to begin negotiations today and get you on board.

Fly: Awesome, she's got the job!

Rachael: Bob, I appreciate your time but I am not sure if it is the right fit. Best of luck.

Bob:(Shakes her hand, sheepishly). Thanks.

Fly: Too bad. She was a keeper. (Buzzes off, humming, "Nah nah, nah nah nah nah, hey hey hey, good bye.")

Jim Annis is president/CEO of The Applied Companies, which provide HR solutions for today’s workplace. Celeste Johnson, Applied's division director, contributed to this article.

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