The job interview is the face of your employment brand to prospective employees. It can either breathe life into your brand or extinguish any sparks that attract an applicant to your company in the first place.
A woman gets a call for an interview with a company where she applied for a job. She asks the recruiter who calls her what the title is of the person who will be interviewing her. The recruiter doesn’t seem to be certain. Red flag no. 1. She also asks the recruiter if she will interview with anyone else and she is told no.
Now it’s interview time. There are a total of six people sitting around a board room table waiting to interview her. Red flag no. 2. They say their names without any explanation of what they do. Red flag no. 3.
The woman who appears to be heading the interview (the only person the applicant thought she would interview with) gives a bare bones overview of the company.
The people around the table take turns reading awkwardly-worded questions. Red flag no. 4. The first question is one that appears to be out of sequence: Give an example of when someone in the same room said something that was unpopular and what was your reaction?
The interview continues and some of the questions include several questions in one. And sometimes the interviewers seem to be confused by them. Red flag no. 5.
The woman leading the interview indicates they are pressed for time and have to finish. There is barely time for the applicant to ask questions. What number red flag are we on here? At this point she is left with more questions than answers. On the way back to the lobby with the interview leader, the applicant asks a question to determine this person’s role. (She didn’t have time in the interview and the woman never volunteered information about herself.) She confirms the applicant’s suspicion: She isn’t even an employee – she is a consultant! Red flag no. … Oh forget it.
The applicant walks away from this experience with a bad taste in her mouth. The more she thinks about the interview, the angrier she feels about the whole thing. She is turned off. The interview extinguished any interest she had of working for this company.
She describes the process as robotic. The questions didn’t give her a chance to get to her experience and the essence of who she is. She didn’t get to know much at all about the people interviewing her. She didn’t get a feel for the culture and what makes the company a great place to work other than its cafeteria and on-site fitness center.
What should this company have done differently? Trained their employees to interview or at the very least provide some guidelines. Offer key messages that reflect the employment brand. And those awkward interview questions! Sure companies have key competencies or success factors they seek in their applicants, but clearly worded interview questions could have done a much better job gauging the desired skills.
Please share your thoughts. What does your company do to ensure the job interview process is an authentic reflection of its employer brand? Do hiring managers have the tools they need to conduct effective interviews?