Saturday, 29 January 2011

How to screw up an interview

I've read many posts, articles and stories of how a job-seeker can mess up his job interview (and how avoid it)... This is a post about how an EMPLOYER can screw up

Most interviewers forget that an interview is a 2-way interaction,
usually (particularly w.r.t. the Indian Demographic) there is a high(er) supply & low(er) demand for "Human Resources"

But what Interviewers forget is that  interviewees are also consumers & influencers.

Interviewees are already predisposed to positive cues that reaffirm their faith in the brand (that they may be working for soon), this huge opportunity to build brand salience & engage with a consumer/influencer and make a positive impact, is not only left untapped, but is actually misused creating brand dissonance and ill-will (as opposed to consonance & goodwill).

While a few years ago,this may have been acceptable "par-for-the-course", as "you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette"

In the current age of Social Media &  6 Degrees when, every marketer spends huge amounts just to get Connect on Facebook or be Followed on Twitter, this assumption just does not "hold water"

The Interview Experience 

The Interview "Experience" is paramount in making or breaking a potential Brand Ambassador.And there are many touch points in the process, as illustrated below -

1) Expression of Interest (EoI) - The first telephone call - Who is calling the job-seeker? is the caller educated, informed and adept at handling queries regarding the position /organisation?  how are the caller's soft skills, communication, behavioral competencies and people skills?

2) Confirmation of Interest (CoI) - The first email - What is the content, does it address the queries that went unanswered during the EoI phase? Will a standard template suffice?, or is a personal letter required? Is it comprehensive (Job Description / Company Brief/ KRAs/  Reporting Relationships) ? 

3) Acknowledgement of Application (AoA) - Will a standard "thank you for applying" template suffice, or is a personal letter required? (probably somewhere in between?) What is the content, does it address the queries that were asked by the job-seeker in response to the  CoI? 

4 a) The Call Letter - (if the candidate is shortlisted) ask the same questions as above

4 b) IF THE CANDIDATE HAS NOT BEEN SHORTLISTED - this is a pain point that must be addressed QUICKLY, professionally and without prejudice, providing the right balance of professional tact & directness.

5) The Interview Atmosphere - The First Meeting -  It's official, your 1st Impression is your last - and this axe swings both ways, while there are tomes written on how to prepare for an interview for a job-seeker. There is a LOT that needs to be said and developed on the Employer Branding front. The experience starts from the moment the job-seeker enters your premises - straight from the parking lot, to reception, to the HR coordinator,  the waiting time, are ALL under INTENSE scrutiny by the job-seeker. - and all it takes is a single tweet sent from a mobile phone, for an entire communication campaign and marketing ad spend to come crashing down - Here's an example -

BP CEO Tony Hayward: 'I'd Like My Life Back'

6) Ensuring HR is your competitive advantage - (In hindsight, it is evident above, that the BP CEO was clearly NOT the best person for the Job) - The 1st Interview Experience - is the interviewer's perceived  knowledge of the role AND interest in the job-seeker conducive to attracting the BEST Talent?

YES, they're lining up in the hallway... Waiting to be interviewed by YOU... but there's only ONE GUY you NEED... does she/he WANT to join you?

7) The Negotiation - There are Text Books & DIYs about the ART of Negotiation so i will save some space - Life is NOT a zero sum game  - make sure your offer is a WIN-WIN where you and the job-seeker, both feel like winners - you can buy a man's hands .. but you have to win his heart - Passion comes at a Price, that cannot be measured in monetary terms

8) The Final Judgement (Selection & Rejections) - I cannot stress this enough,  ensure Rejections are dealt with equal (if not greater) tact as the Selected candidate. While the selected candidate becomes your employee, the rejects CAN still remain your consumers & influencers > The way you TREAT them will be the Occam's razor 

This entire post can be summed up in a two lines -

1) Treat rejected job-seekers like your customers
2)  Leverage the Interview don't screw it up

Companies that recognize these aspects as critical to Image Management, are the ones that shall prevail in the long run.

No comments:

Post a Comment