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Job Interviews as Two-Way Assessments

September 25, 2017 | Career Blog

Believe it or not it happens. A job interview can be like a marriage proposal. You can tell when the energy is bad. Your body screams at you, “Get out of here!”

Former Fortune 500 Senior HR VP. Liz Ryan gives examples in Forbes.

  • The interviewer tells a candidate is told right away, first thing in the interview, “I’m not even sure I’m going to hire anyone. The quality of candidates these days is so low!”
  • The candidate is asked to meet the interviewer in an out-of-office location and says, “I’m thinking of hiring you and firing Jenifer, my office manager.” When the candidate asks if Jenifer knows he is unhappy with her, the interviewer replies, “No, why tell her if I’m going to fire her?”
  • In a panel interview, five panelists fired questions so fast the candidate could hardly answer them. The panelists seemed to compete with each other to see who could ask the most. Finally, one of them asked, “how far in advance do you decide what you’re having for dinner?”
  • In the interview, the candidate ventures a question to find out more about the job. The interviewer declares, “I’m asking the questions here, not you!” The candidate stands, extends a hand for a handshake and says, “Thanks so much for your time today. I can see it’s not a good match. I’ll be going now and letting you get back to your busy schedule.”

There are times when leaving the interview is the best thing to do. You are not getting paid to waste time in a fruitless interview or when the interview looks like an excuse to abuse you. Some people love to interview just to feel powerful. Some people invite candidates from other companies as a kind of industrial espionage. You never really know if there is a real job that will come out of the interview. Many people whose gut tells them it’s not worth it, simply leave.

In the interview, the employer gets to find out about the candidate and the candidate gets to find out about the employer. If clear indications are that this is not the employer you want, the interview is over. A courteous departure is all you need. In fact, many employment counselors suggest that job seekers conduct informational interviews, job interviews in reverse, meeting employers just to find out about them and their companies.

In the current hard-times business culture, many people have come to think of the employment interview as a rare privilege. It’s almost as if the candidate is in the position of a mendicant imploring the powerful for special dispensation. That attitude is dangerous.

One of the valuable things about the interview is that is an information exchange, in terms of both tangibles and intangibles about the people involved. It’s important to maintain the interactional part of the interview. The interview is to find out the suitability of a financial and service arrangement and if a long-term collaboration is possible. Just because one of you has the money and the applicant does not, does not deprive the applicant of parity. The interview is also about the company trying to convince the applicant to work for them. If they fail to impress you or they repel you, it’s not only acceptable to make a polite exit, it is highly recommended.

One candidate describes his experience this way:

“I  walked out on an interview before it began once. The interview was scheduled for 10 am….I showed up about 10 minutes early. I signed in…and waited and waited. Forty-five minutes later I got up and asked the receptionist…to let my interviewer know I was no longer interested, and left. Two hours later I got a rude call asking if I forgot the appointment. I laughed and hung up.”

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