Why Job Interviews need an Overhaul

Why Job Interviews need an Overhaul

A friend in the recruitment industry asked me recently, Why is it that the best candidates show the least interest in a job opportunity when I call them up? 

Thus began a process of interaction and introspection with a number of technology R&D professionals in my circle of personal and professional contacts. I asked each one of them why they would and why they would not entertain a call/contact for a new job opportunity. The insights were powerful. Let me share them with the caveat that most of the respondents were senior technology professionals with 10+ years of experience in the industry and hence may not fully hold true for junior hires.

Here is what they said:

  1. Don’t Interview me, Talk to me: I’ve enough questions to answer in my current job. I’m solving technical problems all the time. Talk to me about what you need me for before you start testing my knowledge with standard interview questions and problems.
  2. Identify with the real work situation: Many a time, I’ve been put in a room with a piece of paper and a pencil and asked to solve some “interview” problem. Thats not how I work in real. Put me in a believable technology work situation with a laptop and tools and then ask me to show you how something is done.
  3. For the sake of testing: My CV explains my areas of work and knowledge. If I were an expert on something more, I would have put it there. Don’t test me by picking up something outside of my experience and test me for the sake of ticking your checklist.
  4. Share a vision: Before you ask me why I want this job, ask yourself, why do you want me for this job? What are we going to achieve together. Share your vision with me and tell me the visibility and success that awaits us if I perform on the job. Make it worth the risk of me leaving my current job.
  5. Engage me often: I’m busy at work and do not expect me to be following what your company is doing. I’ll research your company after I develop an interest. Till then, engage me often so that you catch my attention when you really need me. I do not mind engaging in short discussions with you, its not always about a job!

These are lessons for every company looking to hire quality senior tech resources. Most companies engage recruitment partners who make the first contact with potential candidates. Choosing specialist partners adept at candidate engagement and understanding the nuances of technology hiring becomes extremely important in order to tackle the above feedback. Be clear on the intent of the hiring and communicate it to the potential hire. Then discuss, create a shared vision and make the candidate want to put the effort required to participate in an interview process. Without that, you lose the best candidates with that first phone call itself.

Avinash Babu
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