Posted on 11 August 2008

Appreciating Your Interviewee

Bottom-Line Up Front: Most managers don’t prepare well for their interviewees… That’s why most managers suck at it make mediocre hiring decisions.

You’re a busy professional. You have a lot on your plate, your team is working overtime, and that ugly deadline is fast-approaching.

Finally, the recruiter calls you with an interviewee. They send over the resume, and you skim it, but mostly, the recruiter sounds confident this person is the match, so you have them setup the interview.

Days go by, and your calendar reminds you that your interview is about to start in 5 minutes.

“Oh, yeah…. the interview…” you say absently as your mind races to find the resume you are sure you printed off.

After a few minutes of fumbling, you think to yourself, “hey, its not my interview… they should have a copy of their resume, if they want this job…” and you head down to the lobby to meet them.

Sound Familiar?

If it does, then you’ve got a serious train wreck about to occur. You, being unprepared for an interview, may be the absolute worst thing you can do for your company apart from posting those New Years Party photos on the Internet (you know, the ones that mysteriously appeared on your camera).

Here are three things hiring managers often forget when they are interviewing and, yes, these things really do matter:

  1. Read and annotate the resume beforehand:
    Chances are, they spent hours, and possibly some money on getting that “resume.doc” in your email.

    • Are you sure everything they say is real? Is it relevant?
    • What can you learn about them by the way they phrased the objectives and accomplishments of their last three positions.
    • What does their cover letter really say about them?
    • Don’t you think you should make a note to clarify what they mean by “some coursework completed” next to their claim to a Harvard MBA?
  2. Prepare Questions:
    If you don’t know what you’re going to ask, the truth is, you won’t ask the right ones. “Going with your gut” should be reserved for the craps table, not your organization’s retirement account’s future.
  3. Pay Attention to them:
    The interview is as much of an opportunity for the candidate to investigate YOU and your company. If you rush through, don’t seem interested in them as a human being or that you’re not really listening, they will translate that to mean you will overwork them, not appreciate them and, in the long-run, they won’t be satisfied with working for you very long.


By their 30s, most people have had enough “bad bosses” to write long, lengthy books on the matter (not fun, nice-to-read books, but enough content to fill them up!).

Make no mistake about it, before they make any kind of move at all, superstar employees today are sizing you up as what kind of boss you are going to be.

Superstar talent want thriving, engaging, challenging environments and bosses that will help them thrive and flourish and introduce them to the right people that will help them make the next two or three career moves.

The upside, for you, is that you will forever be known as “the one who finds the superstars”. Don’t forget, when that new hire is getting recognition from the top level of the company, YOUR NAME will be in lights right alongside them… but, the slightest whiff from you that you don’t care, you’re “very busy”, or that you don’t appreciate or value what they, as a human being, bring to the table… well, kiss the chance to hire that person goodbye.

Isn’t that worth 10-15 minutes of prep time on your part, and asking two or three relevant “human” questions during your interview?

2 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Tom Says:

    You are absolutly right!!!
    When I perform Interviews it is imperative to be prepared or the good hires will get away. I remember an interview I attended where the interviewer actually scheduled 3 people at the same time. It did not go well and I did not take a job with them.

  2. Robert Merrill Says:

    @tom great feedback and example. Thanks for sharing!

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