The Perfect Interview

business coaching

There is no perfect interview, just an attempt by both parties to find a fit of talent, skills, character and attitudes so that they can achieve a common goal, creative and productive work.

The interviewer is trying to assess the person in front of them, they’ve read that biography and looked at their work experience and have decided to spend some time trying to get to know this person. Some of the questions that go through that mind are; will they fit with the organization – do they have the skills we need – will others like to work with them – do they really care about this job order then just need an income?

The interviewee is trying to assess the person and the company it represents, they’ve read the questions and answered them going through the various hoops required to get the interview. Some of the thoughts going through them mind are; will I fit with this company – what’s the upper end of the pay scale – did they have a history of taking care of people – will I like it here?

In the ideal situation both people would be authentic and truthful! It is my experience however that this is not true, as both have an agenda that they are not prepared to talk about. The interview has the corporate mask, being responsible for the hire they are cautious and don’t want to fail. It is expensive to hire someone who might not fit the culture and leave the organization, so the choice goes to the person that appears to have the skills but fits in, closing the possibility to the exceptional. The interviewee is cautious because they want the job, not revealing who they truly are, authenticity is not revealed it is hidden behind the mask of niceness, getting along and I’m a good person.

The hiring process is one of the most difficult in human experience, there are so many pressures on both parties to get it right – to get the right person – to get the job! No wonder it fails on a regular basis, perhaps it might be time for a different strategy surely it would be less expensive to be authentic, truthful and willing to listen and ask questions.

Even if an organization took the risk to try this idea in the hiring process and tracked it to see if it was successful. Only when you try a new method and then track the results can you say it is good or not. Before such stringent (politically correct) rules of engagement in interviews it was a lot easier to determine the character of the person being hired and to get a sense of whether or not they would fit in to my organization. It was also easier being the interviewee because I could be authentic, let my hair down a bit and reveal who I am.

When doing business with Asian cultures, it is customary to go have dinner and have a drink, sometimes a lot of drinks giving both parties an opportunity to see if they can work with each other. When I was teaching at UBC one time we had one of South Korea’s largest companies send their executives to learn about the culture of North America. It was a great deal of fun to meet and work with them, however they did insist on meeting us going for a meal together and drinking a great deal. At first I thought this was unusual, but in discussions with other colleagues I discovered it was quite normal and so I asked one of the executives why they like to do it, his reply “the way you eat and behave while drinking tells me so much more than your resume” I think this is true.

I am not recommending that you take every interviewee will interviewer out for a drink that would be crazy! What I am recommending is to take time, to be authentic, tell the truth and see where it goes. I’m sure it will produce better results, what do you think?

Always Show Up – Geoffrey


2019-12-11 copyright – Geoffrey X. Lane

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