IT Employment

Quelling interview conspiracy theories

Do you think the fact that you didn't get that job was due to the interviewer's inability to recognize genius? Or maybe because interviewers just don't "get it." Let's put things in perspective.

Do you think the fact that you didn't get that job was due to the interviewer's inability to recognize genius? Or maybe because interviewers just don't "get it." Let's put things in perspective.

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I hear from many TechRepublic members who are very frustrated with the job interview process. Some are downright hostile, convinced that HR departments are comprised of imbeciles, and that hiring managers the world over are programmed specifically to make their lives miserable.

Job candidates like this wear their emotion on their sleeves. They walk into an interview, and you can almost feel the hostility. That's not exactly the team player most managers are looking for. The person gets turned down for the job, and their suspicions of unfairness are buttressed. It's the ultimate self-defeating attitude.

The truth is that, while it may be tempting to think there are sinister forces at work targeted just at you, it's most likely not the case. There's a lot that goes on in the hiring process from the manager's side that you're not aware of. Because of that, processes or outcomes may appear to be unfair.

Hiring managers are a risk-adverse group. Hiring the wrong employee can be a manager's biggest headache. Think about it: If you hire someone who turns out not to be suited for the position, you have to take weeks and maybe months to try to turn that employee's performance around. If you don't succeed, you have to let that person go and start the whole process all over again. Turnover is expensive in both financial and emotional terms.

So in an attempt to cover all the bases, a hiring manager may call in 10 or 15 people to interview for one position. They're hoping to get the person with the best qualifications who will also fit intellectually and emotionally within the existing team.

As a job candidate, your skill set may exactly match the job description, but so may Person Number 4's and Person Number 6's. You may have felt that you and the interviewer had a great rapport. If he's a good interviewer, he's going to make you feel that way -- not to set you up for a disappointment, but because he's skilled at putting people at ease and finding common ground.

Now understand that this interviewer is not a blank slate. He's had a lifetime of experiences that have colored his perceptions in ways that even he may not be aware of. You may have innocently answered one of his questions in some way that unconsciously reminded him of a former employee that he had problems with. If he's aware of this unfair parallel, he can dispel it. If he's not, then that may be the one detail that separates you from the running. Fair? No. Common? It probably happens more than you think. But don't beat yourself up over it. And don't let something like that feed your conspiracy theory.

I've heard enough from my readers to know that they also take psychological shortcuts in interviews (e.g., "As soon as I met him, I knew his type…" or "He reminded me of my ex father-in-law, so we were off to a bad start anyway…"). It's human nature.

Some people have no problem with the interview itself, but balk at the salary offer. Many job candidates think the salary offer exists in a vacuum and feel insulted by it. And, indeed, some are ridiculously low. But the number is not plucked from the clear, blue sky. Every manager has a budget that he has to use (or stretch in some cases) in forming a team. His offer is based on his total amount for personnel, what he's paying existing team members, what kind of return he will get on his investment in you, and the national average for the job title (if he's lucky enough to have his superiors even heed that number).

A low salary offer can be disappointing, sure, but that manager didn't sit at his desk twirling his mustache and making plans to tie a damsel to a railroad track before he made his offer. The offer, or at least a range, was in a spreadsheet somewhere before you even walked in the door.

And, last but not least, try to remain objective. Take a serious look at your qualifications. You may think that meeting seven out of 10 of those qualifications asked for in the job application is a home run, but just know that there may be four or five other candidates who can check off every one on the list. That's not a conspiracy -- that is the truth.

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About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

87 comments
mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

Side step the boneheads in HR. Go to a friend or associate who knows you and have them talk the powers that be behind the scenes. Once you get "hired" then they will tell HR to do the paperwork; all you have to do is just go to HR for the "rubber stamp."

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

"I hear from many TechRepublic members who are very frustrated with the job interview process. Some are downright hostile, convinced that HR departments are comprised of imbeciles, and that hiring managers the world over are programmed specifically to make their lives miserable." They are right in most cases. I have seen the best and the worst HR dept.s over a number of decades and unfortunately, they are right more times than not.

dawybenga
dawybenga

After reading the article, I was a little shocked at how defensive and angry some of the posts were. I didn't at all get the impression she was saying all hiring managers are great and everyone else is a whiner. She simply made the point that going in with a bad attitude wasn't going to help you and offered some suggestions. There are plenty of bad managers out there so everyone will have there horror stories, but that doesn't mean that doesn't mean you couldn't use a little good advise to try to help with your next interview. I'm a young manager who will have plenty of opportunities to be on both sides of the table and I appreciate reading every article out there to try to help whichever side of the table I'm sitting on.

tony.maine
tony.maine

When contracts are let out for some high powered project, it's very common for a number of bids to be assessed (assuming there ARE a number of bids) and the least cost one that fits the requirements is accepted. Yet this procedure is NEVER followed when hiring senior staff as evidenced by the profusion of vastly overpaid f***wits and w**kers inhabiting these positions in large companies (just look at the present economic mess we're all in. How can people who could actually RUN companies manage this?) How about formalising job requirements then giving the work to the lowest bidder - or Dutch auction the job on the Web. It would save one heck of a lot of money.

cindym50
cindym50

I work at a county government position and interviewed for a different position. I was interviewed by a panel of three persons. I know one of the panel persons who gave me a rundown of what happened with the hiring decision. Two of the panel chose two candidates, the third panel member who was head of the department wanted another person who did not get rated in the top five by the two panel members to get the job. The two panel members were required to rework the scores so that the person the manager wanted to be hired was hired. I just love working for two-faced government business ??? NOT! A conspiracy? Yes, when I look at the dictionary definition of the word.

Sticksandstones
Sticksandstones

I knew a manager who bragged about making salary offers and then when the candidate called to accepted the offer, decreasing the offered salary by 5%. He claimed that anyone was willing to give up 5% and so he got an extra bargain for every employee that was hired. bait-and-switch. Naturally, this attitude contributes to the companies overall bad image with its employees, who left as soon as they found better jobs.

leigh
leigh

OK I am very much an unusual case. I am a middle aged refugee from the building industry, with long hair (ponytail) and a beard. I favour casual clothes, hate ties, and am happy to debate evolution for the creation team. I have very few actual qualifications. Unemployable right? I have had one formal job interview in my life, and it was a horror. I was put forward by an existing staff member who felt I would be a good teacher based on the way I handled presenting in classes as a student. I thought so too. The subject matter was in my area of interest. But I obviously did not fit the culture. The letter said my interview was at 1.00PM but on arrival at 12.50 PM I was told I was an hour late...a no show. Fortunately/unfortunately I had the letter with me, so they were forced to interview me....in their lunchtime. The interview was hostile from the start, and I knew I had not got the job straight away. At the end when the team leader/spokesperson asked if I had any questions I asked "As this was my first ever interview, what factors tended to disqualify me?" They hadn't said I didn't get it but they didn't have to. They spent more time being incredulous that this was my first such interview at my age. As 2 out of 3 had taught me over the last 12 months and knew my history this could only be termed evasion. Then they agreed that the fact that I had not bothered to wear a tie was another issue. 2 out of 3 of them were not, and I knew that they never did. Within 12 months the facility was merged with a higher education unit, my recommender lost her job, and 2 out of 3 lost so many hours as to be effectively unemployed. The 1 out of three who was admin and probably responsible for the letter fiasco continues unabated. Me? I got a job with a charity with similar philosophical views, have been blessed, and have blessed. They now have a world class system ( far beyond what I was taught ) and recently sent me to Nepal and India to train partner agencies in using that. I still have my ponytail and beard. I still don't wear a tie. The moral of this ... if you do not fit the culture...you really do not want the job! Don't worry...be patient...even if you do not believe ...God still has a plan for your life.

prosenjit11
prosenjit11

Thanks to TechRepublic again. This is Great and a source of perfect HR and Management thinking with practice. Infact, perfectly positioned to meeting the requirements of an organisation. Definitely, these are the striking examples that could be set for certain case studies and if that be the case then no team would have existed today. Most important is the Best Fit and that is what the entire matter talks about. Let me take a Case Study of an interview START :A candidate from the first telephonic discussion to a HR one and then finally one or two rounds. Technically speaking most of the interviews seem to be go fine and as perfectly said that the Hiring Manager is one but he takes the feedback from different techies and the other Technical Managers. So, it is a cumulative feedback to judge what the person is capable of. Sometimes, to me it is mostly the Chemistry more than the technical capability as I have seen dumb heads sitting in an organisation for months and they put two or three bugs or modules executed/solved in their appraisal but indeed they get the appraisal and the expectations b'cos the chemistry works here. Someone who may not do the job by himself but gets it done but has executed critical projects is on the firing line. The Hiring Manager to be on the safer side tries to get the feedback from the previous employer and I am sure that most of the previous employers seldom give a positive feedback and a prospective employee would not quit or if rather being asked to quit have a good impression/ leave a good impression to the employer. This is important and the verdict of a Prospective employer depends on this factor. In todays world no one works with emotions but Yes it is the greatest hurdle because we are Human Beings and not Machines, rightly pointed out in the article"I knew his type" Well, emotions on the backburner turn out to be major pitfalls anticipating threats which are not actually threats but potential assets. About someone who is more capable, well there is always a BETTER than the BEST everywhere.

cfbandit
cfbandit

Toni, While I think your post is a little *too* rosy, the problem tends to become that there are a lot of issues that people can't control, and they're angry and frustrated about that. Reading some of the comments I fully agree with some of the things you said about people asserting their "genius" over some poor schmuck in HR. People, you're misunderstanding. The guy in HR is there to see that you're a nice, hardworking person and is excited to work at their company. Ask questions, be personable, but don't go into too much detail about your acronyms or certifications until they tell you they want to know about it. Most won't. Then you can get to the IT manager and dazzle them with your programming genius and the acronym soup after your name. Some of the people who are commenting here seriously need to look up their local community college or Junior Chamber and take some interview courses. There's some really rookie mistakes being made here.

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

Toni may be one of the best hiring managers in the world, but she gives the benefit of the doubt to hiring managers and HR so much so that it's downright naive. IT Interviews are a crapshoot and reminds me of America's Top Model in some instances. It all starts with convoluted job descriptions that list the kitchen sink. Then there are the 4 hour and multiple interviews where you meet with almost everyone in the company. At that point, interviews become more of an investment in time and money (fuel costs, etc.). There's the lack of feedback or even a return call from the hiring manager or HR. Then there's the worst: The "formality" interview, where they bring you in when they already have someone in mind. Why? Because it's a loophole in the law that says you have to interview outside candidates. Interviews are a waste of time more often than not. You can't also deny the subconcious racism, sexism and ageism that is rampant in IT. If you don't look like the IT guy from the IBM commercials, forget it. A 40 year old black woman could never land a mid-level IT position these days, even if she had a Masters and a littany of certs. Everyone's always looking for a "good fit" whatever the **** that means. Any decent professional can become a good fit over time. That's just a legal way to discriminate. I've almost had it with this industry. Due to the glut of paper-certified hacks jumping into the industry, salaries are dropping. The return-on-investment for an IT career sucks. Four years of college, thousands spent on certifications and years of experience only to be snubbed because my glasses aren't thick enough or I'm not skinny enough is BS.

merrhell
merrhell

Some Hiring managers are imbeciles and cannot tell the difference between creative genius and lethargic laziness. So you would take the safe route and hire the lazy slob who can barely do the work but has the personality of a slug and won't cause any problems getting along. Wow! no wonder why companies under perform and have to out source their system design.

richlane
richlane

Don't forget the equal and opposite theory that many people espouse: "I am a fraud." Last time I read about it, somewhere upwards of 70% of really successful people believed that the main reason for their success was that other people just didn't see how little they really had accomplished.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Toni, you're really a frustrated social worker stuck in IT. I think you would be happier in a dismal gray state office under a cheap picture of George Bush (that you desperately can't wait to see replaced with a cheap picture of Obama), counselling alcoholics about their addiction and seeing if they've met their weekly goals in order to avoid being sent back to jail. Either that or doing Team-Building exercises for a corporation. "Ok, gang... remember we talked about forming, storming and norming? Today we're going to do a 'faith-drop'! I'm excited! Are YOU excited?!? Jane, Sarah, if you could get behind Bill. Bill, take off your coat. On the count of 3, I want you to fall back into their arms, and have faith that Jane and Sarah are going to catch you!! Oh, wow! They missed you. How does that make you feel Bill? Let's explore our feelings..." Kum-bye-effing-Yah...

Jeff.Chaplin
Jeff.Chaplin

Please note that there is no such thing as being 'risk-adverse', the correct term is 'risk-averse', i.e. having an aversion to risk.

dsroper
dsroper

I went on an interview late last year for a job at a different company that was essentially what I am doing only the pay was alot higher and the job was not as complicated. It was a "perfect match". The interview started out great. The company had hired some consultants to evaluate the candidates and they had some really easy questions that were basically no problem. There was laughter and some lighthearted fun going on in the interview. The interviewers were noticably impressed with my education, skills and qualifications. Then in the middle of the interview I noticed that the president of the company was starting to get rude and his temper was starting to show. A couple of times he actually snapped at me. Anyway, I left the interview somewhat bewildered and didn't expect to ever hear from them again. Since this job was within my industry I knew one of the interviewers fairly well and he gave me the total rundown on what happened after I left. According to the interviewer, I stood out head and shoulders above the other candidates but the President of the company wanted someone else for the position. The president made up all kinds of reasons why I was not the best candidate. The interviewers were confused and assured him that I was the best candidate. He dismissed the consultants. According to my contact within the company, the job was a new executive position within the company and the president wanted the job to go to a subordinate manager in the company that basically didn't meet the qualifications of the position nor did he have my level of experience. He was hired. Two weeks after promoting the subordinate, the company decided that they actually did need someone with the qualifications listed on the ad for the executive position. When I saw the ad I thought that they had reposted the position but had changed it to a manager position. In truth it was the subordinate position that the new executive used to hold. This position would report to the new executive. I still wonder why they wasted my time if the ahole already knew he was going to hire the unqualified subordinate.

hythlodayr
hythlodayr

If you get grilled for a job by multiple people, keep your background experience SIMPLE and CONCISE. Write it down if you have to and keep in mind that many tech folks aren't fluent in English. I've been turned down for one job purely because different interviewers interpreted what I said differently, and felt I was lying or "trumping up" my experience.

ladywolf9653
ladywolf9653

I have been on both sides of the fence - we all have, I think. As a manager that got rather badly burned more than once by the "ideal" candidate, I make it a point to involve my team in the interview process. Sometimes that culls the less than perfect hopefuls, sometimes not. Having worked at both large international companies and small local shops, the number one factor always boils down to whether or not the individual will mesh with the existing team. Some differences are always welcome, because they generate new ideas and ways of thinking. However, there has to be some signs of compatibility or a management nightmare is sure to evolve. If the candidate makes it to the second interview, I already know that he or she has the skills to do the job, so now I'm looking at whether or not they'll be the best fit with my existing personalities and components. It's certainly not a conspiracy by any means, it's just me (and my team) trying to pick the best overall fit. I am always up front and completely candid about the process...how long it takes, what they can expect from me, and when they will hear from me. Bottom line - if there's only one job opening, and 15 candidates, 14 people are going to come away feeling slightly rejected regardless of how good the hiring manager is at explaining the reasons that someone else got the job. It's unavoidable, but by no means a conspiracy.

a.southern
a.southern

It can be gutting to hear you've not got a job, but truth is it's tougher market now than ever, with one click CV sending and cut and paste applications every one is applying for more jobs. It's a numbers game. Be prepared to be upset some of the time.

torpalexander
torpalexander

hi I think in many cases, especially if its put in a socio-it kinda mind frame, its very hard to tell! Hand for me its always the random creative block gamma-prococess, which always leads to an very unfair sfigmatic bias towards the conserwative block of the masses! But again, on thefunny side, you have the freethinking, "anarchistic", group of people, always put in a "stall", but the irony here is devestating hilrious, it without doubt backfires towards the initial bias-commentationaries! I just normally say, beware everyone, and dont underestimate anyone, especially not based on how they look! Ill make it short and just wrap it up! Dont go around "stalling", people", as it as you say, who laughs lasts.....

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

in a lot of these articles. As they have built up, it has become more and more apparent. So having read the replies some less defensive than others :p , many angry, you have learnt something. The hiring process as seen by candidates is not a one sided affair completely in the favour of the hirer. Can't hurt to know that.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

give better people? Let's see now...... No, it won't will it? It will I agree be a cheaper way of f***ing the job up. From a self interested highly paid f***wit. :p

prosenjit11
prosenjit11

This is interesting that in most of the software and IT companies there are high pay packets and why not when actually the work load is that 2 odd people and one person handles it. For example most of the outsourcing done today is to the profitability of 40-50% to the end client and if in a country like India one Senior person earns around $3000 / month that is much less than someone who earns $10000/- a month in the US or UK/Australia. First look at the entire Bid proposal and then hire the guy. You can get lot of programmers and some are really good at it. But the REAL PISS is executing it with proper Project Management and getting the right people to do the job with a balance to the work and schedule. OFCOURSE BUDGET, Hugh!!! that is always a QUESTION MARK AND ALWAYS Exponentially Calculated.

Tech_Monkey
Tech_Monkey

i think having a non-IT person conduct the first part of the interview helps 'weed-out' candidates; you need to be able to communicate with a non-IT person, and not show any sign of lack of interest to the non-IT person. IT positions not only require the skills, but also be customer/user friendly.

larrie_jr
larrie_jr

This industry is NOT a stereo-typical anything... I started out thinking that way as well. I chose this career after my 38th birthday and a lifetime of construction work. My first year at ITT was an experience I'll never forget. Every "nerd" in the world had showed up at this school; no one would look you in the eye, they were all introverts, and they had the strangest sense of humor... I believed that my skill set was the most important factor in obtaining a job... oh my niavette... I landed a position with the largest MMORPG retailer in the world!!! The manager is who hired me, and once I met the employees of this company, I knew there were going to be problems... I was the only one who didn't have a piercing, or a colored mohawk, or gauged ears, in the whole company! I didn't get any of the jokes they would tell (or they were just soooo stupid, I didn't laugh), I didn't find the topics of discussion around the 'water-cooler' of any interest; I lasted three weeks. I was brought into the office and told that while my work was exemplory, I wasn't someone they would want to hang out with after work and have a beer. I thought I was just here to do a job... WRONG...

JamesRL
JamesRL

If you look at my team, you won't find many who look like the IBM commericials. We are a rainbow. And that was also my experience at other places. When I worked for a Fortune 100 company, I had two female bosses. As to good fit, as I often mention, the 3 questions one of my bosses taught me was "Can they do it? Will they do it? Will they fit in?" Fit IS important. We work in teams. Teams have to get along to be as productive as they can be. I disagree that any decent professional can fit in over time - businesses have cultures, and some people never seem to be able to adjust. They usually leave or get fired. If you can't justify the fuel costs and the time for interviews, I have concerns about your logic. Getting the rigth match between the employee and employer is very important. You seriously begrudge a few gallons of gas and a few hours of your time, when its around a place of employment where you will spend many hours and earn thousands of dollars. Thats short sightedness in the extreme. If you think interviews are a waste of time, best not even think of a job where you have to wear a dress shirt. I've been interviewed for jobs in retail. James

dbecker
dbecker

People should pay more attention to dcolbert: There is a very wide gap in the mismatch between HR managers screening potential candidates and the objective realities of the needs of the postion in any technological setting. HR, if befitting the stereotype so accurately portrayed by dcolbert, is filled with smarmy people persons of the boomer persuasion of those who expect to have the feel good "have their say and go their way" variety. These are the sorts of people who prostitute themselves for management and offer such diversity courses as [and I'm not making this up] Age and Attitudes [at which it was brought out how much older workers discriminate against the new millenialist 20 somethings because they work differently], Discrimination against gay workers in the workplace [when will it be illegal to even mention heterosexual marriage in the workplace and that you have grandchildren (not adopted)] and Beyond sexual harassment at which we find a manager in the hinterland telling the class that he reported sexual harassment to HR and was resoundingly ignored. To a pragmatic technologist who has no interest in people skills, but really does wear short sleeved shirts to save the time of rolling up his [or her] sleeves, this is just so much noisy nonsense irrelevant to getting the job done. Not to put too fine a point on it, so the nim nulls in both management and HR can sort of kind of see the problem, HR and managers generally don't have structural visualization, which means in absolute terms that they ABSOLUTELY DO NOT UNDERSTAND competent technologists they are pursuing hiring. They also have no concept of people working alone, dedicated in concentration on solely non people objects which have nothing to do with "working in teams" or "being a team player". Expect HR and management to hire exactly the wrong person for the job, because they are LOOKING FOR SOMEONE JUST LIKE THEM in personality, when, in fact, it is ENTIRELY, EXCEPTIONALY, COMPLETELY inappropriate. No one, but no one, should expect a brilliant technologist who really knows his stuff and can do an exceptional job to actually get the job when the interview is based pretty much [with few exceptions] upon people skills. If you really want someone who looks good, sounds good and gets along well with people, then hire an actor. They might not be a surgeon, but they've played one on TV. Expect technological failure. Don't be too surprised when the O rings give out and the astronauts BLOW UP IN A FIERY EXPLOSION because you have hired entirely incompetent techs with people skills but who have no technological skills whatsoever. Go ahead and hire people you understand, not the people who can do the job. And it all works for HR because there are so many people with barely enough skills to get by to pass the interviews and other parts of the screening. But be warned, you probably have NOT hired the best candidates and certainly you will not if you have determined to put a cap on the price you will pay which is well under what you would have to pay. A psychological study shows that those who have the skills to ACQUIRE the position, probably aren't qualified to WORK in the position and the qualified candidates don't have the personality skills to achieve the position through the gauntlet of HR and management [the study made the point concerning the U.S. Presidency, but, ah, it was done 40 years ago and HAVEN'T TIMES CHANGES]. Here's the real truth: HR is pretty much incompetent. It's a wonder we have technology levels we have today. If it weren't for greed.... And yeah, it is a conspiracy... of morons who look good.

merrhell
merrhell

Exactly! an HR manager / specialist hiring IT employee is about as clueless as you can get. You must have an IT manger doing the hiring!

Owen Glendower
Owen Glendower

I was once flown (expenses paid) from Wisconsin to Kentucky for an interview at an educational institution which shall remain nameless. I was and am aware that those institutions, perhaps more than any others, have to dot all the i's and cross all the t's in the hiring process, and also have to document that they did so. But it was clear right from the get-go that a hiring decision had already been made. It was the most pro forma, let's-just-walk-him-through-it situation you could imagine. I saw more people (briefly) than I can remember. At one point, they told me, "You have to see Mr. X for 15 minutes." They sat me down with a guy who spent the entire period explaining why his department approved this new position and would be associated with it, but would be "unable to support it." (Don't ask me, I had no idea what he was talking about.) After exactly 15 minutes my handler re-appeared and off we went to jump through the next hoop. In short, it was obvious that I was there only because they needed to interview one more applicant to demonstrate that they had fulfilled something-or-other. Why they picked me and spent several hundred dollars getting me there and back, instead of picking someone who could have walked in for the interview, I have never understood. It was the most bizarre employment experience I've ever had.

adamme
adamme

Throughout my career as an IT Executive, I've personally interviewed, literally, hundreds of candidates. The one cardinal rule that I've always stuck with is to be honest. Don't drag someone into an interview that you have no intention of (potentially) hiring. When we advertise a position, it's not unusual to have dozens (or sometimes hundreds) of applicants. HR does a reasonably good job of weeding out those that clearly don't meet the minimum qualifications. My job then, is to review the final list and set up interviews based on "technical best fit". By the time you're called in for the interview, the assumption is that you already meet the *technical* qualifications, it's not a matter of chemistry. I look at body language, posture, dress and how quickly questions are answered. At this point, it's all about chemistry. It's also not unusual for me to ask co-workers to sit in on the interviews. It's absolutely critical that the future employee meshes with the existing team. Skill sets are easy to find, it's much harder to find someone who will not only be a team player but blends in well with those that person will soon be working with. I could care less about the color of skin, sex, age or looks. If my employees don't get good vibes from the candidate, the prospect is dropped. Using this method, I've had a very high success rate for new hires. Morale stays high because the entire team is involved with the selection process. Now, I know that some people just don't interview well. There's little, from this end, that I can do except try hard to make the person feel at ease. The *real* work for the individual is to hone their interview skills, not just to reply to technical questions, but *how* questions are answered. Watcher your interviewers body language, facial expressions and the direction that the conversation is going. The inexperienced interviewer (and, unfortunately, they're the majority), really don't *know* what to ask. They fish and let the interview drive what's asked. What the *real* question they're asking themselves is, "How much do I like this person?". Also, a sure sign of a poor interviewer is when they spend a majority of their time talking about themselves. When that happens, let them talk, the more they talk and the more you listen, ironically, the better chance you have of landing the job. These are just my observations of over 30 years of being the in the management field. And, as always, YMMV. :-)

merrhell
merrhell

This happens more than the hiring of the most qualified candidate. I have had similar situations as both the candidate and the hiring manager where my boss was telling me who to hire.

merrhell
merrhell

You and your team aren't the ones responsible for the conspiracy theories. Your team sounds competent and capable.

larrie_jr
larrie_jr

Reading your post, it sounds like what you find in the SPAM emails one gets; or an excerpt from a snoopy cartoon where he is playing a writer..."it was a dark and stormy night..." "...and then he went to Sommersby..." "...while mean while, back at the ranch,"... Or, even better yet, one of the techers from a Peanuts cartoon... "whaa-wa, wahh-wa-wah-whaaaa"...

raym444
raym444

What the heck was that all about? There was barely a coherent sentence in that entire post...and throwing in big important sounding non-words (bias-commentationaries???, try finding that in a any dictionary) isn't helping any. If you're in the IT field at all, it's apparent that you got there through an inside friend, because your post makes you look ignorant and way too unintelligent to hold a technical position.

JamesRL
JamesRL

At my place of work, socializing after work is not a requirement. I have some staff who are painfully shy. I actually think diversity is a good thing, if everyone thinks the same, more chance of making bad assumptions and making wrong decisions. James

jmarkovic32
jmarkovic32

You're still the exception rather than the rule. What I meant with my "good fit" argument is that "So and so is not a good fit" could simply be an excuse for subconscious racism/sexism/ageism with the latter being the most rampant (IMHO). Just for curiosity, your team may be a "rainbow" (it has to be for legal reasons), but how is it from an age perspective? How about gender? This industry has marketed a stereo type for the ideal technology worker: White, young and male. I'm not saying this from the perspective of someone who doesn't fit the stereotype either. It's an intellectually honest observation.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

own type. I've met too many with crap people skills who do that job to believe that team player etc is their criteria. We are talking about the people who author David Brent's speeches. We thank you for your efforts over the last year, your dedication in working unpaid for several years has finally been rewarded. You will be keeping your job, once you accept this pay cut..... People skills my arse. What they generally look for in a tech, is someone who can do something else better, a loser subject such as media studies, because they have a vague clue what that means.

dcolbert
dcolbert

The people-people will feel genuinely bad when the O-rings fail and the astronauts blow up, whereas the anti-social engineering-dorks will take the pragmatic approach of, "If they didn't want to die in a firey explosion, they probably shouldn't have strapped themselves to the top of a missle loaded with highly explosive fuel". I'm surprised about two things. One, that I didn't see a tremendous backlash here for my comments against Toni. Two - that others ran so far with the ball I put into play. I think HR has a purpose in a litigious society. I've been to WAI (Working at Intel), and I think for a global corporation like Intel, their cultural sensitivity courses can be necessary. The most disturbing thing about many HR courses is that they reiterate common sense as if they were great secret truths - and maybe common sense IS a great secret truth for much of the workforce. In my experience, 90% of the people who walk out of courses like these apply less than 20% of what they learned about 10% of the time before they revert to whatever they did before and are more comfortable with. The other 10% never change at all. HR, like IT, is a cost center, and the expansion of scope that HR seeks (to the detriment of efficiency) is usually influenced by a desire to justify existing. Ideally HR handles pay, benefits and handling employee complaints or corrective action. When they start displaying too much direct interaction with the IT hiring process, HR is an impediment to efficient workflow, and this happens all too often.

onefocus99
onefocus99

I took a test many years ago concerning what color you are (the color just represent a personality type). It is said that a team made up of one from each color makes a good team. Now I know that this is not everything, but you can't have two people on a team who both want to lead and you can't have a team without a leader. That being said, I was so impressed with the color test I wrote a program in Java (I did it quick and did not use double buffering, sorry). I did not write the psychological questions but I did write the program: http://www.dimensionalized.com/about/real_colors/yourColor-java.htm When your done write down the numbers for each of the colors and at a later time take the test again to see if you are the same. Again, it is said that a team of three or four with one from each color is a good team.

larrie_jr
larrie_jr

Best response of the day! The only comment I would have is for the other side of the table... the candidate. "the inexperienced interviewee" There are many reasons that they may blow the interview, but the only thing I waould ask of ALL EMPLOYERS, is to have the professional courtesy to tell the interviewee of his status in the process; in other words, tell them when they have been disqualified or are no longer being considered for the position! don't just leave the poor slob hanging... He has hopes and dreams, and has put a lot of time and effort into applying to this job. He has done the research on the company, he has pressed his best suit, he has re-arranged his personal schedule to accomadate your only availability, etc... He deserves the same consideration in 'rejection' he gets when there's possible 'acceptance'...

dsroper
dsroper

Based on the feeling in the room at the time of my interview I was very comfortable as were the other 6 people in the room. As a long time Manager and College Professor I like to think I am attuned to the emotions in a room. The President at this company seemed very nice and professional when we initially met. I felt no hostility nor did I think my presence was a threat to anyone in the room. Basically, according to my source inside the company who also happened to be the HR Director, the President didn't like the fact that he had created this job for his "buddy" and a person more qualified for the position was making his "buddy" look incompetent, which infuriated the President. At least I admire his loyalty. The Board of Directors of the company had contracted with the consultants to prevent this type of behavior out of the President and to get the best person. The consultants picked who they were going to interview and the President wasn't even supposed to be in the initial interview. If I had known what was going on I wouldn't have even applied. The HR Director assured me she had no knowledge of the President's intent. She also tried to get the President to hire me by stressing to him that the "Buddy" was unqualified and generally inept. The rest is history.

GoodOh
GoodOh

Did you read the signature block? The author is a Thai student. The fact that his skills in English aren't immaculate is not strange. I got the thrust of what he was trying to say (when considering people be prepared to take a gamble on a maverick don't just go for the 'type' that seems the lowest risk). I also got your point and it does you no credit at all.

larrie_jr
larrie_jr

Although there was no "conflict" at the place of work I was refering to, there was no 'compatability' either; diversity alone is not enough. This industry functions best under a team environment... many 'diverse' ideas, brought toegether through 'compatability' of achieving a common goal; hence the need for team building activities, and departmental reward systems. without this 'common goal', "diversity" is just another word for different.

santeewelding
santeewelding

In which case there would be no one to cluck over the (mistake).

JamesRL
JamesRL

My team is a rainbow, because I hire who I feel is the best person for the job, and I get a wide range of applicants because I work in a diverse city. My team ranges in age from 25 to 65, pretty evenly split gender wise. I have NO legal requirements for the demographic of my team, we don't have affirmative action or quotas here. "Could be" doesn't cut it. Lots of things could be. When I look at fit, I think about how the interviewee's attitudes would fit with the people they most have to work with. Some roles require collaboration skills and good communications, some do not. And having worked at a number of firms I do have some broad experience. If I am an exception, so are the others who worked at three places I've spent lots of time at over the past 15 years. James

cjshelby
cjshelby

There will always be people who will "Milk the system" Those guys who get paid on Friday and don't show up on Monday, or worse yet show up drunk! But the program that was put in place treated everybody like "milkers" and forced you to use vacation days before you could touch the sick days in a feeble attempt to "keep everybody honest". What I personally did was take the extra benefit dollars in lieu of the sick days. I set aside money in my savings account. Then if I was truly sick, I would take a day(s) off without pay and keep the vacation pay for a real vacation.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

there is no such thing as 'sick days' As a person on sick, after three days, you are entitled to statuatory sick pay as a minimum. Most employers offer more than that. Usual deal is six months consecutive at your normal salary as a maximum, then it starts dropping down to half pay. Of course this does mean some take the Michael, but that sort of absenteeism is monitored and being sick every Monday is something even a HR numpty can pick up. As for having a pot of sick days you can take. I'd have thought you should reward people for not taking them, not penalise them.

JamesRL
JamesRL

When Sick days are a benefit - that you can use in lieu of vacation. I've never been at an employer who does that, and this highlights why. At my current employer, a sick day is a sick day. We track them, and after you exceed a certain number there may be issues. If you don't use them, then you may carry them over a year. But they are only to be used if you are sick (or if spouse/child is sick and you are taking care of them). We do have "floater" days, that are extra days off to adjust for the fact that some provinces have more stat holidays than we do, and we must use these floaters up before booking "regular" vacation, as they can't be carried over. I understand that policy. James

cjshelby
cjshelby

"We thank you for your efforts over the last year, your dedication in working unpaid for several years has finally been rewarded. You will be keeping your job, once you accept this pay cut....." Reminds me of the time our benefits changed to something they called "flex pay" Essentially that meant the you had to use up all of your vacation pay BEFORE you could touch your sick pay! Well those folks tried to make it sound good, but it was like putting Maple Syrup on dog doo-doo in an attempt to make it palatable. What was really funny is that there was a "Dilbert" cartoon out at about the same where "Catbert, the evil Human Resources Director" was suggesting the same thing to the Pointy-Haired Boss!

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Those that do, generally don't stay active long. I can't think why. :D The anti-discrimination training is failing badly in the UK. I had one agency ask me my DOB. When I asked why, they said they used it to uniquely identify me against any other Tony Hopkinsons in their database. Yeah, right, good job I'm a clueless propeller head, otherwise I might not have believed that crap.

makkh
makkh

larrie_jr's statement is the same request I had. For the past few interviews, the manager asked for 1-2 weeks buffer time for consideration but most of them never feedback. I've used to call them when the deadline approaches to show my keen interest upon the post, however the results used to turn off. Although I understand they need time to justify the right person for the post, however I truly believe that someone who can mark their word earns respect.